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I readily admit it - I was an egg-head. My childhood and teen years were filled with books, church, Girl Scouts, my family, and a few select friends who didn't care that I was really a prototype for Hermoine Granger. I loved school.
Mrs. Wagner, my 8th grade teacher, was one of my favorites. At the end of class one day, she called me to her desk and showed me a brochure about a summer camp. I had only been to church camp. This new camp lasted three weeks at Mars Hill College and was a "gifted and talented camp" - or nerd camp, as many of us affectionately came to call it.
Nerd camp changed my life. I went for three straight summers. I realized I wasn't really that weird or unusual. There were many other smart girls who liked to sit around and giggle; tall, good-looking boys who liked smart girls; and professors who encouraged us to dream in big ways.
I was an old pro by my third year there. I remember the Sunday afternoon registration. I was chatting with my buddy, Anne, and checking out the new arrivals. One girl arrived with her sister and mom in tow. They were all wearing their church dresses - cute, dropped waisted items I bet her mom had sewn. They carried her clothes and bedding into her room, and then returned to the car to bring in lots of food items - many of them looking homemade. I turned to Anne and said, "We need to get to know this girl!"
LM and I became quick friends - and not just because she shared her food and clothes with me! It turned out she lived about 30 minutes away from me and attended a rival high school (unlike most of the other campers who lived all over the state and Southeast). At camp that summer, she documented with pictures my first big love (a very smart, handsome and tall tennis player). She was my main shoulder on which to cry when camp was over and my love was 7 hours downstate. We met at the mall to shop on the weekends. We met at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial to drool over our favorite author and bemoan how we couldn't wait to leave this town behind. (Yes, I have missed that town so much in recent months, and LM still lives there!) We even talked our English teachers into planning a joint field trip 3 hours downstate! LM's mom and sister made my senior prom dress (a gorgeous dropped waisted, stylish tea-length gown). LM had the same gown that year - just in a different color and fabric.
Our lives have gone in many different directions. I married soon after college (with LM as my honor attendant), had children, and a life that centers around the home and church. LM flies all over the country, doing pr and production work, and dating quite a selection of various men. She is our daughter's godmother. LM treats my children like her own, and they are substitute grandchildren for her parents. When my Mom recently turned 60, LM organized the party and had everything planned (thank heavens - I couldn't have pulled it off without her after my foot surgery!).
The lives we lead vary in many ways. We might even go a couple months without a phone call or email. Yet, just like a sister, when we do talk or see each other - it's like family. Time disappears, and we are just who we are - Rio and LM, two nerdy girls.
LM's mom still makes homemade goodies for me. My eye for good food has certainly paid off these 22 years!