Do you remember how you got the nickname Nancy?
You sent me a text message once about a broken window at the school you worked for. You said you were investigating the issue and I called you Nancy Drew, to which you replied that I was her best friend George.
And the names just stuck!
It’s the best nickname I’ve ever had. To be fair, I haven’t had very many.
However, I think the story of my first nickname is the one I love the most.
You gave it to me the first day I met you. I was a skinny 12-year-old with few friends and too many things to say. You were a 31-year-old woman who was the guardian of my dear friend.
I stayed over at your house and our first task after dinner was to do the dishes.
Your house on 15th wasn’t updated with fancy gadgets so we filled the sink with hot soapy water and on top were lots of soapsuds.
Being the precocious pre-teen I was I grabbed a couple of handfuls of soapsuds, placed them lovingly on my head, and proclaimed “I am the Soapsud Princess, bow down to me!”
At the time, however, the “princess” thing was in full swing and you and I didn’t prescribe to the bumper sticker wisdom that “Being a princess is hard work, but someone has to do it.”
Due to our dislike of the princess fad, you changed my nickname to many things: Duchess Soapsud, Soapy, Soapster, etc.
Any iteration of it was fine by me because I was finally someone. I was needed, liked, and even admired as Soapsud. Every time I visited your house you called me by my nickname. And each time you did I loved you more. I mattered, and maybe, more importantly, I belonged.
You told me your version of that story many years later and how you were bowled over by this firecracker 7th grader who declared who she was and was so full of energy. You felt the moment we met we were simpatico; we saw the good in life while also finding room for sarcasm. We also loved to talk about books and writing while drinking cups and cups of Cortney coffee (your perfect blend of coffee, sugar, and milk).
Dearest Nancy, I believe belonging to you and to our friendship was actually life-changing for me. A sense of belonging was the single most important thing to me at 12 years old and you gave that gift to me.
I’ll never forget it.
George – the Soapsud Princess