Donna C. Terrell

I Was Just Thinkin'

On Laflin Street: Searching for a New BFF

on May 1, 2013

One day Linda went inside her house and never came back out.

I would go over there to see if she wanted to come out, but she would say, “I’m watching TV.” Okay, the sun is shining bright, it’s 82 degrees and you want to stay in and watch “Let’s Make a Deal?” What???

This had developed into a pattern. Craig and I were perplexed over this behavior. And speaking of Craig—his family was about to move away to a far suburb. I’ll never forget what his mother told me: “Well, Donna, it looks like you’re gonna have to get you some new friends.”

It was a hard realization, but I accepted that. Now Linda and I remained close as ever; I would just go sit inside with her.  We’d talk and laugh for hours. Craig and I wrote letters weekly and talked on the phone a lot. You’d think he moved to Morocco. Really he was less than an hour away, but when you’re 12, it might as well have been on another continent. So as far as hanging out, going places and doing things, new friends had to be incorporated into my life.

I could always easily adapt to new situations. When my mother died, I adapted. When Linda “made a double” and was then a grade ahead of me in school, I adapted. I made friends easily and was able to get along quite well in my new post-Linda classroom situations. I buddied up with Cheryl in 6th grade, Stephanie in 7th, and Rhonda, Marilyn and Jeanette in 8th.  They were cool for talking on the playground during recess and walking back and forth to school. But what’s interesting is none of those friendships stuck. Now I do need to add a word about Carla. Carla and I had been friends since 3rd grade; she hung with Linda and me. Carla, too, made a double, so we weren’t in the same classroom. She lived right behind me on Justine. We became close, but Carla’s family moved away right after 8th grade. (BTW: I was slated to make that same double a year before Carla and Linda. My parents vetoed it. Yay, Mom and Dad!) There also was a forlorn-looking girl who always stood by herself on the playground named Clotele. I don’t really know how Clotele and I became friends, but in high school we were in the same homeroom and were locker partners all four years. We ate lunch together, were in the same classes and she could be trusted. And no two girls partied harder than us in college, fake IDs in tow.

I first saw Donna as she was walking down the alley that divides Laflin and Justine. She was coming home from a Girl Scout meeting. I was playing in my backyard with Carla. Carla and Donna knew each other from Justine. When I started hanging with Carla on Justine, I got to know Donna and the kids on that block. I didn’t really care for the Laflin kids, and I found I really clicked with the Justine kids.

They say that when you are growing up, you have friends by proximity. I had to be with the Laflin kids because they were there. As you get older, you have friends by choice. Those are the important relationships. I chose to go over on Justine. I chose to go over to Donna’s house and hang out with her. The cool thing is she, also, chose me. She would come to my house. She would call me. We went places together. And what’s even cooler—we are close to this hour.

Donna was the one who came outside. We shared experiences. She joined my neighborhood drama class.  And when I started taking acting classes downtown, I could take her around those kids and she would fit right in. We went through the Stupid Boy Thing together. Later, we would go through the Stupid Man Thing together. We pledged the same sorority. We are sisters. Boys, thinking we were lying when they tried to hit on us, would challenge, “How can yall be sisters and have the same name?” We would say, “My mother is not her mother and her father is not my father,” or “When we were born our parents couldn’t afford separate names.” (The goofball we said that to actually believed it.) I was adopted into her family, and my father will kill anyone who says Donna isn’t his daughter. And yes, Donna’s mother features prominently in my wedding pictures standing next to my husband, my father and me. There are also very cool pictures of me, Donna and Clotele—my only bridesmaids—laughing at the reception. My brother Craig made sure things moved along smoothly that day.

I haven’t seen Linda in many moons. Not my choice. I assume she’s fine. If she wasn’t, I’d hear about it. I have indirect links to her family. However, some people are in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Let’s hear it for the Lifetimers.

Recent pics of Donna, Ebon Craig* and me                                        Clotele and Donna









*Craig recently legally changed his first name to Ebon Craig.



4 responses to “On Laflin Street: Searching for a New BFF

  1. Greg Terrell says:

    Another great story cousin…….People ARE on your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime!!!

    Continue the good work…..

  2. dondie19 says:

    Hey Sista, this was such a wonderful story. We are sisters and nothing can change that. God places people in your life for reasons we may never know. I know my life is all the more enriched for having you in it and I am truly blessed. Love you more than I could ever express.

  3. dondie19 says:

    Hey Sista! This was such a touching story. You are my sister for life. God places people in your life for a reason.that is so true. We may never know the reason why, actually i don’t need to know why. My life has truly been enriched for having you be a part of it. I am blessed and eternally grateful to God. Love ya!

  4. Clotele says:

    Wow! My sister and my friend. It’s not good to be alone. I think we became friends because God knew we both needed someone we could trust . A friend that would really be a friend and value who we are as individuals. I always valued the creative diversity of “Donna”. Whether you were writing a play or dealing with a relationship as your friend I wanted you to be happy. You have always been a support and a true friend. Love Clotele.

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