Who doesn’t remember a sleepover or a slumber party? A gaggle of girls full of excitement is a sight to behold. In rural Illinois where I grew up, most classmates lived far out into the country. Sleepovers were usually on a school night. Not sure why other than perhaps the big yellow bus would deliver this bunch to the destination and pick us up the following morning, saving many parents from many trips. In Jr High, one classmate always invited the entire group of girls in our class. Her mother taught and insisted on ‘fairness’. Not all could come of course for one reason or the other. Seven to eight could. At the time, our entire class totaled twenty-one, eleven of which were girls. This giddy event always took place at the end of October when the air had a snap of a crisp apple.
It thrilled me to no end to plan, pack and head off with our heads together sitting on the stiff green seats on the school bus. Cathy’s mother farmed out all the younger brothers to leave room for extra bunk beds. We scattered ourselves between two bedrooms and the floor. Her mother prepared well, a hot easy supper, games, and roasted marshmallows over a fire. I have to applaud her patience and self-sacrifice the following morning as she made sure we had everything we brought back in our bags and shuffled us on the bus early, leaving the kitchen table covered in syrup and pancake crumbs.
In high school, none of us had to rely on buses that much, so we had the freedom to come and go during the week or on weekends. Sleepovers were , well, whoever and how many. We were still crammed into double beds, or a sofa or sleeping bags on the floor. I loved this time together, the giggles, the boy talk, the scary stories, acting out romance stories we were reading, telling secrets, bodies rolled up side by side, sharing pillows, elbowing each other out of the way, jerking covers up or off, no cutting the cheese, stop snoring, I’m freezing, turn on the light–turn it off, you go first, I’m thirsty, where’s the bathroom, be quiet!
As an adult, I had the absolute pleasure to relive those days. In our writers’ group, we had several grown-up gal sleepovers. Two times in Bisbee in a little house hanging on a side of a hill, once on a ranch in a rustic outbuilding, a trip to Santa Fe, another in Pagosa Springs, CO, and each other’s homes for several years. We planned our food, snacks, movies, notebooks, and prompts, Several sleepovers were dedicated to Downton Abby marathons at Linda’s. These nights lasted well past midnight, hour after hour. We all brought items for a delicious dinner, a gooey chocolate dessert, and late night snacks. We also had the bonus of Linda’s two cats from lap to lap. Sofas, and sleeping bags once again. Strong coffee and fresh pastries awaited the following morning, then the three of us, Jackie, Diana, and myself would gather up our mess, tidy up and go to our respective homes and waiting husbands.
Life continues its run of changes, openings, and closures. I confess, my memories and heart belong to those ‘good times’ of innocence and intimacy.