Lindy was my best friend from the day I met her in junior high school. I was the tallest kid in school, shy, and full-on puberty chunky. Lindy was short and stocky, and ran with popular kids from her elementary school. I copied her, and we hung out on weekends with her sisters and their friends, smokers and wine drinkers.
My elementary school friends tried to dominate junior high, but went up against school administration, who made boys tuck in white shirts and not wear hair longer than their ears. Girls kneeled on the gym floor to prove their dresses went to the knees.
I endured dumbshit math, regular English, and World History with teachers I didn’t care about. Lindy and I cut during lunch and after school on Fridays, running across the field to the railroad tracks into a large stand of eucalyptus, lit up Winston cigarettes from flip top boxes. Smoking with Lindy was about getting away with it, as we walked along the tracks smoke trailing from our fingers.
“Do you want to be best friends?” Lindy asked me over and over again.
“Sure,” and I meant it every time.
Lindy’s family had moved to a big new house on Tiburon Blvd, and we walked up her steep driveway to the first mansion I ever saw.
The Bakers remodeled a small house into a huge one, to accommodate their army of seven girls. My puny Bel Aire house was boring in comparison, and I felt ashamed, like a poor relations among the richies of Tiburon and Belvedere. We could never be as rich as the Bakers. I assumed they were super rich.
The Baker house had been ranch-style, with a living room and huge picture windows revealing drop-dead gorgeous views of Richardson Bay and Sausalito, and a good-sized turnaround driveway. The living room was furnished with carved dark wooden high-back chairs, oriental carpets, gilt-framed pictures, parlor mirrors, and a long Victorian couch.
Their gigantic kitchen space was divided down the middle: two long counters, two stoves, two wall ovens, and a side alcove with a sewing machine, and their sink window looked at a beautiful a steep hill.
“Your kitchen is the size of my whole house!”
They put in tan wall-to wall-carpet on a staircase ascending to a dormitory wing, separating older girls from younger ones. There was a recreation room below, with a real moose head smoking a cigarette hanging on the wall.
Lindy had a blue-tiled swimming pool out the back door, of her terraced patio area. Dr. Baker’s garage and hobby workshop were directly under the girls’ bedrooms.
We barely saw Lindy’s parents. Her dad was the local doctor. Her minister mom was around, and still had a beautiful operatic voice. Seven daughters brought home countless friends like me, who practically lived there, and her parents hardly seemed to notice.