Author: BARBARA DROSNIN
FALL 1978 I was sitting in the Lincoln School cafeteria in Ashland, Ore.,
when I first saw Rachel. She was standing on the risers, rear row to the
left, performing in a choral program with 40 other fifth graders.
What initially attracted me to Rachel was her shine. She stood out, even in
the rear, exuding an energy that went far beyond enjoyment or even
enthusiasm. Rachel was not just singing – she was beaming.
When the performance ended, I asked my daughter who the girl in the Mexican shirt was.
”That’s Rachel, the new girl,” Wendy said. ”Bring her home,” I replied.
Rachel quickly acquired the status of family in our household. A year older
than my younger daughter, a year younger than my oldest, she became
friends with both. A rich relationship developed between Rachel and
myself, as well.
Eager for the people she loved to love one another, Rachel introduced me to her parents. As she had predicted, we felt ourselves to be old friends even before the first pot of coffee we shared was finished. Anita and I found ourselves spending days together, with and without our children, discussing parenting, digging our gardens, sewing curtains, taking long walks, sharing history. Our families spent much time together as well -picnics, dinners, brunch, the movies. In a community of displaced East Coasters, we became part of each others’ extended family of friends.