Margie, Mary, Bernard and I were inseparable. First thing in the morning, we'd be busy. We always had a play "on the go." Our play involved getting rocks, an easy thing since we're talking about Newfoundland, not PEI, and building a rock wall of a particular shape, such as a circle, with a space to allow entry. This area was the play. Here we played school, house or store. Everyone had a role, and we delighted in finding props to bring to the play. We spent endless hours playing, often near my grandparents' house or near the homes of the other children. As we got older, the play became more elaborate, with rooms, higher walls and a roof out of blankets.
When not at the play, we were playing games with the other kids, red rover, hide and seek, statues, marbles, tag, and skipping, hopscotch or jacks for the girls were some of what was popular. Swimming in the river or at the beach were favourite pass times as well. Plays were for the morning, swimming in the afternoon and the games were in the early evening in front of the old school.
Margie was a great student in our play school, loved shopping or working at our play store and was an important part of our play family. As time went on, Mary, Bernard and I left the play and our props, including baby dolls. Margie didn't. What I didn't understand then was that Margie had Down's Syndrome. We thought she was just like us and that's how she was treated. It wasn't until I left the dolls and she didn't that I really understood the impact the condition would have on her life. That conversation with Mom was bewildering and sad to me. How could this be?
I later learned about the extra chromosome and all the resultant biological implications. However, this depersonalized information didn't describe the person I knew; the fun, happy, loving person who was my friend.