We were divine. My family was on the corner in the green house. S was next door. His mom was friends with my dad. They smoked many cigarettes and talked across the fence all the time. I loved his mom, too. She was so not like my mom! I will always remember her Ticking Cat Tail clock…like the one from tv (Roseanne?…loved that show).
We LOVED the Power Rangers. I was always the yellow one.
S was my best friend. Forced, but it worked. I played on his family’s swing set naked. Our parents made us like each other. We actually did, too. So that helped. He was my first very important friend.
His brother was cool too. I didn’t have any siblings. I followed him around everywhere. And there was his dad….my dad and him liked to politick. and organize. His little brother came around the same time as my first one. We liked him. He was funny! Still is 🙂
There were others…my friend E down the street. She was a girl. We did “girl” stuff S didn’t like to do with me. There are only SO many ninja turtle themed things a kid can take, ya know? Once, S wouldn’t let me come to his sleepover party that was for boys only. So I spied on them through the basement window and wrote it all down. I loved Harriet the Spy. I showed it to E and we laughed and laughed. I began to hang with her more. S with “the guys.” They were okay….I and B, especially. I liked them, too.
But E became my main companion. We both had a crush on J, who lived behind K. L down the street was around. M and his little brothers were on the other side of S’s house. T was across the street in the pink house. B down the block with his brothers (who were friends with mine). My friend K was up the hill and now she is preggers again! Still my best friend. (and one of the “bad girls” that I had so much fun with in HS).
The two “older” couples on the corner both loved and loathed us.
We were scared of the “cigar man,” worshiped Uncle Buck (my dad), played outside all the time (power rangers), ran crazy, and even got hurt a few times. The front street hill was brutal on a bike. My dad was the clown (made S cry on halloween once) and I was the connecting piece. One day I got sick of being “so popular” and simultaneously so left out by the boy and S made me angry so I bit him. hard. drew blood.
First time I got grounded. Of a total of two times 😉
I used to hide behind the green metal box thingy in our backyard between our house and Mrs. Schwemin’s. She scared me. I believe it was some type of electic/cable box. All neighborhoods had them, then. But the green color matched our house, so I assumed it was just for me. I hid there OFTEN. It was my “runaway” spot.
My mom could see me from the kitchen window. Pretty sure Mrs. S kept her looped-in, as well.
Man, the cigar man was scary! He made S cry. (everything made S cry…I was the tough one, back then).
Our parents were so smart. And talented. And compensated! We had fun. We worked hard. S moved away when his dad got a job in NYC. We were in 2nd grade. That same year we moved to a big new house down the street. It was an end of an era-our childhood. Or the very beginning of it, anyway.
We stayed in touch. We visited. We learned how to use all the new gadgets to stay in touch.
But I was mad at him and his parents for leaving me for a very long time. I wrote about it. I formed fairy tales in my mind. About us being united again someday. And we were.
His dad moved back to Marquette recently, bringing our original crew back together in a very special way. We got a second chance at friendship and its such a blessing 🙂
And now its our turn. We still work hard, but where is the compensation? Times are so different, now. Always. But our burden is not theirs and vice versa. Yet it IS. We all need each other, but those of us in our 20s-30s deserve a turn at the table. You all taught us well.
We listened at the doors. We spied. We pretended to be like you. We talked about you. We copied you. We bragged about you.
We idolized our parents and their friends. (the “you” I refer to). And we slowly became a different version of them.
So, imagine my excitement when yesterday my dear friend started a very important conversation for our generation. We are finally the grown-ups! Even though I still feel 4, sometimes.
It is very political, so I will spare you the details. But I am so excited. It proves that you can always “go home.” Roots matter. Our past matters.
OH AND GET THIS:
S is a teacher too! How cool/crazy is that? We barely spoke from ages 8-28 and we still wound up at the same place, metaphorically. I was keeping tabs on him. Maybe he was on me. I knew he was good. I was/am proud of him and his family, still! They are very good people. They mean a great deal to a great many.
He teaches English. I, Social Studies. Together, I think our families can take on this new “cause” and “carry the torch,” so to speak. I know our parents can relate.
But there are differences, too:
It is 2016, not 1996. No more yuppies. I don’t know what this new breed is, yet. No more Bohemians (we all really liked the RENT soundtrack). Gen Xers are grown-ups that can buy things and own things. Millenials are in college. We are the “in-betweeners.”
No more Clintons (one can hope…kidding, but seriously…they need to go on vacation).
What we DO have: debt. mostly student. bad credit. low income. no government benefits. addictions to prescription drugs. complexes. overthinking/analyzing tendencies and neuroses. LOTS OF FEELINGS. some knowledge of technology but the growing desire to chuck it all!
We feel hopeless, still. What happened 2008? You were supposed to give us HOPE we could HOLD ONTO. I get that stuff happens, but sheesh. I feel like my life has been one long string of hard work and much deserved good career moves tarnished by a perpetual 2 steps forward, 1 back cycle. It is systemic. It’s not me.
(Partially it is, maybe. I struggle. We all do.)
IT IS SO FRUSTRATING.
But S held a mirror up yesterday for us all. What are we gonna do about it?
I suspect lots. HOPE it works!
Live long and prosper, friends. As always, peace, love, and yooper hugs.
Stay kind. Stay good. and remember, WHATEVER/WHOEVER YOU ARE, do YOURSELF justice. BE A GOOD ONE! Be the best version you can possibly be. everyday. Even when you suck at life, suck at it well.
Hint: you gotta FEEL it. Life is it. All we have. All of us.