My Friend Ram

I met Donna Rambo when I was in the fifth grade and our family was living in Canby. That was when they had year-round school which meant students attended school for nine weeks and then got three weeks vacation. Kids were divided into A,B,C and D TRACKS, and while three tracks were attending school, one track would be on their three week vacation. I was on B track and Donna was on D track. We lived in the same neighborhood and had seen one another before but didn't know each other that well. One day while I was at school and she was at home, "off track," she walked to school and ate lunch with me. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Donna and I spent a lot of time together back in the day. We were always writing notes to one another. Our main goals then were to encourage each other about whatever boy we liked and laugh a lot. At one point we both had crushes on different boys both named Doug. We loved Mrs. Hollen in seventh grade and Mrs. Givens in eighth. Once we started a survey on who liked Chiquita bananas and who liked Dole. We gathered signatures from everyone we knew. In eighth grade we both had short hair and my brothers called us Tim and Don. We were on the same intermural basketball team, Crystal Blue Persuasion. Donna was a real renegade on the court. We made an audio tape once that was hilarious. We would talk and then insert snipits from songs. For example, we said "Mom, I'm tired of looking at all these bras," and then we played, "The search is over." We thought we were very funny. We laughed a lot.

Our family moved away from Canby at the end of eighth grade and Donna threw me a wonderful surprise going-away party that summer. I made new friends, but nobody as close as she was. Having a friend like that at that point in my early teens made a huge difference. I had someone who understood. I had someone who liked me no matter what. I had a devoted friend. I was lucky.

I am still lucky today to still have a friend like Donna. I could talk to her about that kid I had a crush on in seventh grade and I can talk to her about my frustrations with motherhood. If Donna wasn't in my life, I would feel a huge void that would never quite be filled by anyone else.

Ram, happy 38th birthday!
Jenna and Avery


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