Friday, April 11, 2014

Forever Friends

The last thing I expected was to hear from Pami...after 54 years.

Especially the way things left off with us.

I mean, how was I to know those were her roller skates?

Who can tell whose roller skates are whose...especially when you're only five years old?

You’d think a person would've let it go after more than 5 decades. And now here she was, from out of the blue, contacting me on Facebook...and all I can think about is...she’s gonna bring up the roller skate thing...I know it! long as she doesn’t mention the meat grinder incident...or the squirrels....
But that was more her sister Wendi’s thing…the meat grinder.
Don’t ask me…I haven’t a clue.  I just know I had a thing for the crazy ladies, back then…and to be honest, I don’t mind saying…I think they had a thing for me, too.  
It might have been the bow tie…or maybe the uniform.....
Anyway, due to the peril of Facebook, my past has been more than catching up to me these last 6 months.

I wrote about running into some of my long ago, fellow grammar school inmat—er, I mean classmates—recently, and how surprised I was to discover how much fun it was to see them.

And, believe it or not, we’re still keeping in touch…mostly so I can finish apologizing to everyone…you know, for the autograph book thing.

But hearing from Pami, like that, right out of nowhere…well, that was really a jolt back to the past…like 1959-60 past.

Think about it…Eisenhower was still president…the Beatles weren’t even named…and I had no clue how to read, let alone write….

Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know…I’m still working on the second part…I get it…ha ha ha….

Anyway, we'd just moved into the neighborhood in the late summer of 59 and a group of four young ladies, aged 7-12, lived directly across the street…and one house down, if you’re going to insist on being a stickler for details.

My house, back left
From left to right, they were Wendi, Donni, Cheri and Pami.

You think someone had a thing for “I” names? 

Adorable, right?

And I suppose it was, and I suppose they were, although being all of five and adorable in my own right, it was hard to see anything beyond my own golden glow…even then.
Since Pami and Wendi were the closest in age to me and my older sister, they were the ones who ventured over to our newly acquired suburban lawn, where I was practicing my patented snowless snow angel performance art, and asked if I would like to come down from my cloud and come over and play.


Someone was asking me to come over and play?

I wasn’t used to being asked to play, by anyone, because, up to then, most kids my age tended to shy away from other kids who were fixated on angelic designs, with or without snow.

Not sure why?
Anyway, I did and discovered that where Pami, being the youngest—although older than me by more than two years (details)—was shy and quiet, Wendi—(older, still)—was not.
Where Pami would indicate through hand gestures and notes, why don’t we roller skate in the driveway…Wendi would strap a pair of roller skates over my Keds and shout, “Let’s tie one leg behind our backs and see how far we can roll down the hill before we run into a car!” 
While Pami would offer up her Play-doh as a suitable rainy day activity, Wendi would place an unidentifiable purple substance in my hand and say, “Here, I made this for you…but you probably shouldn’t eat it…that is unless you really want to…”
And where Pami, taught me how to use my imagination to transform into Robin Hood, fighting off the Sheriff of Nottingham, to entertain myself while the rest of them were in school all day…Wendi would tell me to watch out for Mr. Fang, who lived up in their attic and peered out through the window all day, looking for little kids to eat.

So on it went for a fall, winter, spring and summer of leaf pile diving, snowman building, four leaf clover hunting, firefly catching, Good Humor ice cream eating and of course, the aforementioned  roller skating.
A lifetime of memories, squeezed into a single year that seemed, looking back, at least to be five.
At the end of that long ago summer, on a storm swept, windy day in early September, Pami, Wendi and the rest of their family packed up and moved north, into central Connecticut, which while less than an hour away, might just as well have been the moon, as far as a 6 year old boy was concerned. And while it would be very dramatic for me to sit here and write that as the car pulled away, we shouted to each other through the howling wind, “Forever friends”…we didn’t… but I would like to think we didn’t have to.
I never saw, heard or spoke to any of them again, after that. New friends replace old friends as kids let go and move on, something, I guess, that served us well, in those days. But, since my mom still lives in the same neighborhood in the same house, as we did back then, I’ve thought of them from time to time, through the years, if only in a disconnected flash of memory triggered by the sight of Mr. Fang, still lurking in the attic window...still Pami and Wendi’s attic window, somewhere in a roped off corner of my mind.

And so it was, until once quiet, shy outgoing, funny, adventurous Pam...spied a couple of my silly stories on-line and wondered…then sent me a Facebook message.

My phone beeped as the name “Pam” scrolled across the top of the display…and somehow, I immediately knew, across five decades and a couple of generations, I knew exactly who it was.

The message began… “This wouldn’t happen to be the same Brian Moloney who lived on…”

I responded, It happens to be one and the same. Hi, Pam, I remember you…!”

And suddenly that windy September day of then, connected to the windy March day of now…and Pam and I discovered it was true…we had never stopped being friends.

The next few weeks were spent exchanging sporadic messages and e-mails, filling in the past; the happy, the sad, the good and the bad, the exciting and the dull… the details of life, unwound through the years.

Pami and Wendi along with their sis’s are all moms and grandmoms, now; although how that’s possible for people as young as we, is beyond me.

Wendi, alone, has something like a thousand kids and grandkids, and I believe they all live with her in a shoe, somewhere…meat grinders optional.

The funny thing is, despite the years, the memories are all so clear, and the connections all so solid.

Kind of hard to understand.

Yet, I think the fact that we left off so young, without witnessing each other’s evolution into adulthood, and all the ups and downs that entails, has forever frozen us in our minds as the kids we were back then, reconnecting now, still within the innocence of single digits. It was a time when all we knew was “happy” before the world turned “real” and who wouldn’t want to hold on to that for a lifetime?

Wild Heart Glass Design

Little by little, Pam and I continue to fill in the gaps and more and more just talk about “now”.  She has a small, but growing, on-line stained glass & crafts business—you know, retro Hippie stuff— called Wild Heart Glass Design” which you can check out here and “Like” her WHGD Facebook page,here. 

Wild Heart Glass Design

I haven't finagled any freebies yet...but I thought if I posted these pics she might at least go for free shipping... or she might be embarrassed, get annoyed and decide to disappear for another 50 years.

It's a toss up....

But who would have thought it…you know?

The wonders of the modern age—connecting the wonders of the golden age.

After all this time…all these years, still friends….

Forever friends…..

Misplaced roller skates or no....



Don't bring it up.....


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  1. Okay, Brian, nice way to get some free stuff...or free shipping! Who would think after all these years we'd still remain friends and you're right we did so much in that one small year that it seemed like we knew each other for a lot longer. I think we did everything but rob a bank, you know Robin Hood style, of course. It's great to catch up on old times and the many good memories we shared. Oh and thanks for promoting my stained glass - let's see how much influence you have over YOUR friends. :) Only kidding! Later forever friend.....

    1. If only you were this witty back then, we could have taken the show on the road...or just robbed the or the other...

  2. I loved this joyful memoir and the accompanying pictures as well.

    1. Thanks, Joan. We need to get you up on Facebook too...although knowing you, you probably already are under an assumed name...or maybe you're real name... hmmmmm

    2. I was on Facebook, but I opted out when I didn't like the friends of the friends. Also my grandsons talk about video games all the time, and it's a whole different language! Maybe I'll give it a try soon, and "like" the Retorts!

    3. Please, do! I still need two more "Likes" to get to 100!


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