Chapter 35. Remembering to Say "Thank You": Important People, Important Moments

Walking the five blocks to Marsha's house was best done with some imagination. Rather than merely taking the sidewalk or hopping on my bike, which would have been much too expected and mundane, Marsha and I used the railroad tracks as a topographic map that linked our homes like two points on a connect-the-dots game. We balanced like circus performers on the worn metal tracks slicing through Dresden, drawing lot lines across our backyards, holding our small Ohio homes at bay.

Marsha and I had been friends since we graduated kindergarten together. And that day, as I placed one 17-year-old foot in front of another, I realized that time had only strengthened us, adding lines to the face of our friendship story. What I didn't know was that my compassion for other people would be largely impacted by what was going on inside Marsha's house.

On that warm day after school, feet wobbling me toward her home, I rapped the back door and was greeted by Marsha's mother, Mrs. Myers.

"Well hello, Tami! It's good to see you! Come on in." She quickly wiped her floured hands on the stained apron tied around her waist and pushed the screen door open in what seemed like one fluid motion. The cacophony of children and dinner pots clanging reminded me that it was not just Marsha and her four siblings living there: It was Marsha, her siblings, and several foster children who occupied the home.

Marsha swooped into the kitchen and ...

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