adventure, childhood, connections, friends, kids, life, life goes on, memories, photography

Old friends…

There was, after all, a lot to lose. My most treasured memories stem from the neighborhood that I lived in from ages 4 to 9. It doesn’t look at all the same now, it seems to have shrunk. I know this because I drove past it this weekend. I was there to visit with my lifelong best friend, but also to spend a little time at ‘home’. But there was also the fact that a few months ago my sister contacted my constant partner in crime from back in those days. It was a fluke that she spotted him online, and once she messaged me that she had contacted him I was tempted to contact him, but also a little afraid. All my life, it seems, when I would roll out a favorite memory of mine, my mother would jump in and insist that I had it all wrong. I would see it perfectly clearly in my head, but be told that I was wrong. Then when my daughter got to be about 12 or so I found myself in the same situation, my memories being corrected by my daughter. Clearly my memory was suspect. To my mind, back then we were like the kids in the Charlie Brown cartoons, with parents who were vaguely in the background. We were free, to climb trees, and swing on a rope swing out over the river, and there was even a garage roof we used to jump off of, grabbing a young tree trunk that would bounce us up and down a few times before we let let go, and then we would climb back onto the roof to do it again. I don’t recall sneaking to do these things, it was just what we did. If our parents knew it seemed to be okay. Even when my shoe fell off as I rode the rope swing over the river, I only remember watching it float away, I don’t remember going home to confess.

So making contact ran the risk of ruining those memories I’ve hung onto for all these years. To be told I was wrong, or, worse, to be greeted with a blank stare. But from my sister I did know that he remembered us, that much was a plus. But still it took me a month of thinking about it to actually message him, and over the weekend we were finally together. It is at least 60 years later, and those years most definitely have taken their toll on us both, but that cherished connection was still there. I think all the kids who grew up in that neighborhood in the 50s remember it the exact same way. It was a perfect time to be a kid. I thought we ought to climb a tree, but instead we talked, and talked, and talked some more. He told my sister that I was the first girl he ever kissed. I don’t think we said goodbye 60 years ago, we were still so young. But we kissed goodby this time, that same sort of kiss as from 60 years ago. He laughed and said that now I’m the first and also the last girl he’s ever kissed. I still think that next time we meet we ought to climb a tree…4-9Nausetlight