The picture is a slightly blurry, black and white photo showing a young boy and girl linked arm and arm wearing their Sunday finest. The occasion was Easter morning, and the young couple was I and next door neighbor, Julie Walker. Julie and I were the same age, only four or five years old when this picture was taken. We had been born into this neighborhood and were the only ones of our age, so it was natural that we became early playmates. It was only a couple weeks ago that I had written to Julie that she was the first friend I ever had, and that is true.
Julie and I did everything together in those early days. In the summertime we played together, either swinging on my swing set trying to touch the overhead electrical lines with our feet (obviously an impossible prospect, but it was a goal we still fought to attain) or maybe to even swing high enough to loop over the top, which for us was another equally impossible goal. I’m sure many important childhood discussions were held on those swings, as we swayed back and forth and contemplated life from a five year old’s perspective. Sometimes we played in Julie’s backyard, cramming our little bodies into her dog, Tippy’s doghouse. I still don’t know how we managed to fit both of ourselves into that cramped, smelly space, but we did. We might sit out on the front porch and have a popsicle together, or perhaps help Mom snap green beans for dinner. We attended school together until I transferred to school 89 in fifth grade, not rejoining her until our high school years. We also attended the same church, and that is where we were headed when this photo was taken.