They called me Shana when I was a kid. The summer of my fifth year, my family moved to Petaluma, California. Right away, I met a little girl my age who lived next door. We kept our distance for a spell, giving each other the eye. Finally, she approached me,
"My name is Nikki. I'm five."
"I'm five, too! My name is Shana."
Joy! We're both five!
"My sister's name is Shana!"
What strange providence? How could this be so? [I had an extremely large vocabulary.]
And that's how I met Nikki, and later Shana. Shana was little, so I became Big Shana and she became Little Shana. Both Shanas had red hair. Little Shana had never had a hair cut- ever!
Nikki was my bestest friend in the whole world for a couple of years, and then Rachel and Robyn moved in across the street- from exotic Wisconsin! It took ages for Rachel and Robyn's furniture to arrive from Wisconsin. We did cartwheels and handstands in their furnitureless house. They had a large dog who slobbered a lot. He had a bump on his head.
"The bump," said Robyn, "means he's very intelligent. Oh, so intelligent! This is a smart dog, here." Robyn was the younger of the two, with blond hair, and she talked nonstop! Everything was new and exciting. I liked her immediately. Rachel was more reticent, older and wiser, apparently. She wore glasses.
And that became our gang.
My grandparents visited often from The City. Grandpa Al loved ice cream and loved children, so he thought it would be great to be everybody's grandpa and take us all out to ice cream and then the park! He even had everyone call him "Grandpa". As in, "Call me Grandpa." And they did! Which made me quite annoyed, but I tried not to show it. I mean, he was my grandpa.
In these dark days before minivans, Grandpa Al put us all in the trunk and drove us to Tutle Drug for ice cream. He left the hatch up for us.
It looks like this was just for a picture, but this is actually how we would drive around. Sometimes the hatch would sink a little when he went over dips, but we didn't mind. You could just put it back up with your hands. Grandma Amy rode shotgun. She carried a little folding stool with her wherever she went. She sat on her stool and observed, at playgrounds and ice cream shops. And took pictures: