It was a warm, sleepy summer day and the only noises came from the Missouri Farmers' Association big store across the alley. Clucks, quacks, an occasional clang from a milk can and very occasionally a passing car were part of the sounds of living and I didn't really hear it as I carefully chalked a new hopscotch on the sidewalk.
My usual companions, Sunny Sue Robertson and Barbara Schwartz, were somewhere else, not there and then. As an only child, I was accustomed to entertaining my own self, even if I preferred not to. Head down, nose to the ground, I worked to get it perfect. I didn't hear her come up behind me and it took a few moments to feel her there.
She was just my size, with blonde hair, a dress much like mine...a bit too small, a bit worn, but clean.
I offered her the smooth gray stone I had found to pitch and she smiled.
We played hopscotch, then tag, then sat in the old hammock on the side porch to swing and talk. We had lemonade and cookies on the front steps. I told her where I went to school and about my teacher and she said she wished she went to my school, but when I asked where she went to school she just mentioned a town across the state, then asked about the story book I'd been reading in the hammock.
I walked her home, down the street to the next block to the shanty houses that rented by the week set in the alley behind the big houses like mine.
My pals came back and life was full and busy and I forgot my new friend until another lonely day a week or so later. I walked to the little shanty in the alley and knocked. The person who answered the door didn't know her.
I never saw her again. I liked her. I wish I remembered her name.