Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Memory Lane

It’s always great to go back to a place where you spent a lot of time as a child. Being an Air Force brat, I don’t often have the chance to do that since I moved to this area at 15. All my memories of this place are teenage-hood and beyond. I had the opportunity this past weekend to spend some time with a very dear friend and her family in the town that I lived in for about five years.

Since my friend’s surprise birthday party was ruined by her husband (do ALL men have big mouths?!), I worked with her mother and flew in to surprise her. I spent much of last week sending Shannon whiny emails about how sad I was to miss her party. I flew out on Friday and her mom picked me up from the airport. I’m still so tempted to call her Mrs. C when I see her. It’s work to remember to call her by her first name. We ran a few party errands, then she drove me by my old house. It doesn’t look warm and inviting like it used to… it looks old and unloved, so that was disappointing. But going back to Shannon’s parents house is always fun for me. I look around at all the changes they’ve made, the orange countertops are gone, the multi-colored shag carpet is gone, the little gold tree with dangly leaves is gone from the top of the piano. The house looks fabulous, up-to-date, but it still felt like the same place I remember from decades ago. I complemented her profusely on her beautiful home, but couldn’t stop myself from asking where that little gold tree had gone. Colleen put her hands on her hips, cocked her eyebrow and said, “I think I sold that thing at a yard sale!” Of course I have no use for a gold tree with dangly leaves, but if I ever saw one, I would buy it and put it in my house just because it’s a great childhood memory. I can remember looking at that tree thinking, “They’re rich!! They have a tree made of GOLD!!!”  

The party was in a private room of a local bar. The room looked fantastic and there wasn’t much to do but wait. I had a blast with Shannon’s parents and the waitstaff, talking about my connection to the party, etc. We talked about how Shannon’s parents used to both smoke unfiltered Lucky Strikes, so I told them, “You can rest assured we never stole your cigarettes.” Her dad looked at me real close and said, “How about the liquor cabinet?” Oh shit, um… did your Peach Schnapps ever taste watered down!?

Shannon arrived at the party and seemed truly stunned to see me. I am glad she didn’t cry, I would have been in trouble all night for ruining her make-up. I knew many of the other guests, so I had a great night catching up with people that I really enjoy. The party turned into a “Dueling Piano” show and everyone had a blast. The crowd requests songs and everyone sings along. Much fun to be had, much alcohol consumed (ouch!).

I got to spend the rest of the weekend getting to know Shannon’s kids. I hadn’t seen her son since he was seven. He’s now 14 and about 6’2, what a nice guy he’s grown up to be. She also has two daughters, one of whom is my goddaughter. I love her girls madly and it was great to see that ALL sisters fight the same way Sugar and Spice do. I hope to see those little girls again soon, before they’re too cool to hang with their mother’s old friend.

We spent a little time shopping. We got to eat Godfather’s Pizza, which was just as good as I remember it and we even had a six-pack of Coke in glass bottles. It was all the things I remember about hanging with my old pal. Except we didn’t set up elaborate Barbie houses, or read teen romance novels until 3 am… It was a wonderful weekend and I’m so glad I worked double time last week to be able to take time off from work and school to have this weekend with Shannon. I only lived near her for five years and I moved away well over 20 years ago. It’s amazing that we’ve kept in touch all these years and I still consider her one of the greatest people I know.

Ice Princess 

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