Thursday, October 21, 2010

youth revisited (lyn)

Amy and I have known each other since we were six.  Her family owned The Bootery, the most popular shoe store in Brockton.  And that's saying a lot, given Brockton's reputation as the shoe capital of the world.  The Bootery was on Main Street, and it was where every girl in town bought her multiple pairs of colored Capezios.  

From a young age, Amy and I were part of the same social circle.  This included everything from dance class together to make-out parties in 7th grade to Hebrew School to Y dances.  We graduated from the same High School and even went to the same college for a couple of years.    But somewhere around 1971 we lost touch.  No falling out.  No reason that we can think of.  Just life.

Last month, when the Y reunion was being planned, we reconnected.  Amy is a published author of children’s books, and I found her through her website.  We’ve been in touch for the past six weeks or so, and had planned a get together for today. 

We meet at Bobby Van’s, a great midtown restaurant.  As soon as we see each other, the years melt away and we embrace in a warm and welcoming hug.  Our 39-year absence immediately evaporates.  Aside from having shorter hair, Amy looks the same.  She’s still a very pretty blond, whose face shows no sign of aging.  The maitre d’ is accommodating when we tell him of our reunion, and he seats us in a small room off the main dining room.  It is perfect. 

We sit down and immediate start catching up.  As good as the lobster salad sandwich is, the conversation is better.  Amy even comes armed with memorabilia. 

She has brought a printout from the Y dated Sunday, December 8, 1957.  We are listed as part of the same club (the name of the club is not readable).  Interestingly, neither Amy nor I have any recollection of knowing each other at age 6.  She also brought a program from a 1964 talent show at the Y in which we both starred, and a program from the same year of our roles in The Wizard of Oz.  Amy starred as the Tin Man, and I was both The Announcer and Glinda, the Good Witch. 

We went to Hebrew School together, along with Vivien.  I’m the smiling one with a hideous haircut and looking very unattractive, at about age 13.  Amy is the only blond (front row, second from right), and I am sure Vivien would prefer to go undiscovered:

I looked better the next year when Amy, Vivien and I graduated from Hebrew High.  We are the only three who show no glimmer of a smile.

All three of us were star students and part of a small group of scholars from West Junior High.  Vivien is in the front row, second from left, and Amy is second from right, also in the first row.

Before leaving Bobby Van’s almost three hours later and long after all the other lunch diners have gone, we ask our very nice waiter to take a picture.

Our next stop for the afternoon is touristy, and not exactly cultural, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum.  It isn’t as good as we’d hoped, but we do enjoy the illusion of having only half a body.

We feel young, and enjoy being playmates again.  We find the ancient instruments of torture gruesome, but there is something fascinating about the bearded woman, the three-legged man, and Robert Wadlow, who Amy’s son was obsessed with when he was a young boy (he’s now 30).  Robert Wadlow, was born of normal sized parents but grew to be almost 9 feet tall. 

Like most museums, we are forced to pass through the gift store on our way out.  Amy asks the very nice 20-something salesgirl if there are any T-shirts of Robert Wadlow, as she wants to buy one for her son.  The sales girl considers the request and then kindly responds, “No, I’m sorry, we don’t.  Why, did you know him?”

Did we know him?  He was born in 1918 and died in 1940.  Did we know him?  We leave the museum no longer feeling young, but still feeling great.   We are once again permanent  playmates and friends.

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