Home > Family, Friends, Love, Parenting, Youth > Rock out with your chalk out

Rock out with your chalk out

My twentieth birthday was a life-changer.

There were no epiphanies. No sudden, startling events that illuminated just how important the day would prove in the scheme of my life.

There was only a party–a movie party, to be precise. My sister took me to watch (or should I say, ignore?) terrible movies with her large group of nerdtastic, boisterous, crass guy friends. I was shocked and delighted by the guys’ shenanigans, but more so, how completely and immediately they accepted me. I’d never experienced that before, nor anything like it.

By the time I prepared to leave for South Korea a couple years later, I knew the guys. They knew me. They teased me incessantly but lovingly. I was at home with them, so much that I had mostly forgotten what it was like to be an island unto myself.

The photos of my collection are gone, but my good friend Pieter Ponyking permitted me to use this photo to demonstrate (mis)use of other parts of my collection!

Piete Ponyking

The evening of my farewell party, I was presented with a gift: a notebook in which all of my friends, some movie party and some not, had written out their recollections of and wishes for me. On the cover was a dragonfly drawn by my friend Piete, and inside were words that have inspired and sustained me for more than a decade since. Best of all were pages of sweet memories shared by my usually writing-averse friend Sarah, who taught me–and teaches me–better than anyone else I have ever known that friendship is in loving (if sometimes firm!) actions more than in any number of pretty words.

Sarah and me: Our very first picture as friends :)

Sarah and me: Our very first picture as friends

On my most recent trip to Oregon, Sarah, Piete and their twins joined my siblings and me for a romp to the park.

Happy times

Happy times

The kids were silly with tiredness as we walked home afterward. “Rock out!” my son shouted as he ran toward Uncle Piete.

With an impish smile, Uncle Piete replied, “Rock out with your chalk out!” I busted up laughing as my son, Li’l D, ran circles shouting, “Rock out with your chalk out! Rock out with your chalk out!”

The movie party felt alive in that moment. Those of us whose ages numbered in the double digits were still the kids we were back then, I saw, just with more experience, more love, and even a few kids of our own.

And now, our kids have each other.

Movie Party: The Next Generation

Movie Party: The Next Generation

I’ve missed Oregon more than usual recently, becoming downright melancholic at the thought of my family there–my siblings, my niece, my nephews, my godmom, Sarah, Piete and their kids. As if Li’l D can read my mind, it’s in these moments of missing that he grins and shouts, “Rock out with your chalk out!”

I can’t help but chuckle, a chuckle that bursts forth from deep within me. In that silly statement, past and present converge, as do my Oregon and California lives. My Oregon family is my California family, and I can hear all of its members so loudly with my heart that I don’t need to hear them with my ears.

I’ll be back in Oregon before long. I’ll be back with my movie party crew, exulting in the sight of the next generation playing and laughing together.

In the meantime, Oregon remains within me, shining out brightest of all when my son reminds me to rock out with my chalk out.

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Categories: Family, Friends, Love, Parenting, Youth Tags: , ,
  1. April 19, 2013 at 5:37 am

    Hahahaha! That’s adorable. This just reminded me to touch base with some old friends x

  2. April 19, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Where oh where have you been?! I miss you! Lil’D steals my heart when you talk about him! It just reminds me that my son packed up all his little trains in my purse and as I told him to go oyt my ourse away he says “oh I gotta get all the trains out….all except the green ones because those are “percy’s” .

  3. April 19, 2013 at 7:14 am

    Aw! I could totally picture your experience, Thos of us who are lucky to have experienced similar connections with good people get exactly what you’re talking about. Lucky lucky us.

  4. April 19, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Good memories are so important, they help us keep believing when the going gets rough.

  5. April 19, 2013 at 9:36 am

    I love it! Beautiful post, as always, Deb. And now I have a new motto to live by.

    • April 19, 2013 at 9:37 am

      Of course, that doesn’t really rhyme where I live… (Rahk/chawk)

  6. April 19, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Friends like that are the ones you talk to and even if a year has gone by, it’s like you pick up right where you left off! I love this post.

  7. April 19, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Good to hear from you. And a great reminder to cherish memories and to always work at makng new one with all those who are important to us!

  8. April 19, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    I love this. And I love you. Sarah and Pieter are probably the best and most inspiring people I know. Their kindness, empathy, compassion, and capacity for love and friendship blows me away.

    Also, I love the thought of a Next Gen Movie party! So awesome! ❤

  9. April 20, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    I loved this post of yours, Deb! Memories like these make life beautiful for each one of us.

  10. April 21, 2013 at 5:04 am

    Our memories sustain us, always. They are an important part of our heart maps and an important part of what we pass on. This was a lovely part of both.

  11. April 21, 2013 at 5:17 am

    I can totally empathize. My New Jersey family is/was in Denver. My sister still lives there and for a while my cousins did too. My children could never just hang out with their cousins since we were so far away from each other. Fortunately, we did visit and take trips together so they do know each other well. And, there’s just something about family and good friends that makes us all comfortable no matter how often we see each other. One thought– and something that did help the “cousins” relationship– my nephews would come here and spend 2 weeks during the summer without their parents. The children really bonded during those times. Perhaps you can arrange something like that-either in California or Oregon.

    As always Deb, you make a tough situation better with your beautiful thoughts and optimistic outlook.

  12. April 22, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Rock out with your chalk out- love that! Great post.

  13. April 22, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Love it. I will always think of “rock out with your chalk out” if I should ever happen to hear the original expression!

  14. April 23, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Great post and lovely story to share, Deb. It’s nice to have family in more than one place. I think it keeps us warmer on the inside. Great talking with you last week! XOXO

  15. April 27, 2013 at 7:30 am

    This is so sweet, the way you capture the fabric of childhood friends, adult friends, and the moments that stay with us forever. I adore the caption you placed under that last photo – so very true, as time rolls on.

  16. May 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    I know. I miss my family in Ontario even more now that we all have kids. Can’t wait for them to rock out this summer!

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