After looking over a few of the stories in the Friendship series, I'm realizing that more often than not I applied the "Friendship" label after the fact. Don't get me wrong: The 100 (and then some) characters are here in all their Anglican-named glory. But I think my ingenious idea to name the school—and the town—Friendship happened kind of late in the game. Many of the books (this one, for instance) don't even bother to specify a setting, but others take place in cities in western New York that I had actually visited that summer. However, for the sake of everyone's sanity, I will continue to refer to both the school and the town as Friendship.
One of the first entries in the Friendship canon is Kimberly and Adrianne, which manages to get pretty frickin' emo for the fifth grade.
KIMBERLY and ADRIANNE
Chapter One: Friends Forever
"Let's make a pact." said Adria. Her real name is Adrianne. She's my best friend. We were standing outside the school, the bell would ring any second and 5th grade would begin. I should have been happy, but I wasn't. Adria had been separated from me for the first time ever. I glanced at my watch. 5 more minutes.
At my elementary school—and so, of course, at Friendship Elementary—you had subjects like science, social studies, gym, art, and health with your homeroom class, but you switched classes for math and language arts. Therefore, even if you and your be fri were in different homerooms, you still had a pretty good shot at being in class together at some point. It was not quite the death sentence Kim makes it out to be.
"What kind of pact?" I asked.
"A friendship pact." answered Adria. Her eyes were shining, so I knew she had a great idea.
You know how the cartoon representation of a bright idea is a light bulb illuminating? Apparently Adria has a couple of those light bulbs in her eye sockets.
"A friendship pact about what?" I asked.
"Sort of a promise that-"
"Duh." I interrupted.
What an ass. This is probably why they need a pact in the first place.
"A promise that," continued Adria, ignoring me. "If we fight, we'll apologize right away." she suggested.
"And that we'll always be friends forever." I added.
"Right," said Adria, her eyes shining. "Friends forever." We both smiled because we new it was a great, long-lasting pact.
Yes, well, it doesn't get much more long-lasting than forever.
I was just about to tell Adria where we should meet for recess, when the bell rang.
"The flying saucer." I told her.
"Right." said Adria, but her eyes stopped shining as we went in. Who new what 5th grade held.
I'll tell you what it holds: introductions to about a googolplex more characters than we need in this story. Hope you're ready for a whirlwind tour of Friendship students!
I followed Mrs. Lokkins into the classroom. She said we could sit wherever we wanted. Who would I sit next to? There was no Adria to sit with.
"KIM." someone called. "Oh, Kimberly."
I turned around. It was Rain. Her real name is Noraina. I smiled. She was sitting with Barbara Manitelli and Lorraine Tailore. I like them. Barb's funny. [You might even say she can't be serious!] I sat down on the end, next to Barbara.
"So what do you think of Lokkins?" whispered Lorraine.
"She's OK so far." said Barbara.
I think Mrs. Lokkins has been their teacher for about 30 seconds at this point.
"HEY, ELEANOR." shouted Rain. "OVER HERE."
Eleanor Jefferson is so popular. "Hi, Eleanor." I said.
Eleanor Jefferson: Popular fifth grader or wife of a founding father? You tell me.
"Hi, Kim. Call me Nora or Ellie though, please." said Nora/Ellie. "Hey look there's Angie McCall." Nora/Ellie said, sitting down next to Lorraine.
"Ewww. Old Duck Feet herself." said Rain
"Quack. Quack." quacked Barbara.
Quacking, that's always classy. What exactly is the deal with the duck feet? Is Angie the opposite of pigeon-toed? (And does that have a name?) I was totally pigeon-toed as a child—I had to wear a brace on my feet and everything—so I should not be making light of such afflictions.
"SILVIE EVANS." yelled Lorraine. "WE SAVED YOU A SEAT."
Silvie Evans is cute and nice. She has the prettiest hair. She sat down next to Nora/Ellie. By that time we had taken up the whole row except for one seat next to Silvie.
"DANNI SIMONSON, COME ON DOWN." called Silvie. Her real name is Priscilla.
"Hello all." said Danni. Her name is Danielle. She sat down on the end next to Silvie. We had the whole row to ourselves.
"OK. I have a name." Nora/Ellie said decidedly. "Call me Nori."
She's now gone from First Lady to sushi wrapper.
"You know," said Rain. "You and my mom should have a talk about what to name the baby." We all laughed. Noraina has 5 other sisters named Coral, Lanira, Korina, Bonita, and Ranella. Also, her mom was pregnant again.
Well, Lokkins did attendance. Then she told us what math class we were in. Rain, Nori, and Silvie were in mine. Lorraine and Barbara were together. We headed for Mr. Matthews room.
"Bye, Lorraine." I said. "Bye, Barbara."
"Call me Barry." Barbara said.
"Bye, Barry." called Nori.
Egad, the nicknames! It's like a Russian novel! Only... not.
So I have illustrations of some of these characters that were meant to accompany another story, but as Kimberly and Adrianne is about as exciting as Silent Lunch so far, I'm going to throw them in here. These illustrations are courtesy of neither Kimberly nor Adrianne, but instead:
Actually, I'll be straight with you: Noraina's story doesn't even make it past page two. For some reason, many of my most beloved characters were also the most boring. I would spend tons of time drawing them, their families, their friends; perfecting their handwriting; writing poetry as if I were them... and then eke out only a handful of paragraphs before I tired of their lameass plotlines. I believe Noraina's barely-begun book was going to focus on the arrival of Baby #7. (And, I'm sure, introduce another under-the-influence baby name.)
But at least Noraina (I'm sorry, Rain) managed to provide us with pictorial representations of many of the characters in this story—albeit not the protagonists. Kim and Adria must have had a falling out with the popular girls at some point, because my records show they were demoted to hanging out with Ivy Swanson, Cathy Johnson, and Nina Castor. I wonder if Eleanor and crew ever made animal sounds at them.
First we have Noraina, looking a bit bashful:
It's like someone just told her how much sex her parents have! After she had taken a time machine back to 1964. But don't worry, she didn't always look so glum. Here she is, cheerfully representing the late '80s. Leggings and jelly bracelets? Done and doner.
Next we have Miss Popularity herself, Eleanor Jefferson. Seriously, she has four personality traits listed, and popular is one of them. She's also pretty, smart, and nice. And wearing a Mr. Rogers cardigan:
And if you think her abundant coif could be the result of haphazard scribbling on my part, think again! Also, check out her bobby socks. I was seriously into bobby socks, preferably those with lacy trim.
Silvie Evans is also pretty and nice, but instead of popular or smart, she is SMALL. Really! She is literally half the size of Eleanor Jefferson! Note her distraught expression, her awkwardly outstretched arms, and the seizure-inducing print on her dress.
Lorraine Tailore is cute, nice, smart, and a little too into hearts. I'm not sure if the weight of her XXL sweatshirt has thrown off her center of gravity, but she seems to be struggling to regain balance. Or maybe she's drunk. Everyone seems suspiciously flushed, don't they?
And of course there's Barbara Manitelli, who is nice, funny, AVERAGE (translation: not so much attractive), and a QUEERO. I think queero is supposed to mean she's kind of weird, but feel free to chime in if you also suspect Barry may be transgendered. Apparently our girl's into suspenders and snakes. SNAKES! Could she have picked a more phallic animal? I rest my case.
And Danni Simonson must be the least popular of the popular girls, because she's nowhere to be seen. Probably because she's Jewish. I mean, I'm half Jewish myself, but since I seem to be snubbing all sorts of ethnicities in this series, I wouldn't put it past me.
After I scanned the drawings, I noticed this on the opposite side of one of the papers:
Yes, Sada + Sig. Because if I wrote it enough times, it might actually happen! But enough about my love life. Where were we? Oh, that's right, on our way to math class.
The first thing I saw when I walked into Mr. Matthews was Rhoda Delacore. She is huge. She really is. "Hi, Kimmy." said Rhoda. I ignored her. This summer she thought we were best friends. Can you believe it? BARF*O*RAMA.
Remember how in Gossip Central I took baby steps forward in my treatment of overweight characters? I've now taken a giant leap back. Do you guys think Kim and Rhoda hung out over the summer and now Kim is trying to ignore her all Breakfast Club–style? I love how Rhoda calls Kim "Kimmy." I like to think she's taunting her.
Adria saw me before I saw her, but I couldn't sit with her. She waved and I waved back. It still didn't change anything. She was sitting with Ivy Swanson, Carole Bakerwitz, Kristin Seals, and Michelle Brewer.
"Kim. It's time for math. Back to Earth. Are you home, Kim, are you home?" It was Danni.
"Hi, Danni." I said sadly.
"Hi nothing. Mr. Matthews looks like he wants to murder you. You'd better find a seat so come sit with us." They were sitting in the row behind Adria.
"Friends?" Adria whispered uncertainly.
"Forever." I whispered back. I knew we always would be.
Well, now that we've introduced all 40 jillion tertiary characters, maybe something can actually HAPPEN in this story.
NEXT TIME: I plagiarize the bejehu out of Barthe DeClements as the girls engage in some candy-assed vandalism.
11 months ago