Laura and I grew up together after she moved to OKC from Florida. Her and Chris moved into the house across the street from us and we were really close for years. We were the only two cousins in our age range, and went to the same school (for a while), summer camp, and eventually the same college. Laura was a year and 3 months older than I was, and I always thought of her as my big sister.

Here are some memories/thoughts I have with Laura….

1) In 5th grade, I switched from Westminster to Nichols Hills elementary, which had uniforms. Laura and I were both terrified I would lose my fashion sense, since all the kids dressed the same. So… Laura wrote up weekly fashion reports for me every Friday for a long time on what all the boys at Westminster were wearing, so I wouldn’t lose touch with the latest trends.

2) Laura and I idolized Bush and Alanis Morissette in around 4th-5th grade. We started a cousin band and started writing songs and rearranging existing songs. We would record them on cassettes. Our first (and only) cover was based on a TV commercial for a children’s toy – “Mr. Bucket” – that had a really catchy jingle. But we didn’t think “Mr. Bucket” was cool enough, so we changed the name to “Mr. Coolzie” and rewrote all the lyrics to something like:
“Oh Mr. Coolzie – he’s the coolest around.
Oh Mr. Coolzie – he’s the coolest in town
Oh Mr. Coolzie Mr. Coolzie Mr. Coolzie Mr. Coolzie…” – Something like that.

We also wrote several original songs, but since we were 9-10 years old, we didn’t know enough big/interesting words. So we both spent hours reading the thesaurus and discovered words like “irk” and “nemesis” that we thought sounded great. Some original songs we wrote together (and recorded – I wonder what happened to those tapes) went like this:

“Don’t you know your beginning to irk me
Everything about you is starting to hurt me
Will you ever get the poooooint? Will you ever get the point?”

“The dog, he ate my homework
I got caught in a traffic jam
The alarm clock broke and I overslept
I come up with so many excuses”

“Where has the time gone?
I’ve been dealing with your problems
Your a nemesis around
Just get outta town”

I remember more songs we wrote too… but I think that’s enough examples.

3) Laura and I became masters of swimming and treading water as kids. One summer at Camp Chaverim, when we were also around 9-10, we bet one of our counselors that we could tread water for an hour. No one believed us, and they closed the pool to everyone else to let us prove it. And we did it. The whole hour we treaded water and it was awesome to prove everyone wrong.

4) Laura and I play tons of badminton every summer as kids. We learned from our grandad Gene and our parents and aunts and uncles. We used to practice for hours on end perfecting trick shots. And we had names for our trick shots. But sometimes we would mess up on easy volleys. So we decided dark forces were at work that made us sometimes miss the birdie through no fault of our own. We called it the “Spirit of Badminton”, or SOB for short. Whenever either of us would miss the birdie/shuttlecock, we both would curse the SOB that made us miss.

It breaks my heart that I will miss Laura’s memorial. I now live in Europe, and my wife and I just had a baby less than 2 weeks ago. We also have a 5 year old and I can’t leave my wife alone with a newborn and child so soon after the birth. I will be there in spirit. Laura really was my sister and best friend throughout my childhood.