I have an aunt who is my age. Growing up, we lived in the same household and were raised as sisters. Our family moved often, so we were usually the new kids in the neighborhood. Sometimes, it was really nice to have a built-in playmate.
When we were girls, we loved to study the Sears catalog to create role-playing stories. I remember leafing through the catalog, picking out what each of us would look like. We picked out what our boyfriends looked like, and after we married, we picked children. We preserved our actual relationship in the role-playing and so each of us had different friends. We selected names for ourselves and for the other characters we created. Our stories were like a serial; each time we played, we picked up where we left off.
We would devise adventures and pick out appropriate clothes to wear. We even picked out wedding dresses and bridesmaids dresses for one another! We picked out pajamas and underwear – bras, long before we actually wore them ourselves.
We never shared this game with others. I don’t remember if this was logistics, because it would have been hard to share the catalog with others, or if it was because we were afraid others would think it was dumb. It may have been because the game was a rainy day, inside game and we were never allowed to have friends in the house.
My aunt wouldn’t remember this game we played. For whatever reason, she remembers little of our childhood. Sometimes, it makes me sad to have these special memories and not be able to share them with her. It’s almost as if we didn’t actually grow up together.
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