By Justine Stamper, RMU Student.
Do you know how songs, paintings, or poems can take you back to a place in time or make you think of a special person? The song “Dreams” by Stevie Nicks, Monet’s “Water Lilies”, and the poem“Comes the Dawn” by Veronica Shoffstall evoke fond memories of my friend Fawn. I’ll never forget her impact on my wonder years. I carry it with me to this day; Fawn showed me my dawn.
Growing up, my best friend Chrissy and I had a babysitter, Fawn. She was a senior in high school while we were barely in the sixth grade. Her long blonde hair, minimal makeup, sweet disposition, and laid back approach to life signified her hippie chick lifestyle. Her looks and persona were reminiscent of Stevie Nicks. As a bonus she had a good looking boyfriend who sang in a band, and they would take us anywhere we wanted to go. They were the epitome of cool.
Those summers were spent driving around in a station wagon singing along to the radio blaring, playing miniature golf, or tooling around the Brickyard Mall. Dinner was usually Taco Bell, where we’d always order Burrito Supremes with extra sour cream. Or Gene and Jude’s for rubber dogs (yes, that’s what they call their hot dogs!)
As I became a teenager, Fawn became less of a babysitter and more of an older sister. As I was growing up, so was Fawn. She became a mother and had gone through losing the love of her life. These losses and challenges made her even more of an old soul.
I would stay with her and her children in her small bohemian apartment, adorned with beaded entryways, dream-catchers, Monet paintings and the smell of incense mixed with cannabis. She gave me solid advice during breakups with my first boyfriend. While we mulled over the dirty details of the breakup, she played Bob Dylan’s, Positively 4th Street.
To further solidify her place as my mentor, she gave me a poem with a heart, cross and an infinity symbol drawn on it. The poem was “Comes the Dawn” by Veronica Shoffstall; it read… “After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul and you learn that love doesn’t mean possession and company doesn’t mean security. And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises . And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead . With the grace of an adult not the grief of a child. And you learn to build your roads on today . Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans and futures have ways of falling down in midflight. After awhile you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much. So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really can endure that you really are strong. And you really do have worth. And you learn and you learn… with every goodbye you learn.”
As the years went by, I remained in touch with Fawn through occasional visits, and now through Facebook. I want to take my daughter to meet her; I’m sure Fawn will get a glimpse of our younger days when she sees my “mini-me.” I appreciate the advice and support Fawn gave to me. I would love for her to share her life lessons with my daughter; after all it’s my daughter’s dawn now.