Here's another one ....
There was a friendship that went back to grade school. Don, or Donnie, as we knew him in the 4th and 5th grade, was one of my playmates back then. There were four of us that were nearly inseparable during those years. Donnie and I were a year older than Judy and George. We all lived within a block of each other. We played together on a daily basis, at one of our houses or the two vacant lots that held much kid fun.
Our play was pretty egalitarian. We all played war in one of the vacant lots, digging foxholes and setting up camouflage with branches and boards. Then we would move to the other vacant lot and play Tarzan on the long rope my daddy gave us to tie to the long branches of the enormous cottonwood tree. I wonder if Donnie remembers the day I nearly fell about 20 feet from that long old limb as I shinnied out on it to tie that rope. I should ask him.
Anyway, the next game would be having a tea party in Judy's back yard. We had a shady spot under one of the many huge snowball bushes where we set up our playhouse. Yes, the boys had tea parties with us. That was the rule of equality back then! Trading an hour of cowboys and indians for an hour of teacups and sipping air or sometimes water was simply how it was. I think we even coerced them into playing dress up! The boys were good sports about it!
Once I got a pogo stick and one of the others had one, too. I think it was Judy, but I don't remember for sure. The four of us shared those, bouncing for hours on them! I often bounced from my house, down a short and steep driveway about a block to Judy's house, played a while then bounced my way home again, up that driveway. Another toy we shared was something for which I have no name. If you're, ahem, as old as me, you might remember what I'll call "spring shoes." Two flat metal plates were connected to two heavy-duty metal springs between them. One plate had rubber treads on it to avoid slipping on the sidewalk, while the other had straps, much like old fashioned roller skates, that you strapped to your feet. Once they were secure, you could bounce around on them, much like on the pogo stick.
We had a lot of fun. Those were simple times. We were simple in our friendships.
After a while, probably when Donnie and I moved on to junior high school, Judy and George disappeared from our lives. I don't remember them leaving, so I assume we just grew apart. By this time, Donnie and I were growing apart, too. I moved to a different neighborhood, perhaps he did, too. And of course, it was sometimes awkward to be friends with kids you'd had as playmates when you were younger. I donno. I think we were still friends, but just distant.
By high school, Donnie and I saw each other just around school. We were in completely different crowds, although I dated a friend of his for a while. Some of the sweetness of our childhood bond remained throughout all these years, and there was a tenderness in my heart for him. A couple times I called on him to help me sort out a problem, to make sense of a boy-problem, but other than that, we were in different worlds. What was nice, though, was in spite of the seeming distance between us, Donnie was there for me, had my back, more than once.
Then we graduated. I had no idea about where he was or what had become of his life. I didn't hold much hope, because he was hanging out with some rather rough guys near the end. When I married my second husband, we discovered that Donnie figured into one of those "six degrees of separation" things. One of Donnie's high school girl friends was my husband's previous wife. We were amazed at how that could have happened, as my hub and I grew up at opposite ends of the state.
Then at one of the reunions, 30th or 40th I think, I saw Donnie. Excuse me, Don. He had grown up, straightened up, gone to college and is now an engineer, electrical, I believe. He is married to a sweetheart of a woman, and happy as can be. I love that. We've enjoyed visiting at several reunions now, and it is interesting to me how gentle our friendship is, even now. His wife "gets it." She doesn't worry in that crazy insane way that some do. Indeed, she doesn't need to. But I've had other guy friends who were nothing more than buddies, yet their wives have been less than friendly. This dear lady has welcomed me into their lives, and even drove about 50 miles to visit me when I was in Oklahoma. Don was out of town on business, but she came to visit at another friend's house.
This is what I love most about reunions.... keeping in touch with old friends and making new ones. Sharing the memories that are special for us, often just between two people, but binding in so many ways is so important. It is so grounding to have those common bonds, anchored 50 or 60 years ago.
I'm so happy to have Don and Charlene in my life.