Vn036.01 Losing a Friend 6/25/77
Now that school has ended for the summer, Miriam will see much
less of her schoolmates. Of her close, new-found kindergarten friends,
most will be away for most of the summer. The child going farthest
away, unfortunately, is Maria, Miriam’s closest friend. Maria is going
to Spain, has in fact left already, and she will not be coming back.
Any adult would call Maria a very attractive child. She is a
pretty child of pale olive skin, dark hair, and dark brown eyes. All
her best features were accentuated by the particular care with which
she was dressed (typically I think of her wearing a frilly white blouse,
red skirt, and brighter red sweater, and black Mary Janes as shiny as
the gold rings in her ears). My first recollection of her was early in
the autumn as a leader of the other children: she ran to a specific
place in the school yard, turned, and called, “All the puppies come
over to me,” whereat most of the other children gathered around her,
barking loudly. I would characterize Maria’s demeanor as modest.
In the school Maria was one of the four other girls with whom
Miriam played most in the Housekeeping Corner (cf. Vignettes 14, 18,
19). Why did Miriam like Maria? What was special about her in Miriam’s
eyes? When I asked Miriam why she liked Maria, why she was her special
friend, Miriam replied, “I don’t know, I just like her.” One element
of their cameraderie derived from accident. Most children on the kin-
dergarten bus disembarked at a central point north of Route 9 or at the
Heath School (to participate in after school programs). Miriam and
Maria were left alone on the bus for another 10 minutes riding home.
I believe during these many small segments of time began an activity
Miriam mentioned every time she spoke of asking Maria to visit: “making
funny faces.” Some examples of thses ‘funny faces’ can be seen on
videotapes of Logo Sessions. The typical procedure for making a funny
face is to stick the fourth finger of each hand in the corner of the
mouth; bracing the hands with the thumbs by the ears and little fingers
near the chin; to deform the face around the eye sockets with the
second and third fingers; finally, to stick out the tongue. Thus it
was, in bringing Maria to our house or taking her home, the two girls
would amuse themselves in the back seat of the car.
As Maria’s departure approached, Miriam has been very sad and
said recently she knows that when Maria leaves she will never see her
again. I have tried to console Miriam as best I could without deluding
her. For her sorrow, I could only offer my sympathy and my assurance
that her sorrow was a praiseworty, mature, and appropriate feeling
and not something to be devalued.
This vignette documents how the end of the school year has been a
difficult time for Miriam. It puts in perspective the material of
Vignette 33. I believe it also suggests that Miriam’s work on this
project, providing a sense of continuity and access to her friends at
Logo, is generally supportive.
Letter to Maria