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By the Light of the Silv'ry Moon

by Frances Giles
To say I suffered from homesickness as a kid is soft pedaling it. The year I was in Grade 5 my best friend was girl named Yvonne whose family had moved to Beaumont from Belton prior to the start of the school year. They lived 2 streets over from us so we were frequent visitors at one another's houses.

My mother thought Yvonne was a perfect little lady because she could keep her white blouses with Peter Pan collars both clean and tucked in her skirts all day. Not so me. The fact that she could play the piano directly from the Broadman Hymnal with all of those sharps and flats was the clincher. She could belt out "What a Friend We Have In Jesus" using the pedals and making no mistakes on our old upright while I was only able to chug along on easy pieces like "My Name Is Yon Yonson" and produce a galumping rendition of a simplified version of "Blue Danube Waltz', one sharp. Musical abilities aside, we were fast friends.

There came a time when Yvonne invited me for a sleep over, so we cleared it with both mothers. On the appointed evening I walked to their house carrying my night clothes and a box of Butterfinger bites that I was instructed to share rolled up in a paper sack. We ate a delicious supper of fried bologna with a fried egg in the cut out middle, the whole drenched in Wolf Brand chili. We watched TV with the family and then helped get the 4 little kids to bed. Yvonne and I chattered and giggled and cut up until her parents finally told us to pipe down and go to sleep. Yvonne did so in short order. I, on the other hand, sat on the window sill overlooking their back yard, developing a lump in my throat and a feeling that I was about to cry. Time passed, the house was asleep and I grew more miserable.

I can't recall formulating any plan more complicated than I had to go home...now. I took my bag of clothes and the remaining Butterfinger bites, slipped out of the house and started for home. I padded barefoot in my pajamas down the street to Prairie, guided by the very bright moonlight, turned left, meandered the two blocks to Emile stopping to play with a dog that was in its front yard. Eventually I arrived home, went inside and got in my bed. In those days, 1959, few people locked their doors even when going out of town.

The next morning my mother found me and woke me up after getting an early morning panicky call from Yvonne's mother. Questions were asked, I had no answers other than I just had to come home. I'm sure both mothers were perplexed and annoyed. That ended sleepovers for me for another 4 or 5 years which suited me just fine.



Frances Giles
"True Confessions and Mild Obsessions" April 14, 2015 Column
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