Today we had a busy day. Mom and I went for our last Boscov’s visit for this week and then dropped the Mustang off at the VFW club for Bob. He comes home today from his weeklong fishing trip but Mom and I have plans for later today and he’ll need a ride home. When I called him to let him know the car was there and where I put the keys I was surprised to find out that he was inside the club already. They were waiting on the fellows with the coolers filled with fish to arrive. They had a great week fishing. All the coolers are filled to the brim with salmon, brown trout, lake trout and who knows what else.
He did arrive at Mom’s not too much later and we invited him to join in with our plans but he declined because he was tired and felt a cold coming on. It was just as well because he would have been kind of lost with nothing to add to the conversation that would be taking place.
Today is the day that we, Mom and I, are having dinner with our old neighbor Marie and her daughter Cathy. Cathy and I stay in touch and thought it would be a fun evening to get together with our mothers.
The plan was in place that we would meet at Madeline’s Italian Restaurant near where Marie lives. The plan was to meet at six and even though we got there a few minutes early they were already there.
Hugs and how are you’s and you look great’s out of the way we settled in for a full fledged memory fest. Not only did the Gregory’s and us live a yard apart in Delaware, we lived a couple of streets apart during summer weekends at Crystal Beach Manor in Maryland. Lots of history between these two families, that’s for sure.
Drink orders taken, we started right in with bringing everyone up to date on what we knew about long ago neighbors and what each of the neighborhood kids are doing today. There were seventeen of us just on our block and that isn’t counting the ones we played with from the next block over.
Our waitress came to the table a couple of times to take our order but we hadn’t stopped talking long enough to even look at the menu’s. We finally, much to her relief, gave a quick peek and decided in no time flat what we all wanted.
Waiting for our dinners to arrive, Cathy excused herself and said she forgot something in the car. She returned minutes later with a brightly colored gift bag in her hand. We had both just celebrated birthdays the weekend before and my first thought was, “Oh no, a birthday gift and I didn’t get anything for her.” It turns out it wasn’t a birthday gift at all but a “memory bag”. She filled it with things to remind me of our childhood together.
It all came rushing back, the hours we spent playing jacks and Pickup Sticks, the yards and yards of that white paper with the candy buttons stuck to them that we ate, the dozens and dozens of Teaberry (remember the Teaberry shuffle?) and Black Jack gum we chewed. The one thing that brought back the most fun memories was the bag of licorice. Cathy and I would go ask for a dime from our mom’s and then we collected bottles (this was before aluminum cans, all soda came in bottles) to return so that we had thirty cents. Once we had the amount we needed we would march off to the store and buy a bag of Letty Lane black licorice and then run and climb the tree on the corner and devour the entire bag. This was a once a week, at least, occurrence. I can’t remember how many times Cathy’s brothers and other kids in the neighborhood walked under that tree while we were up there eating candy to our heart’s content. Oh. the memories.
We ate but I really don’t think any of us really tasted what we were served. It was like, take a bite, hurry up and chew because you had something to add to the lively conversation going on. I do think the other diners looked at our table with envy because we were either smiling or laughing out loud the whole time.
What a great time we had playing remember when. Cathy and I were very lucky that we grew up in the neighborhood that we did. Times were good, very good. We lived in a neighborhood where the mom’s played hide and seek with us or turned the jump rope for hours on end. Jars were readily supplied for the lightning bugs we caught and pizza parties on summer afternoons were the norm. Oh, the memories.
As it is with all good times our dinner had come to an end. I think the tables had turned twice by the time we got up. Of course once we got outside the goodbyes took quite awhile. The hugs, the we have to do this again’s and the so longs went on and on. We didn’t want to leave!
As soon as I got in the car I realized that I didn’t bring my camera, there was no picture to preserve this time, I was so mad at myself.
We were about six blocks from the restaurant when my cell phone rang. It was Cathy asking where we were, When I told her on Union Street she yelled pull over, we’ll be right there! I told Mom to pull over and we waited for about two minutes and Cathy and Marie pulled up behind us. They got out of the car laughing and we joined them on the sidewalk.
Cathy said, “We have to take a picture!” She whipped out her phone and we gathered on the sidewalk for a picture to remember this time together.
(Mom, Marie, Cathy and me)
Once again, we went through the so longs. What a great time this was! We were all so glad we did this.
Oh, the memories.