In walking around Lincoln Park, sometimes I’ll venture down streets where school chums lived years ago and it gets me wondering where they are now? It’s not hard to remember where my buddies lived as I may have walked to or from school with them, or more than likely rode my bike over to their house. Sometimes I will stroll past the former homes of family friends, every one of whom have sadly passed away. While walking this morning, I saw an ad for a garage sale tacked onto a pole. Somehow that address seemed familiar to me, and it was on the way home, so I decided to meander by. Sure enough it was the former home of my good friend and high school pal Rosemary. There were many people parked nearby and also milling about in the driveway looking for bargains, so I went over to mingle with the crowd.
I haven’t been to this house in over four decades, but during the last few years of high school, our group of six school chums, spent more waking hours at this address, than at our respective abodes. I glanced surreptitiously toward the back yard. There was the sidewalk where we probably stretched out and laid in the sun, scorching ourselves to get a hint of tan. How different the yard looked now, with an above-ground pool and an entirely different landscape theme. I moved closer to the garage and ample driveway, remembering where the old turquoise Galaxy, our primary means of transportation, was kept all those years ago. I looked at the display of bargains, pausing to pick up a few items to feign interest in the sale, then I eventually left. As I walked down the driveway, I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder at the beautiful bay window out front – another new addition. If I were to close my eyes, I could picture all us girls lined up on the two white velvet sectional sofas near the picture window, incessantly yakking, as teenage girls do, and sharing a large box of chocolate-covered cherries between us. Rose remarked that we were like princesses sitting on a velvet tufted throne eating bon bons, and that image made us all erupt into laughter – just a fit of hysterical giggles. Somehow the box of syrupy, gooey chocolates teetered and got turned upside down onto the white upholstered pillows. Cherry syrup oozed out slowly from a crushed chocolate. Oops!! Well Rose leapt up to grab a roll of paper towels to blot the growing blob. Of course Rose’s younger sister, the perpetual brat, heard the commotion and rather than collaborating with us to get the stain out pronto, promptly announced “I’m telling Mom and Dad when they get home” … well thanks alot Kathy.
So much time was spent at this home with my girlfriends … we were inseparable the last two years of high school. Countless hours were spent clustered in Rose’s bedroom, sitting cross-legged on the floor, under the large Burt Reynolds centerfold with the strategically placed arm ripped out of Cosmopolitan, and talking about our hopes and dreams for our respective futures and of course gossiping about our peers. Oh, to be that young again, full of expectation for wherever life’s path would take us. We girls had a brief reunion, just the six of us, in 1978 and we learned Rose and Kathy’s parents divorced shortly after Kathy moved out of the house and the home was sold.
I’ve touched on my relationship with this group of girls before in an earlier post: Rosemary, Diane, Sheila and three of us were named Linda. I’ve also written before that we soon lost contact with one another, within months of graduation from high school. There were only six of us, but we went in different directions – geographically or otherwise. Unlike young people today who keep abreast of one another’s adventures and day-to-day mundane activities via social media, in the early 70s, the only way to keep in contact was picking up the telephone or a face-to-face visit. No Facebook status posts, no Twitter or Instant Messenger or texting – not even the old Myspace. Of course, there was no e-mail forty years ago and cell phones were non-existent … in our circle, anyway. How easy it is now to multi-task, or chat on the cell phone while doing something else. But not in ‘73. Then we quit getting together – how sad. Rose met a guy, got pregnant and then soon married and moved to Plymouth. Diane moved out of the house to parts unknown. One Linda moved up North. The remaining “Lindas” worked and started school at local colleges, and Sheila, or “Sam” as we often called her, left for Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan to begin the pharmacy program. She always called me “Little Sister” since I was the youngest of the bunch, barely seventeen when we graduated high school. Sheila was homesick for friends and family, and in the beginning her parents gave her extra money to permit her to call one of us every weeknight until she got settled in and adjusted to being away from home. My phone call night was Tuesday. I was a little peeved at that time since Tuesday was the night I watched “Happy Days” and this was before VCRs were available to record a program to view it later. Peeved – well, really, Linda. You pitted a television program against a friend reaching out to you? Eventually Sheila made new friends and quit calling. In retrospect, today I could probably catch up on those missed episodes on Nickelodeon, but I can never again hook up with Sheila Howard as she passed away of ovarian cancer nearly five years ago according to a friend of the family that I ran into at the mall. Too late smart would be the morale of that story.
Here is a nice quote about life that I send out to Sheila – may you rest in peace. ~~ Your Little Sister
“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”