Going back in time, we had a visit from an old friend of mine the week of L.L.’s birthday. It was an outstanding surprise to be able to see them and get our kids together. We always have a great time, but it’s even more fun to watch your kid play with your own childhood friend’s kids.
When I was in the sixth grade I met, Dale. He was my ‘boyfriend’ for about 2 seconds. Where we even went to the sixth grade dance together. Somehow my Mom ended up a chaperone to witnessed the whole debacle. For who knows what reason, I ended up in the bathroom, crying, almost the entire time. Makes me laugh now, but I’m sure it was the end of the world at the time. Plus, it’s a story that my Mom loves to retell, often.
So, that was the beginning of our friendship. You wouldn’t think that it would last the next 26 years. Yes, I said 26 YEARS! I still consider him to be one of my closest friends, even though we don’t talk all the time. Nor do we see one another that often. Which will happen when you live on opposite ends of the country. Whenever we do get on the phone or see one another, it doesn’t feel like anytime has passed. From what I can tell, that is the groundwork for a very good friendship.
Besides my fond memories of sledding in our backyards (he had what you would now consider an epic hill in his backyard), we were both in choir, took part in the school musicals, and he was my trusty driver to and from school. Of course, there is so much more to add to that list, but the one thing that has lasted the longest is our obsession for music.
He introduced me to Guns ‘N Roses via dubbed cassette in the 7th grade, I tried to get him into Def Leppard, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t work. We both had an affinity for The Beastie Boys & Lenny Kravitz in high school (there are many more, but these two are examples I cannot listen to without thinking of those days driving in the old BMW his Dad gave him). During that time he, also, introduced me to Henry Rollins (I took to his spoken word the most), while I tried to get him into Alice in Chains and Blind Melon. That last one was the only one he took to, but he resisted until we were in college. He’s still hooked.
Since then he has provided some gems like my most favorite for the last, say 10ish years, Lucero! Along with Neutral Milk Hotel…the list goes on and on. We used to have long conversations about music and long listening sessions when I would go home to visit. Things didn’t really change much through all those years. When I got that first dubbed tape home, I laid on the floor listening to (every lyric), years later we were listening to cd’s on the floor of the first house he bought and the last time we listened in the basement of his current home.
What exceptional memories.
Of course, now we are both married and parents, ourselves. We are lucky enough to like each other’s spouses and still have a genuine connection. Not to mention, I love his sister and are “friends” with both of his parents on The Facebook (as Dale likes to refer to it). I know I realized it a long time ago, but it wasn’t so apparent (nor was our grown up status) until I saw L.L. running around playing with his boys. Before this visit I had only met his first born, since then he has added a set of twins! I couldn’t get them straight, for the life of me, until I met them. Now I couldn’t forget. Plus, L.L. loves those boys as much as she does her own cousins. She even held hands with one of them, I thought Dale and I were going to keel over from the cuteness. I know my heart could have burst when I saw the whole thing go down. Can’t wait to tell that story over and over, like the middle school dance one.
With that, let me show you the photos:
There you have it! I’m fortunate, I know, and I had to share. This was just a regular visit with an old friend, but once I started writing this I realized it was a bit more than that, to me. Family is important and so are friends, but friends that are like family need to be recognized as such, every now and then.