Sunday, May 24, 2009

Old Friends

Today's Kevin's birthday. We've been friends for nearly 40 years. His parents were my "faux parents" at graduation. My favorite picture of that day is all of us sitting on and around his (very impressive) father's lap on the steps of the Mies van der Rohe building with the big glass windows and the broad concrete steps. We've lived through girlfriends from Minot and his exile to St. Louis and his absolute refusal to pay for parking (even in Chicago - in the winter - when the movie was about to start). I can't watch The Big Chill without remembering his mother's comment as our crowd left the theatre (of course she came - she was a part us, wasn't she?!) - "Why don't they just grow up?!?" And we laughed, because we knew, even if she didn't, that we were them and we weren't ready to be grown up. Not quite yet.

Board games and old movies at The Biograph and basketball on the hoop over the door between the kitchen and the living room gave way to Easter Egg hunts with blown eggs decorated with lace and hand paintings as we became parents, but the sense of ourselves as graduate students just on the cusp of life was always there.

There've been sorrows and tragedies and funerals along the way, too. After all, life goes on. But there has also been the constancy of a friendship forged on the edge of adulthood that has continued through middle age (when did that happen to us???) and into our dotage. I have no doubt about it.

I've moved around a lot in my life, but that old Girl Scout song still rings true : "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other -- GOLD".

"Squirrels..... 2 men... sitting on a bench..." with apologies to David Mamet, but this is how we remember it.

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