I was four years old when Erin and her family moved across the street from my family. Finally – someone else my age to play with! We terrorized her Barbie dolls, made hopscotch grids on the sidewalk and ate popsicles while we waved at the trains running on the tracks next to our houses.
I had my first sleep over at Erin’s house. Her mom took us to our first drive in to see “The Muppet Movie.” We went in our pajamas and were asleep in the back of the station wagon before the second film. Erin and I were in confirmation class together. We sat at the same lunch table in school. I played bassoon in concert band and Erin sat next to me in the bass clarinet section. We volunteered in our community as members of the Interact Club. Like my friend Stacey, Erin graduated high school a year after me and then attended the same college I did for the next four years. I stayed in the Albany area, but Erin eventually returned to our hometown where she still lives.
Erin has never needed much encouragement to join me in a fun time, and often served as the instigator of some memorable youthful moments. Some may have involved alcohol. These are not always my proudest memories, and I won’t embarrass her by sharing them here, but they do provide some fun stories we continue to laugh about.
Our college dive hangout was a bar called “Michael’s.” It was mostly accessible, only a block away from school and had a 2-for-1 ladies night on Thursdays. You could go out with $5, pay your $2.50 for 2 drinks, leave $1 for a tip and still have money for a slice of Sal’s pizza on the way home. There were lifeguard chairs on the dance floor in the back of the bar for the bouncers. Erin worked as a lifeguard and routinely attempted to dance on the chairs. I don’t recall her being successful often other than the night of her birthday.
Erin is now married with two children. Her daughter is a replica of the Erin I first knew thirty-five years ago. At a party my parents’ house last year, Erin’s daughter showed me all of the Barbie dolls she “made pretty” by altering their hair styles or coloring their skin with marker. I laughed because I could picture Erin and me doing the same thing. Others noted this too because as I helped change Barbie’s outfit, Erin’s mom made a comment about these dolls receiving the same treatment we used to dish out.
Erin – thank you for always being adventurous and willing to find fun. I appreciate the amount of laughter you have brought to my life in so many occasions over the decades. Many people wish they had friendships which endure the test of time like ours. I am fortunate to have such a gift with you and I am thankful for it. It doesn’t matter how much time passes between our visits, we truly do just pick up where we left off. I hope you realize how valuable you are to me.