Are you Still friends with any of your friends from high school? How have they changed?
My friendship with Adeline, Margo and Cookie goes back to elementary school days in the 1950’s.
We all attended Warren Elementary School in Chicago. I remember looking out my door and seeing Adeline being dragged along by her Italian parents to school. She had a great love for stars like Pat Boone and Elvis Presley. Adeline openly shared her opinions on every topic under the sun, and she still does today. I would walk over to her house to study geometry after school. The house was filled with the sound of opera and the aroma of some wonderful dish. Realizing I ate bland food at home, Adeline’s mother would save me a tasty dish of Mostaccioli or Lasagna, etc. I often wished I was born in Italy, too. Adeline was a strikingly beautiful woman who was part of the homecoming court as a freshman in high school. Her parents were very strict and would not allow her to date. She never married and took care of her parents until their death. But she had a wonderful career as a business teacher at Robert Morris College, took many trips to Italy and was a wonderful aunt to her extended family.
Margo moved to Chicago from West Virginia. She lived a block away from me in a town house where her divorced parents lived one upstairs and the other downstairs. Margo had blond hair and dark skin. At the beach, she would get so dark that it was said, “If you get any darker, you’ll need police protection.” So sad to say, but racial profiling was big in the 60’s. After school, we would walk over to her dad’s auto repair shop and have a coke while we waited for her dad to drive us home. Being part of a bowling league, we often walked a block from the auto shop to see how many strikes and gutters we could get.
Cookie or Karlene had a warm and pleasant personality. She would ask very personal questions and would listen attentively. Her mother had a salon in her basement where we often played. Cookie and her mother would get into fights and sometimes a brush would go flying in the air. She smoked at an early age and would pretend she was a movie star like Irma la Deuce showing off her fancy cigarette holder. She was a very good student and much more outgoing and daring than I was. But she was conscious of her weight and had a friend pretend to be her on the phone. The friend asked a boy if he would go to the prom with her. He said, “Yes”, to the impersonator pretending to be her. We laughed until our ribs ached about that ruse. Humor was a big part of our lives. Our job was to gather lots of jokes during the morning to share at lunch time. We would laugh so hard the milk would come out of our noses.
Communication had been off and on throughout the years, while all three of us had full time jobs, children and now grandchildren. But now that we are all retired, we are reconnecting again. What’s great about having a long-term friendship is that we can once again share stories from our past and get each other’s different perspectives. Although we are now 75 years old, we can still enjoy prosperous lives. I think of the song, “Sunrise, Sunset, swiftly flies the years, one season following another, laden with happiness and tears.” We have been there for both.