PostHeaderIcon My Award-winning Column

By Terez Howard

This column, “Ode to an everlasting friend,” was published in The Weirton Daily Times on April 7, 2006. For it, I earned the following award: WV Press Association Best Lifestyle Columnist Division 3, 2nd place (2007).

We sat inside my little red wagon when we were toddlers. With blankets cushioning our back sides, we were pleased to be in one another’s company. A terrible fall made a full leg cast necessary for her to work toward a smooth recovery. As she lay behind me, I reassured her, “Don’t worry, Marcicia. It’ll be OK.” She smiled back at me.

In less than two months, my dearest friend and cousin, Marcicia Tyler, will wed Matthew Mangone. Memories we’ve shared the past 21 years, such as the above, deluge in my head as she reaches a mammoth point in her life – matrimony.

Cousins by our mothers, who are sisters, we were born exactly four months apart, with my birthday on March 31 and hers, July 31. One photograph from our infant years portrayed the two of us, seated on some sort of couch. Both chubby babies, yet my build at a far larger weight, we look at the picture and call ourselves “Big Fat” and “Little Fat.”

When we probably were about 3 or 4 years old, we were taken to get pictures taken in matching purple skirt outfits. I still remember the beige carpet we sat on at the department store’s portrait studio. A more mischievous youngster, I whispered to her, “Dare me to stick out my tongue.” She said she didn’t care what I did. That apparently was enough for me. A close inspection of some of the wallet size pictures show my tongue peeking out the corner of my mouth.

We were notorious for getting into a bit of trouble, and I must confess I often was the concoctor of schemes. We made silly telephone pranks on anonymous persons and created humorous but somewhat cruel songs about people who exhibited less than flattering characteristics. We had many goofy swimming experiences at Belleview Pool in Steubenville. How could we forget Catman?

Ever since high school, I’ve had an interest in the hairstyle known as a mullet. The business in the front and party in the back do never quite made sense to me; but I reckon individuals want the best of both worlds. Anywho, Marcicia and I would take photos of random people who proudly sported the cut.

The candid snapshots were not limited to the mullets. They branched out to include anything which tickled our funny bones. Princess Bloodimere, Pumpkin Head and All Sport twins all found spots in our photo albums.

Even though she lived in Bridgeport, Ohio, and I resided in Steubenville, we made regular visits to one another’s homes. I remember us taking various trips from my home with my dad, who she’s said was the closest to a father to her. Individuals would ask us if we were twins, undoubtedly due to our attached countenances. I would lie and tell them yes and instructed her to call my father “Dad.” And that she did. I’m certain her love for Uncle Phil caused her to affectionately utter the title I called him.

When he died, even though we did not speak of it much, I know that she lost him as I did, that her bond to him was severed, her heart broken. At his funeral, where literally hundreds turned out, she said to me, “They don’t even know him. They don’t even know,” as we hugged one another with tear flowing down our faces. That statement helped me appreciate the powerful connection she felt toward him, an endearment I’m sure he reciprocated.

Marcicia greatly supported me, especially when I was married last year. Interestingly, we soon will have anniversaries one week apart. Marcicia says I’m a lot like Matt with our scheming natures, and I think Marcicia acts as does Ethan, subjects of Matt and my contrivances who are often late in response. Oddly enough, to a degree, the men in our lives portray us.

She and I seek to cultivate our relationship. We look forward to having children around the same time and continuing to share our lives’ accomplishments and even woes. One truth reigns – that we’ve given each other friendship, a lasting link saturated with amusement and laughter.

Marcicia, do preserve your sincere kindness, heartfelt generosity and unending consideration because such qualities will make you a wonderful wife. For that, I admire you.

4 Responses to “My Award-winning Column”

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  • thoward says:

    Matthew, Thanks for the compliment!

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