I never questioned if it was real. Of course it was real. The Runestone. The origin? Oh, I don’t know. Vikings? Maybe. Probably. That’s not what was real for me. The Runestone was real because it was the landmark, not for the birthplace of America, but for the neighborhood of Victoria Heights. That’s where my best friend, Barbie Duray lived. In 5th and 6th grade, that was my world. It marked the beginning of me. My becoming. And I believed in it all. I believed in friendship and love and family and fun and belonging and life. How could anything be more real than that.
They have done tests and studies. People continue to research. Is it real? The Runestone? They could have just asked us — the group of 5th graders that gathered together in Victoria Heights. The group of 5th graders that piled into one parent’s station wagon and stuck together with sweaty summer legs on the way to Lake Le Homme Dieu. The group of 5th graders that believed their summer would never end.
You could have just asked us. It was more that real. It still is.
I haven’t seen Barbie (probably “Barb” at this point) in years. I haven’t driven by the Runestone. I don’t live in this city, or even this country, but it is as real and as vivid as the day my mom drove me past this solid rock for the first time.
For it was solid. Still is. No one can take that away — what you believe in. And I do believe in it all. No years or distance can take that away. Friendship. Love. Family. Fun. Belonging. Life. Forever stuck to my youthful legs — my youthful heart. Solid.