From about 1955-1959 we lived in Washington D.C. while my father was stationed at the Pentagon. Life in my family was financially good but emotionally not so much. My father worked long hours, my older brothers whom I adored were in school and had their own friends and activities, and my mother drank.
Which gave me time on my hands. I did what 4-year-olds do. I played with dolls, played dress-up, and relied on our maid/nanny for support, treats and attention.
Watch out Wild West, Barb is on her way.
A saving grace for me is that I had one friend. My best friend Deenie.
There was a special part of our yard that was secluded. It was just a little off of the driveway, but almost completely enclosed by trees. A small, grass covered oasis that I thought no one but me knew was there. My hiding place. An escape from the chaos and turmoil in our household that I was too young to figure out or even to name. And every day Deenie and I would play in my secret place.
We had marvelous adventures. Playing house and playing school were our favorites. School was a little abstract because we had never been there. Nor could we read yet. But we knew what reading and arithmetic were and we would take turns being teacher and student. Being mother and daughter.
Deenie often hung out at our house. She didn’t care that my parents fought a lot, nor did she realize, as I didn’t, that much of that was fueled by alcohol. She was just my friend. And she could be or do whatever I wanted. She wasn’t at our house all of the time, but came out when I needed her.
Deenie was my imaginary friend.
I vividly remember watching television with Deenie one day. She was being daring because she was sitting in my father’s chair. No one sat in my father’s chair except my father. Ever. But there was Deenie. Dad came into the room and sat right on top of her. I jumped up and yelled “You’re squishing Deenie!”
That might be why Deenie didn’t move with us from Washington D.C. When we arrived in Westchester County, NY, Deenie wasn’t with us. I don’t think that I was told she couldn’t come.