Old Times

What is it about a wedding that puts you back in touch with friends and acquaintances that bring back memories of such a golden time in your life?

Or is it just me?

This past Saturday, I attended the wedding of my oldest friend in the world. Erin Wilkey was my first babysitter and my next door neighbor in North Hollywood from the time I was born. She’s gets a kick out of introducing me to people by telling them how she used to change my diapers when I was an infant. Since then I’ve lived in Alaksa, Nevada, California, and have met and lost touch with many people. But I’ve always managed to keep in touch with her.

I have many pictures from my early years, but not many stories to go with them. Erin has shared a few, mostly about my mother. When Erin’s long hair would get tangled (which it always was), my mom would take her to her beauty salon and have them untangle it. My mom would sneak Erin a smoke (hey, it was the 70’s… no PC comments!), or let her drive the big Lincoln Continental even though Erin was too young to get her license.

Where was I? Oh yeah… the wedding this past weekend. So even though I know Erin and Randy (her new husband) real well, I figured I wouldn’t know many other people.

Bzzzzt! Wrong.

I ran into a bunch of old friends I haven’t seen since I was eight or nine years old. Erin’s brothers, parents, and friends, all of whom knew my mom. Monyeen, Erin’s step-mother, told me about the day they moved in next door; thirty minutes later my mom showed up at their door with a pot roast. I remember spending the night at their house as a kid, just because it was fun. Or how Buddy (Erin’s father) would always pick up a package of Corn Nuts for me when he went to the corner store. He introduced me to them and I got hooked.

And the pets! They had a whole family of dark grey cats that lived on their property–I even remember their names: Morgan, Mama, and Junior. And a fantastic dog named “Bits” (or “Bitters”) who, even when he went blind later on, knew his way around so well that he never ran into the furniture.

Several people actually said that they considered me to be “family” because of my mother, and remembered me like it was only yesterday that we were all in that yellow and white house on Beeman Ave. I’ve been told (and recall, vaguely) that people loved hanging out at our house, because my mother was so much fun and always made people feel welcome.

It was more of the same from Erin’s brothers John and Chris. Boy, they’ve changed so much! And yet they haven’t changed at all. They’re both married to incredibly lovely women. John has three kids(!) and Chris has two. I also got caught up with Teresa, one of Erin’s best friends. She looks exactly the same! Just add three kids. I’ve got pictures of Teresa and Erin sitting on the diving board in our back yard in the late 70’s, bell-bottoms and all. I’m saving those for blackmail. 🙂

John told me about pranks he used to play on my father. The John I remember used to sit on the roof of their house and shoot at pidgeons with a BB gun to get them off the lawn. Or catch a bee in his hands and try to take it home, even though it would sting him every time.

I’m also getting back in touch with old high-school friends, and trying to find my recently discovered half-siblings.

Anyway, I don’t really have a point to all this. Or maybe I do. It was so great reminiscing about that “golden” period when life seemed to have some structure and safety. My whole wonderful world existed on that quadrangle between the Kirks, and Azrans, and Wilkeys… and us. I miss it.

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