Anne and Diane

There are two tiny black-haired babies in a single bassinet.  Their eyes are open, their hands waving.  One is me, Anne.  The other is Diane.  I’ve seen this photo so many times I seem to remember feeling the warmth of her body, the nearness of her spirit.  It was late September of 1949.  We had just met…  this time.   In August, my parents were in Houston, waiting for my long-overdue birth which took place on the 14th, and preparing for a move to Indiana for Daddy’s new job as a teacher in Indiana University’s Music School.   In Denver, Diane’s parents prepared to make the same move for her father’s new job as teacher at Indiana University’s Music School, and in Denver they were waiting for Diane’s birth which took place on the 18th.

There is another early picture: two little black-haired girls, just barely toddlers, holding on to a fence at what I’ve been told was the Cincinnati Zoo.  A two-family outing.   I have no memory of this.

We went to school together from kindergarten through high school graduation.  In the third grade, the teacher kept confusing the two of us:   In Indiana, very dark hair was the minority.  We were two of only three black-haired girls in our class.  (I’m giving in here:  Others thought we had black hair.  We knew we had very dark brown hair.  Who knows why we were so picky about the label!)  I thought it was strange:  I was Anne… I came first by four days, and she was DI-ane, doubling me, and the two of us, doubled, were born four days apart: 2×2.

In late fifth grade and early sixth grade our mothers had new babies.  Diane’s brother was first, born after years of attempts, and another faculty wife, Mrs. Emm, suggested that Mom and baby stay an “extra day” in the hospital “just to be on the safe side”.  On the extra day, the baby aspirated his own spit-up and drowned.   My baby sister was born 6 months later.  She became the love of my life, eclipsing all other memories of that time.   A few months after her second birthday, when Mom was on the phone with Mrs. Emm, the curious toddler unlocked the door to our small solarium containing a goldfish pond.  Apparently admiring the fish, she fell in, hit her head, and drowned in the shallow water.  In later years, Diane and I would talk about how most kids we knew never understood how fragile life is.

Diane taught me to crochet, and years after receiving her BFA in textile arts, (weaving specialty) I studied under her teacher.  Our paths diverged during college and for several more years.  Each of us married and divorced, moved away from our home town and then moved back.  Diane had a son, returning to town about the time I met the man who would become my second husband.  The three of us worked in the same offices.  On one odd day, each of had a friend named Paul visit each of our separate houses and sit in each of our separate wicker chairs.  Each wicker chair broke.   We laughed at the oddity.

When I moved out of my duplex apartment to marry my second husband, Diane moved in.  The man in the other half of the duplex took one look at her and knew he would woo and win her.  He did, too.

Diane still lives with him in our home town.  I divorced, moved to California, then back to Texas.  She is the deepest friend of my heart.  If ever she needs anything I am there.  If ever I needed her, she would be there.  We’ve never asked, but we both know.

It was years before dreams and memories would begin to explain these connections.