Alicia. Like 'a-fish-a.' Not Aleesha. A.k.a. 'LaLa.'
I met Alicia in 2nd grade, soon after my mother married my stepfather and moved my two sisters and me to Ogden, Utah. Alicia lived up 23rd Street on the southeast corner at Taylor Avenue on Ogden's east bench. Alicia and her family attended Ogden's Methodist Church, where my stepfather's family were members. She was in my Sunday school class, which came as a surprise to me when I figured out that the Alicia at Sunday school and the Alicia I was getting to know were the same person. I was in a fog in those days. Alicia would perhaps say that I still am and I would agree.
Jolene (who lived around the corner from me on Tyler Avenue) and I would walk up to Alicia's house on the way to school, then the three of us would tread north along Taylor Avenue the three blocks to Taylor Elementary School.
Alicia and I hung out for the next seven or eight years, until her family moved to a new house out in North Ogden during our senior year in high school. I moved to Washington, DC and married Robert Kaiser. Alicia married (in a ceremony at Ogden's Methodist Church) and moved to Japan when the Navy sent her husband there. I saw her a few times in Utah when, in 1974, Robert and I moved back to the mountains from DC, but time and distance had opened a gap between us. Alicia and I lost touch again when I moved back to DC. We were lucky enough to reconnect when I passed through Salt Lake City on business in the early 1980s and gave her a call.
Alicia was a good friend to me through the insecurity of my growing up. I began to learn from her how not to take life so seriously as she stood by me and welcomed me into her boistrous and hilarious family. We have had a lot of fun and gained strength from each other as we gained insight into our identities and as we propped each other up during fearful events in our lives.
Here's Alicia's story as I've watched it unfold.