When I was very young, between the ages of two and three, I kept company with a pair of imaginary friends--Julie and Johnny. Though I was too young at the time to have any reliable memory of the two of them1, my relationship with them was so intense, my mother included them on my "Favorite Things" page in my baby book. Not only that, but I believe Julie and Johnny are the reason Lora, a little girl who people besides me could see, is listed as my first real friend.
Despite their unwillingness to show themselves to anyone else, Julie and Johnny had no trouble occupying me--I spent whole afternoons playing with them, carrying on long conversations and even demanding that my mother make sandwiches for them at lunch time. The way my mother told it, Julie and Johnny only faded away when we moved to a different town and Lora came into my life.
For most of my life, I've thought of Julie and Johnny as just one more layer of quirk, but recently2, I have started to wonder if Julie and Johnny were more supernatural than imaginary.
Once that possibility crossed my mind, I remembered the months after Son-One learned to crawl and then walk. Very often, he would make his way toward the same corner of our tiny apartment's tiny kitchen. He would sit on the floor, facing the corner, his eyes focused on something none of the rest of us could see. Sometimes he would speak to whatever or whomever it was he saw, stringing baby syllables into sentence-like structures--questions, demands, declarative statements. Mostly though, he sat and watched intently in a way that became eerie over time.
After months of this, when Son-One was not quite two, we moved to another apartment and we never saw him "corner talking" again.
So, what say you, my bloggy friends? Quirk or clairvoyance? Is either of them hereditary? And do you have any experiences with either one that you'd like to share?
I is for Imaginary
1. Memory is a such a strange and slippery thing. For most of my life, when I've thought of these two, I've thought of them as Jean and Johnny. Tonight, when I was double checking my baby book for my mother's notations on the subject, I discovered that my mother had referred to the female counterpart as "Julie." I had absolutely read that note before, but somehow had forgotten the written version in favor of my own recollection of "Jean." Based on the ink color and handwriting and the timing of other entries, my mother's note about Julie and Johnny was written around the time I was eight, about five years after my friendship with Jean/Julie and Johnny had ended. Did she misremember Jean's name as Julie as that point? Did I misremember Julie as Jean all along? Or did my mother at some point begin substituting Jean for Julie in her oral version of the story, which I heard a million times and internalized? Or, perhaps, I remember more about Jean and Johnny than I realize? Wherever it may have come from, Jean is so embedded in my psyche that it was an effort to type Julie throughout this entry.
2. The timing may or may not be related to excessive viewing of Celebrity Ghost Stories, where a surprising number of episodes feature childhood friends of the disembodied spirit variety. Hey! If it's good enough for Daryl Hannah, it's good enough for me.
1 day ago