For me, the noise, the activity, and the chaos is just a reminder of how full my life is these days. It’s all about family.
Okay, so I tend to stretch the idea of family to the limit. But then I’ve always blurred the line between family and friends. You’ll understand that once you’ve read my story. And theirs.
So who are they? They are the kids I grew up with.
Simon’s the oldest of all of us, but he lived in England until his parents divorced when he was fifteen. His Mom moved him and his little sister, Kim, back to the US and into the house next door to mine. I should mention that his Mom, Pamela, and my Mom, Beverly are cousins, which makes us second cousins. I always loved their visits when we were younger; there was something so exotic about having a relative with a British accent, you know? Unfortunately, Simon wasn’t in town while my story was unfolding, but you’ll get to know him soon enough.
I was the next oldest, which is why I tend to mother them all. And trust me, with the four younger boys along, keeping them out of mischief was a full-time (and impossible) job.
I’ll start with Darius, better known as Dare. He’s a Kincaid, my cousin, and son of the local police chief. He tended to be the voice of reason, mainly because of Uncle Ed, but he usually gave in to whatever mayhem the others had planned. Thankfully, their pranks were relatively harmless, since they were good kids at heart. Dare’s one of my favorite people in the world, but I worry about him since he became a cop down in the city.
David Jameson grew up two houses down from me with his little sister, Tessa. He was the kind of kid who was always a little grubby because he was always outside digging in the dirt. Davy fell for Simon’s sister, Kim, the day they moved in; he was nine, she was seven. He tended to be a little torn between wanting to hang out with the boys and wanting to spend time with Kimmy. I have to say, he did a pretty good balancing act, and I think the other boys were always a little jealous that he always had a girl.
The other two boys were both Brodys, cousins Matt and Sinclair. Matt’s Dad was our local pastor, so he could be a bit of a hellion. Matt always says that as a preacher’s kid, he was expected to be an angel, and that was the kiss of death. Still, he always had the kindest heart and knew what to say to make me feel better. His cousin, Sin, didn’t grow up in the village, but he spent most of his summers here growing up, so he’s always been one of the gang. He told the best campfire ghost stories of all of us; some of them left me sleepless for days.
The four boys could be a handful, but I caught glimpses of the men that they became. Did they make me crazy? Without a doubt. But I can admit that I enjoyed their crazy antics, at least in retrospect.
I’ve already mentioned two of the girls. Kim Prince, little sister to Simon, fell for Davy as quickly as he fell for her. She always knew she would marry him some day. I envied her that. They always had each other. It took me a long time to find that kind of love.
Tessa, Davy’s little sister, was our tomboy. She tried to tag along with the boys, but they usually wouldn’t let her. (Until the day they all noticed that Tessa was, in fact, a girl and a stunning one!) Since the boys didn’t include them on their adventures, Tess and Kim bonded and became best friends.
The baby of our group was Abby Brody, Matt’s little sister. Although she was a lot younger, Abby hated to be left behind, so we brought her along when we could.
A typical summer day for my little tribe usually meant walking to the creek. To get there, we had to pass the Walker house, the biggest, showiest house in the neighborhood. Mary Sue Walker was just a year younger than the boys, but she was never allowed to join our fun. It always made me sad to see her peeking out the window, but her father didn’t like us, so … Poor kid.
Apart from Davy and Kim, I doubt any of us could imagine where our lives would take us on those sunny summer afternoons at the creek. Life wasn’t quite as simple as those picnics on the creek bank. It’s been difficult. Painful. Even ugly. Some of us have made it to the top, others, like me, got stuck in a life we didn’t really want. But all of us eventually found what, and who, we needed.
They’re incredible stories! I can’t wait for you to read them and get to know my ‘family’.
But my story is first. And it’s one hell of a story if I do say so myself.
You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You may even swoon a little.
And you’ll understand why I adore every second of my crazy busy, loud, and occasionally messy life!