I've told you a tad about the Bachmans
. I shared the Summer
with you. I wrote a three-page essay about my father's death
from my point of view - a page a year as it turned out. So, for a little greater context, a bit more of my growing-up years.
I met B when i was four, as told before. We recently reconnected thanks to Facebook
. Through B, i've also reconnected with N, M, L, E, K, H, R, and others. Once i started school, i met M and L, who are twins. As the years progressed, the three of them remained core to my life, socially and emotionally. I met K in Elementary school, when her mother arrived at our school to replace my teacher, who was leaving for an other position with the county schools. K, her sisters, and mother, have been important to me through many years now. E, with whom i had a lengthy IM chat the other night, commented that she remembers almost endless walking in our teenage years.
I have a long history of walking - through the woods, along creeks, to the local mall, three miles each way to work, Dupont Circle, DC to Lee Heights, Arlington, twenty miles through the mountains, and more. In the Summers of Middle School and High School, back when we had no jobs, commitments and what, i'd walk down the hill, up the hill, around the corner down the hill, up the hill, around the corner up the hill, around the corner down the hill, around the corner down the hill to E's house. We'd mix tonic and sugar and flavourings to make sodas, after i quaffed ample water - it's hot and humid here in the Summertime.
Once i'd cooled down, E and I would set off up and down the hills, to the trail off of Birchdale Ave, along the edge of the two houses that aren't like, and predate, the others, over to a branch of Neabsco Creek, where we'd shimmy across a sewer pipe to Anderson Ct, where we'd meet R and H and A and others. We usually met at R's place, cause she had to watch her younger brother S til her mom got home. That, and the Mall did not open until we were 15, so aside from the Giant at Ashdale, there wasn't much of anywhere to go to.
We'd lounge in R's living room, listening to music. If S was up for it, we'd go for a walk; he was young enough, we couldn't just leave him for hours without someone to come to if needed. We'd talk, and listen to music. We'd make a simple lunch - sandwiches or deviled eggs or what. And R's mom would come home to her usual 'living room draped with teenagers' as she'd say as she came in each day.
For variety, we'd lounge at H's or A's house up the block instead. Mostly, it was R's house though. As the years went by, we, well they, started dating. Still we hung out. Then M, L, and i got jobs in the months after Potomac Mills opened. Still we hung out, walking, always walking. There's even sidewalks today on most of the way we walked in the dirt along the road back then.
Growing up in Dale City was a great thing. We made what have turned out to be life-long friendships, though we may go years without talking. We've been together through deaths, marriages, abortions, graduations, divorces, and more. Now many of them have children, and those children that i've met are a joy to be around. One of the best things about growing up in that when and where was the fact that no matter whose house we were at, the rules and expectations were the same. At age 13, our parents ranged in age from 29 to 57, and were of various ethnicities but, the expected behaviour was identical at every house.
That made growing up easier. Constancy helps, as many of you can attest. The colorblindness we grew up with made for some hard lessons for many of us as we got out in the real world and other regions of the country. At the same time, we know that the world we are raising our children in is, on that count, a better world that that in which we grew up. And that, on that count, the world that we grew up in was pretty darn good, not least for that then.
So, having reconnected with childhood friends, who now live here, Chicago, South Carolina, Baltimore, and other places, i find myself joyed and overwhelmed. Yet, i'm not nostalgic. Then was then, and it was good, in spite of everything. Now is now, and through our shared past, our yet-similar todays, we shall forge new relationships similar, yet entirely unlike what was before. For though the past is a base, life, relationships, and the world are not static, and there be only to move forward.
At age 29, i was truly grateful to have in my life people i'd know for a quarter century, knowing that there were people twice my age who could not say that. I pass no judgment at all on those whose relations are of shorter duration. I simply feel truly blessed with the lengths of my relationships, and the opportunity now to renew some that had lapsed for longer than is ideal.