Striped Smiles

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purple zebraOne of Kishma’s favorite things was zebras.  She collected them for many years, in all forms.  And she had boxes of stuffed zebras.  Tan and Ed, her significant others, decided that bringing these plushies to her memorial at Hobbs Grove, and allowing all in attendance to take one home with them, would be a great way to remember her.  I thought this was a marvelous idea and was so glad they thought of it.

This little guy was sitting on the back of the couch at their house.  Right now he is sitting on my dining room table and I will find a permanent place for him soon.

In our high school years, Kishma and I began to look different from one another.  Though we were both small (72 pounds was the maximum weight we reached when we were seniors in high school) the corticosteroids were beginning to affect her even then. Kishma stayed at 5′ tall when I grew to 5’4″.  She had a much curvier form (for which I was very envious!) while I became more the ectomorph. AND though her early years inflicted her with eczema and psoriasis, when she stopped drinking milk she gained the most beautiful clear skin I’ve ever seen to this day, while I held on to the freckles of my youth.

Over the years this affected our perception of ourselves. As we are animal lovers we anthropomorphized ourselves into different creatures. Kishma saw herself as the beautiful dancing zebra Tashta.  Ed Kline did an amazing job putting body paint on her before she would perform a dance at special conventions. She made a detailed mask she wore, an ever smiling zebra face.  It was quite beautiful.  And I saw myself as a spotted cheetah.  At the time I was freckled, taller, lankier, thinner and loved to run.  So our characters became our selves.  While I stayed always one of two creatures Kishma became many.  With her experience in making latex masks she portrayed characters such as Red Sonja, a beautiful fox, Tashta, etc. It was fun and magical to watch the transitions over the years.  This also manifested itself in many of the drawings we made of each other and of ourselves.  It was great fun.  I’ll miss that!

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