Death of Debbie

Facebook brought news today of the death of Debbie, a sweet girl I went to grade school with back in the Sixties.

And it brought back a few vivid memories. The brain is a funny old thing.

Debbie’s twin brother, Glen, was a friend of mine at Cleveland Elementary School in Norman, Oklahoma.

As I remember, Glen and Debbie transferred into Cleveland late in the piece, maybe fifth or sixth grade.

By then things were changing, for the worse.

The world order, wherein I was the undisputed fastest kid in the school, had collapsed.

Mike, the son of an OU coach, who was as muscular and hairy as a grown man, in grade school, had proven himself faster than me on more than one occasion.

But my reputation for speed lingered. And that was really important to a short kid with one arm.

Then, one day, Glen and I were gathered around a group of younger kids. Somebody asked who the fastest was.

I puffed out my little chest and expected to bask in the sunshine of adoration.

But all of the kids pointed to Glen.

I probably would have imploded, except that Glen, shyly, or maybe just kindly, looked down and said that I was the fastest.

Somewhere along the way, Glen proved he was faster. But, come to find out, he wasn’t the fastest in his family. His twin sister Debbie was.

Debbie — a short girl with short hair and a wonderfully mischievous smile — was too nice to challenge me to a race. But she wasn’t too shy to challenge her brother. And she smoked him.

I still remember her hoops of glee and the little jumping dance that she did as she ran off into the sunset.

If Debbie had outrun me, I would have died of embarrassment.

But the fact that she beat her brother, and got so much joy out of, made me smile.

After more than four decades, I still remember that.

And the fact that, once upon a time, I had a crush on a girl, who was faster than me.

Rest In Peace, Debbie, and Glen, who passed last year.

You were good people.


2 Responses to “Death of Debbie”

  1. Linda Winton says:

    I remember the Vickerys coming to Cleveland too. And, I remember sitting in front of you in first grade at Adams. Nice story!

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