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November 15, 2002 - Image 78

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-11-15

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Beacons In Fog

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veryone calls her Melissa
now, although I'll always
know her as Missy. She
stands nearly six feet tall,
lithe and flowing like a reed. But I
remember her as a buck-toothed girl
in pigtails, wearing a paper party hat
at my second birthday and carrying a
red, plastic purse.
I've been friends with Missy since
1972, when my parents built
our Farmington Hills home
next to her gray-brick
one. We played house
in our basements,
went to camp
together, called out
"Marco Polo" in
her pool. Every
winter, when
my public
school let out
for a week, I
donned skirt
and sweater
and accompa-
nied Missy to
Country Day. I
their hearts,
sat at hard-
their 7ni121,1S
topped desks,
feeling popular.
We went separate
ways when her fami-
ly moved, catching up
only at the odd restau-
rant get-together once or
twice a year. I remember
scoffing silently at her manners
— saying please and thank you just to
pass the salt. But deep down, I wished
to be more like her, carrying that
refined quality inward and transform-
ing myself into less of a loud-
mouthed, frizzy-haired big sister and
more of an attractive, smooth young
lady, like Missy.
She inhabited another world, it
seemed. Hers was a world of excite-
ment, travel, intellectual pursuit. Her

school friends descended from all cor-
ners of the globe, and her mother's
British relatives were wholly different
from my Eastern European ancestors.
After high school, Missy went to
Harvard and I to Ann Arbor. Then,
we found ourselves a few miles apart
in Manhattan, trying the city on for
size in all our post-college confidence.
I was a journalist, drinking beer at

smoky pubs, while Missy sipped cap-
puccino with her museum colleagues,
but both of us longed to publish
books. We wanted to be famous
friends, like Maxine Kumin and Anne
When I decided to apply to grad-
uate school in creative writing,
Missy accompanied me to Vermont
BEACONS IN FOG on page 14

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