Let me tell you about my best friend….
I’ve had this idea for awhile that I would write blog posts highlighting the wonderful and important people in my life. And since her 26th birthday just passed, it seems fitting to shine the spotlight on none other than the spectacular Evelyn Grace Romeo.
As I frequently refer to her in my photo captions, Evie is my best friend since 6th grade. At the time, sixth grade was the first year of school after elementary school. All the schools in the district combined at Hillcrest Intermediate School. No longer were our classes just with the same 80 kids we had spent the last 5 years with, but now all these new kids were there.
I walked into 6th grade homeroom on the first day of school to be greeted by new and unfamiliar faces. There were a couple kids in my class from Stewartsville, but more overwhelmingly there were lots of kids I didn’t know. From what I remember of this time, my insecure self was worried that all of my Stewartsville peers were going to find better friends in the new kids and I was going to be left behind. Clearly, I’ve always had some issues with thinking people didn’t like me, but I digress.
My first memory of Evie was during recess in the first week of school. All the girls were hanging out by the soccer goal sitting on the back of it. I noticed a short girl wearing a head-to-toe tie-dye outfit and pigtails. I sat next to her and somehow, we have been friends ever since.
We originally bonded over both going to Presbyterian churches at the time. We thought that made us unique. We were both also huge nerds and goody-two-shoes. I still remember there was one semester in 6th grade where Evie got all 100s and I didn’t. I was very jealous. Our competitiveness lessened over the years.
We spent all of sixth grade getting to know each other and having inside jokes. From what I remember, I think sixth grade was pretty okay. I had a group of 3 girls (including Evie) who were my go to friends. At this time, some of the girls I was friends with in elementary school had started to form new friend groups. They seemed like the “cool kids” and were always talking about boys and hanging out at birthday parties with like 20 kids. I started to feel on the outside a little, but was more or less content with my small get togethers of just a few close friends.
After 6th grade, we went on to true Middle School. I think I blocked out most of 7th and 8th grade. I didn’t really like these years. Evie and I also didn’t hang out as much. I think in my mind maybe I was still trying to be friends with the “cool kids”. Luckily, Evie never held this against me and was always still there as a friend. I remember during the Christmas dance in 7th grade, Evie and I basically went together since neither of us had dates. I hated dancing (still do!) and the only other activity was hanging out in the gym locker room gossiping. So, Evie and I pretty much just sat on the bleachers the entire time talking to each other and people watching. I was also wearing a fuzzy white sweater and skirt, my white sweater fuzz got all over Evie’s velvet dress from sitting next each other. This image of two kids just sitting on bleachers for an entire dance covered in white fuzz still cracks me up, in a semi-tragic way though. Fun fact, this dance was also the one where my sister Angela wore dress pants and a blouse!
Eventually, we made it to high school, where the awkward years seemingly continued. We went through it all together, lack of boy problems, boy problems, break-ups, homework problems, family problems, etc. Then we went off to different colleges. The first year we tried to keep in touch as often as possible; somewhere in the middle we probably lost frequent communication. But we always knew that we could go months without talking and still be best friends. In the past few years, post grad, we’ve thankfully been able to see each other a lot more often.
In the past 14 years of friendship. Here are some things I’ve learned about Evie:
- Her favorite color was blurple (a mix between blue and purple, but NOT indigo)
- She’s short and when I walked really fast in the school hallways, she would literally have to jog to keep up.
- She is terrible at making decisions. Once before a high school dance where we were going to have a sleepover after, she brought over 4 pairs of sweat pants because she couldn’t decide which outfit to pick for her PJs. To this day, it still takes her way too long to get ready.
- Her stories take forever to tell and she will include minute details that are not relative to the point. Sometimes even she zones out in the middle of story she’s telling
- She’s multi-talented. She is a very creative crafter, she’s smart, she’s great with kids, she’s an excellent baker, she’s perceptive, she’s inquisitive and curious about learning new things. Perhaps most admirably, she’s emotionally intelligent and always able to see the good in people and understand things from another’s perspective.
- She’s a great gift giver. Eighth grade through maybe 11th grade, she would bake me two types of brownies (butterscotch and chocolate) for my birthday and bring them into school. On two different occasions, she’s made me a “survival kit” for my birthday—one time in high school a box of miscellaneous items and for my 21st birthday in college she mailed me Tylenol, Gatorade, and garbage bags. The effort for gifts I gave always paled in comparison.
- She’s one of the most selfless and giving people, I’ve ever met. She’s always willing to do a favor for someone else even if she’s not sure it will ever be returned. Any time I visit Denver, she picks me up from the airport because she knows I hate Ubers. One time in Breckenridge, when I accidentally ended up on a black diamond and had to take my skis off and slide down the mountain, she also took her skis off and slid down in front of me to break my fall. She also regularly donates blood.
- She’s a great listener and nonjudgmental advice giver. I can’t even count the number of times since high school that I’ve called her on the phone and just cried. She never gets annoyed, she just listens.
I can count on one finger the times Evie has been a less than ideal friend. But I can count on many hands the times were I’ve probably not been the easiest person to be friends with. Evie’s the type of person where you’re not sure what you did to deserve someone so wonderful in your life, but you are so grateful that she’s there. She’s one of the people that knows me best and still decides to keep me around! I know that my life has been incrementally greater because I’ve had such a brilliant person to share the highs and lows with. Here’s to many more years as friends! And Happy Birthday! (I promise I’ll remember to send a card soon….)