This photo was taken in the summer of 1950. I'm the girl on the left, the one with the stupid hat and the really dirty feet. The small girl on the right is my little sister. The dog, named Wiggles, was ours. That leaves the older girl in the middle, and she's the one I want to talk about.
The girl in the middle lived six houses up the street--not down the street, toward the drugstore/soda fountain, but the other direction. She was enough older than we were that she wasn't a frequent playmate, but I remember her quite clearly.
She looks a little bit like Laura Ingalls in this picture. In truth, she was our Nellie Oleson. We played with her when she wanted to play, and we played what she wanted to play. She struck fear in our hearts until the day she moved away.
This photo was taken on our front steps, but on the day that sticks out in my mind, she and I were playing on the back steps. She sat a couple of steps higher than I did, and at one point she picked up her big foot in its sturdy leather sandal and stomped it down on my fingers--on purpose! I started crying and stood up to go in the house, and that's when she grabbed me by my collar, got right in my face, and said, "You'd better sit back down if you know what's good for you, and if you ever tell anybody about this, I'll do it again!"
Well, guess what, Miss Priss: I'm tellin'! Brave soul that I am, it's only taken me 56 years to get up the courage to spill the beans about your dirty little, dark-sided secret, but today's the day the truth comes out!
Yes, I remember her well. If you ask me, I'll whisper her name to you. I won't write it here, though, in case she's still the meanest girl on the block.
P.S. to my little sister: I learned a lot from that girl.