I feel left out. A co-worker and I were talking the other day and somehow, our conversation turned to the topic of imaginary friends. I never had one. Some of my cousins had one. Their friend’s name was George and he wandered around their house. Now, some of their children have a friend named George – but only when they visit their Grandma and Grandpa in the house my cousins grew up in. Okay, that’s weird and causes chills but that isn’t what this article is about.
I read a 2008 article at psychologytoday.com that said 65%of children have an imaginary friend at some point in their lives. Which means having a make-believe friend is the norm and not having one is abnormal or even weird. I wish I would have had one. It would have been nice to have a friend around all the time or even a scapegoat when I needed to blame someone for something I did. I wonder, do the children actually see someone or do they merely want to see someone? And where do they come up with the name?
My younger sister, NJ, had an imaginary friend when she was young. Her friend Crudy (rhymes with Rudy) showed up sometime after NJ could talk and went away right around the time NJ started school. I recently asked NJ if she could see Crudy and the only thing she remembers is that her friend had short, curly hair. Because of the stigma associated with imaginary friends, NJ was a little reluctant to answer questions regarding Crudy but I managed to get a few answers from her before she caught on to the theme of the questioning. Did her and Crudy have some sort of a farewell or a goodbye? Or if, in a very unromantic fashion, did Crudy simply disappear from NJ’s view and NJ saw her like the rest of the world saw her friend, as nothing? But when I asked NJ, she simply responded, “Um, I grew out of it.”
I remember Crudy was a pretty loyal friend to NJ. She was around a lot of the time. If I gave NJ a hard time (as is my older-sister prerogative) NJ would simply look past me and carry on her conversation with Crudy. She’d speak louder as if letting me know how rude it was for me to interrupt.
Crudy was a bit of a troublemaker. Whenever NJ would get in trouble, she’d put her hands on her little hips showing her displeasure and doing a miniature-momma stance, “Crudy, what did you do?” Sometimes I found myself waiting for Crudy to respond. Then I remembered, she didn’t exist and only NJ could see her.
The name of NJ’s friend is quite irregular. I’ve never heard it before or since so I have no idea where her three year old brain came up with it. But Crudy provided some entertainment for our family for a couple of years. I wish I could have met her. But then, I’m sure Crudy got an earful about me from NJ.