Like a prayer

As I was driving last night, Like a Prayer came on and my thoughts drifted, immediately and firmly, to Leigh. They always do. Leigh is a dear, dear friend of my childhood. We met at a camp on Cape Cod when we were 12 or 13 and for several summers enjoyed an intense friendship. Leigh was everything I was not and wanted to be: beautiful, artistic, musical, outgoing, confident. She played Dorothy in our camp’s presentation of the Wizard of Oz, she mastered all of our various activities with aplomb and ease, and everybody at camp knew her name. For some reason she chose me as her tightest confidant, and we spent several summers arm-in-arm. We were LeighandLindsey. We shared clothes and a bunk bed and whispered stories late into the night and endless letters back and forth during the school year.

One year Leigh and I choreographed a dance to “Like a Prayer” for the talent show. We performed it over and over again, practicing daily in the outdoor theater with rustic wooden benches clustered under a stand of trees. Above the stage, across the front of the simple wooden building, the camp motto was displayed proudly: I Can and I Will. That song, for the rest of my life, will bring me right back to that summer of 1989 or 1990, to Leigh and I dancing down the dusty aisles between the benches, singing along during our practices and with broad smiles during the actual performance. I remember it as a rare moment of abandon and confidence for me: somehow, in the light that Leigh cast off, I felt brave. In her aura I too was lit from within.

This was a special, formative friendship for me, one I have held close even though we were out of touch for years. It was an enormous treat to see each other again a couple of summers ago. The occasion was our camp’s anniversary celebration, and we met for a day of swimming at her family’s house on Cape Cod. It was lovely to see Leigh’s parents, who had been a real part of my childhood, and to meet her son and husband (the pictures are from that day). I was reminded again of how that summer camp brought me some very special friends, chief among them Jessica. There are others, though, and I feel very lucky. (One of these special friends, who lives in Alaska, generously sent Grace – who he has never met – pictures from watching the actual Iditarod this past weekend. Her class has been studying the Iditarod for weeks {yay 1st grade private school education!} and Grace’s bringing the photographs in was apparently an enormous hit. Thank you K!)

Leigh, you are on my mind now and you are every single time I hear Madonna singing Like a Prayer. When I hear that song, I feel as though I can close my eyes and be back on the stage in Brewster, dancing our hearts out, sheer energy and delight radiating from us. I feel in touch with both you and the me I was then. This is such a gift. Your voice, you, those sunlit summers of our teen years, all of that will always feel like home. I hope to see you soon.

12 thoughts on “Like a prayer”

  1. What a treasured friendship. The friends who take us toward moments, as you described, of “abandon and confidence”, the friends who make us brave, these are the truest friends of all.

    p.s. This would fit perfectly in tomorrow’s flashback friday as the theme is “musical memory”. I’d love for you to link it up, if you’re so inclined.

  2. I love how you describe your moment on stage with Leigh as one in which “in her aura I too was lit from within.” How sacred and rare it is to find a friend whose differences cast sunshine over us rather than shadow. I’m glad you were able to reconnect with your special friend.

  3. It is so nice to have those “forever” friends. And when we get chances to see them…or just remember them from a “song” or some other memory, it brings us joy for sure.

  4. oh my dear lindsey, I am without words and in tears after reading this post. I can feel the dust of the earth as we joyfully ran down those aisles to dance ‘our dance’ for everyone. It makes me laugh that I felt this way about you, that in your presence my own beauty, and talent, and confidence came through. These are the relationships that are so sacred, those in which there is a co-arising of our most authentic selves. Thank you so much for this beautiful journey into my memories today. And I feel the same way about Madonna!!! With a huge grin and an open, near-bursting heart, much love to you. Thank you thank you. And I’ll be on the cape again in July. Let’s make a visit happen. For sure.

  5. I have tears in my eyes again Lindsey 🙂 – those memories are the most precious, aren’t they?

    The value of true friendship just cannot be measured. It is so important to shout out to our “kindred spirits” and let them know just how important they are and the special place they hold in our hearts.

    Cheers to all those special friends out there!

  6. I am just amazed at this friendship that has survived the years. A truly blessed friendship it is.

    P.S. You are very beautiful. Just so you know.

  7. When I started reading this I was nervous that it would have a tragic turn, as all my camp stories/memories seem to be dark… but I love how friendship simply illuminates, prevails and radiates.

    It made me think about the out-of-the-blue email I got today from one of my dearest friends who is coming to visit next week, and how nothing lifts the heart like an old true friend.


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