One of my oldest friends is Moofie Goopie. That isn't her real name, of course, but I still call her that.
See, when you start hangin' with a person when you are nine, You almost STAY nine.
We have been through a lot since then. Housemates, pregnancies, husbands, hobbies, and now grandchildren. She made me the Thanksgiving items shown below and when I get them out every year, I think of her. I hope by the time you are reading this I am giving her a hug!
There is a story about us below the pics.
When I was nine, my friends and I sat up in my tree house and spoke a language we invented, called Ookie Mookie. Actually, we didn’t MAKE it up in its entirety. It just sort of evolved. It started as sort of an “accent” with round vowels and eventually consonants became consonant blends and blends became single consonants. Nicknames for each other expanded into nicknames for familiar things. Soon we had a full-blown language to go along with our little society that existed on South Johnston and 21st and 22nd streets.
By the time I was in the sixth grade, we never spoke to one another in any other language.
I told my self I certainly wouldn’t speak Ookie Mookie when I got into Junior High, as it was childish. I did not want to be childish in junior high, heaven forbid.
However, by the time we were in junior high, we realized we needed Ookie Mookie in order to communicate. There is nothing more important than communicating when one is in junior high, unless it’s being able to communicate without parental involvement or participation.
We even found it necessary to come up with Ookie Mookie words for certain body parts that we were becoming increasingly interested in.
I told myself that when I got into high school, I certainly wouldn’t communicate in Ookie Mookie, as it was childish and I certainly didn’t want to be childish in high school.
By the time we progressed into high school, the language had left the boundaries of our neighborhood and extended to a much larger group of people. Even the guys wanted to learn. Although they tried, they never got past the noun stage. But they were cute! We went on to become more childish than ever. We made up cheers in order to entertain certain adults who found us amusing.
And with that we added hand signals to the language. We had signals that went along with words that indicated places.
“At the grocery store” was an open hand, palm up with the hand rising.
We never said “To” the grocery store-for some reason. We never said “To” anywhere. Always “At.”
By this time we had phrases that described activities and concepts. The evolution was complete.
I’m sure I must have thought somewhere in the recesses of my mind that I certainly wouldn’t speak Ookie Mookie as an adult, but the truth is that every time I talk with my old friends from the tree house days and beyond, we call each other our Ookie Mookie names and our conversations are peppered with phrases and words from our “childish days.” My husband of forty-four years will still answer to his Ookie Mookie name.
There is something magic about people you have loved for decades. They still look like they did when we were nine. Go figure.
Which means…well…nothing, really.