I remember delicately putting tiny clear pegs into a Lite-Brite, an electric board from the 80s that lit up into a design of your imagination.
Also, coarsely brushing a blue My Little Pony with a tiny plastic comb that never seemed to smooth out the hair. The horse’s body changed colors (maybe to pink?) when you put it in cold water. I also remember a time someone else was there. We were sitting on the carpet across from each other, quietly doing an activity like coloring books or stickers - she was about my size. Diana was probably my first friend without knowing it, since she was the baby who lived next door, and I was too young to know what a friend was.
I do remember feeling the opposite of a friend. Once I was at the grocery store with my mom and I smiled at some kid, and they stuck their tongue out at me. That did not feel good.
The first friends I had at age 4 were the Kaul brothers from Fridley, Minnesota - Eric, Jonathan, and David. Eric and I were the closest, probably simply because we were closest in age. That’s how things worked back then - age? let’s play. I have to apologize to him now for being so bossy about the puzzle that time. Although I do like having all the pieces turned over before starting, it wasn’t really worth him having to go home.
Once, we went to eat giant pancakes with loads of syrup at our local Denny’s. Mom decided he would have to sit on the other side of me because he was left-handed and our elbows kept clunking together. We were getting syrup on everything. Often times we got Dairy Queen and I noticed he always went for the vanilla cone dipped in chocolate, and I was loyal to my cherry StarKiss.
We had a pool at our apartment complex we’d swim in, and I remember one time I wasn’t allowed because I had an ear infection. So I sat on the edge of the cement with my little feet dangling in the water. My friends were having so much fun, laughing, splashing, and playing. I suddenly “fell in” to join them. I still can’t remember if that was an accident or not.
The 3 brothers would often launch into “Stand by Me” by Ben King, from the 1986 coming of age film soundtrack of the same title.
Those were my first friend memories. No gadgets or gizmos yet. Just hanging out and enjoying life.