default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Peggy is in my life — once again

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, September 2, 2003 10:00 pm | Updated: 4:22 pm, Sat May 19, 2012.

At first, I didn't recognize the sender of the e-mail message forwarded to me by

"Hi Tess, remember me? I used to live next door to you and we were best friends in high school. I'd love to hear from you. Peggy."

Nobody but my family and oldest friends called me Tess. And although the last name of the sender was different from the last name of the only Peggy I've ever known, I had no doubt that this Peggy was the same old friend that I'd lost touch with nearly 25 years earlier.

Theresa Larson

A transplant from Tennessee, Peggy moved next door during our freshman year in high school. She was a tall, blond girl with a deep southern drawl and booming voice. Peggy was a newcomer. She looked different, she sounded different and she couldn't help but stand out in a crowd of high school teenagers.

At 14 years of age, that's the last thing any teenager would want.

But something drew me to Peggy. Unlike classmates that taunted her and called her names like "Hillbilly" and "Amazon," I was intrigued.

I certainly sympathized with her plight as an outsider - I had been there just a few years earlier when we moved to the area. But mostly, I liked her simply because she was so different.

She was bold and brash and unvarnished. She didn't pretend to be anything but just who she was. She possessed a mature confidence that belied her age and she really didn't care what others thought or said. I was always amazed that she could let the cruelty of others wash off her. I found her down to earth approach to life refreshing and, in some ways, she seemed light years older than me.

We were a study in differences. I'd been raised in a happy, two-parent family and Peggy had been raised by her sister - her young life had been difficult. I was successful in my college prep classes, Peggy was an average student. I was short and petite, Peggy towered above me. I was quiet and reserved, she was loud and outgoing.

We spent countless hours sitting on the double bed in my tiny upstairs bedroom, talking about everything that mattered - boys, clothes and school. We walked to school together and ate lunch together. We walked home together. We spent so much time with each other that my mom bought us matching outfits for school - navy wool skirts and icy blue sweaters. We loved dressing alike - our obvious differences in size and stature didn't matter one bit.

It just seemed natural, Peggy was always there.

Peggy was there for me during my first attempt at making gravy. Panic-stricken, I couldn't understand why my gravy resembled thick cement. With only a hint of smile licking her lips, she patiently explained that it took only a few spoonfuls of flour mixed with drippings to make gravy. She never made fun of the fact that my cement-like gravy occurred after I'd dumped several cups of flour into the pan.

My parents loved Peggy and my dad especially loved teasing her. One day, Peggy let herself in the front door wearing a mini skirt popular for the time. My Dad made a half-hearted attempt to scold her.

"That's a pretty short skirt, isn't it Tennessee?"

Peggy just laughed and waved her hand at him, "Oh, Pop, it's just fine."

The morning that I learned Dad had died in a hospital before I'd gotten a chance to say goodbye, it was Peggy's house I went running to. It was her arms that wrapped around me as I cried uncontrollably. And Peggy cried right along with me.

Peggy and I remained friends throughout high school. She was in my wedding and a year later, I was in hers. I held her firstborn in my arms shortly after he was born, and one year later, she held my son in hers. We spent holidays and birthdays together. And just like in high school, we were there for each other.

And then, ever so slowly, things changed. Our families got bigger, life got busier. Peggy got a job in Silicon Valley. I remained a stay-at-home mom. We moved to Stockton, she stayed in San Jose. Our friendship changed, we drifted apart. And eventually we lost touch.

On Labor Day weekend, I searched the dock area near the Delta King. My scanning eyes caught sight of a vaguely familiar face. Could it be Peggy? This woman looked different, a little older, just like me. But, there was something about her. My doubt was soon erased, a big smile broke out and a booming voice cried, "There she is! It's Tess! She hasn't changed a bit, she's always been a little bitty thing!"

With arms outstretched, we hurried towards each other and embraced. "I love you, Tess," Peggy whispered in my ear. The years melted away and we were 14-year-old girls, once again.

Theresa Larson is the administration manager and biweekly columnist for the Lodi News-Sentinel.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

Recent Comments

Posted 6 hours ago by Shane Marcus.

article: Letter: The drought is punishment

Greg Myers, There are some truthful things in your comment. However, God isn't punishing anyone for certain sins. Homosexual marriage, (e…


Posted 6 hours ago by Shane Marcus.

article: HIREvent job fair in Stockton on Tuesday

O my, let me just rush over there


Posted 6 hours ago by Shane Marcus.

article: 133-year-old safe delivered to family o…

Keep trying you never know, it may just open one day


Posted 9 hours ago by Steve Schmidt.

Posted 15 hours ago by Christina Welch.

article: Letter: Large class sizes are good for …

Are you really serious, Mr Arthur? When was the last time you were ever in a classroom? [huh]



Popular Stories



Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists