Melanie and I were best friends during that year our fathers’ tours overlapped in the same city. We were twelve years old, and there were no other girls our age in our community. Being twelve, we were not allowed a very long reign, as we were living in a new place. We stayed close to home, and we were schooled through correspondence study. We didn’t get out much.
So we relied on each other, as best friends do.
Once per week we were allowed slumber parties at each other’s houses. There was no TV, so our entertainment came mostly from books. We were both fans of Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and my personal favorite, Kay Tracy. Melanie and I swapped books and chatted endlessly about them. But our supply was limited. We read everything our little community library had, and there was no more.
So we made up our own stories.
Nighttime is always the best time for making up stories. Nighttime invites mysteries. Melanie and I spied on the “late at night” goings-on of the people in our neighborhoods. To us, theirs was furtive activity. What on earth could anyone be doing outside late at night? They must be up to no good! Imagining, we made up the stories.
Mysteries, of course.
Our fathers went on to different posts, and Melanie and I ended up losing touch with each other, as it was so easy to do in those pre-internet days. I only know pieces of her family’s story, and I’ve always wondered what became of my friend. I wonder if she became a mystery writer, as I did? Thanks to those “late at night” stories, I was inspired to keep on making up more stories.