Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Old Friends Reunite

Larry, Stuart and Ron October 1957 - check out the hair!

Larry, Stuart and Ron July 10, 2011

This past Sunday my longtime friend Larry and I reunited with the third member of our old grade school and high school friend Stuart.  Stuart lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida these days.  Larry lives in the northern part of Delaware, which is about an hour and a half from me.

Me standing behind Stuart for our official 3rd grade picture - 1950
I'm the one with the mop of hair standing next to the pigtailed girl whose name I remember to this day - Margaret West.  The boy standing next to Stuart is Donald Murphy and the head of the boy standing down front is Francis Trego.  I can't remember what I did yesterday but I remember these names!

During the Fifties Stuart, Larry and I were best friends.  We definitely were not part of the "In Group" of our high school.  We were on the outer fringes but we did find one another and had a wonderful friendship.  Stuart was the only Jewish student in our class.  Larry was (and is) a quiet, shy only child.  And you all know about me if you are a regular reader of this blog.  I was the only homosexual ("gay" back in those days - The Fifties - meant that you were happy and carefree) IN THE WORLD back in those days.  Of course I was in the closet.  I didn't even come out to my friends.  Somehow we all seem to coalesce into the same orbit.

Larry 1950

Ron 1950

Me (in back to the left), Larry (in back to the right) and Stuart (in front to the right) in a class play about scarecrows 1953 - I don't remember the play but I do remember the smell of the greasepaint!
Of course after we finished high school we all went in our separate directions.  Stuart went on to college.  I joined the Army.  Larry got married.

Over the years we lost touch.  Once I ran into Larry on Spruce Street in Philadelphia.  Another time Stuart briefly worked at the same bank I worked at in Philadelphia.  However, we were all consumed with our lives and only had these brief encounters.

The three of us goofing around one summer 1957

Stuart and Larry 1957 - baseball fanatics

Fast forward forty some years.  In 2001, a few months after 9/11, I received a Thanksgiving card from Larry's Mother.  She suggested that I give Larry a call.  Larry has recently lost his banking job (one day before 9/11 of all dates) and she thought I could life his spirits.  A few years before I had lost my banking job.  I knew how to survive.  I called Larry and thus began the renewal of our friendship.  It was like we had never left off, except for the forty year gap.

Larry gets married 1960-still married!
Larry and me during my Army days 1962
A few years ago Stuart would call us on the phone from his home in Ft. Lauderdale.  We started exchanged birthday greetings and sometimes just called to talk.

Me and Larry with our third grade teacher Miss Elizabeth Ezrah 2003

Recently Stuart lost two close friends.  He decided that he wanted to see us in person.  His wonderful daughter Leslie knew of our situation.  She got the ball rolling and suggested that we all meet in the Philadelphia area when Stuart was visiting relatives in New York City.

Larry and me a June 21, 2011 at the Purple Parrot Rehoboth Beach, DE - the friendship continues!
We had that meeting this past Sunday.  It was wonderful!  We met at a deli in Broomall, PA that is owned by one of Stuart's relative.

Me and Larry at the Deli in Broomall, PA July 10, 2011

This is the video of that reunion.  It's a little long so maybe you want to deactivate the music function on this blog.  Just go to the button and press it once with your mouse.  Now if you have about 15 minutes, enjoy this wonderful video my friend Larry (who is giving Steven Speilberbg some serious competition) put together.  This is what life is all about:  the camaraderie of old friends.  I am so glad that Stuart's daughter pushed us into this reunion.  These are memories to last a lifetime (or what little time we have left).  Enjoy!

Friends forever!


Mark in DE said...

How fortunate you are to still be in touch with your longtime friends! I'm so glad you had such a great reunion.

Vương Tử Trực said...

Beautiful frienship! So love these pics!

Rick Bettencourt said...

That's awesome! I love to see friends reunite like that. Great shots from the '50s.

Mark said...

Ron, how wonderful! You know that I love this kind of stuff. And how cool that you have all of those photos.
I'm glad that you had a nice reunion.
Your Friend, m.

Ron said...

Thanks Mark! Now if you were there we could have had some really great photos of the reunion. You know how to capture "the moment."

Ron said...

Thanks Rick! I love the photos from the Fifties too. I wish I had more. Back in the Fifties it was such a laborious and expensive undertaking to take photos. I was very poor (no shoes in the summertime) who earned maybe $5.00 a week delivering newspapers. When I took a roll of film it was a BIG DEAL. Another regret is that I didn't think to ask people to take more pictures of me. I won a trip to NYC (paper boy subscriptions winner) and I took a whole roll of film in NYC but NONE of me or the other kids who were with me. I only took them of buildings which doesn't mean much now. The best photos are of people. I'm making up for lost time now!

Ron said...

Thanks Tai! I love posting pictures. I wish I had more old ones to post. But like I said in an earlier response to a comment, back in the Fifties, when I was a 12 year old it was very expensive to take photos and have them developed. Plus, I didn't think to task people to take pictures of me. I wish I could do a do over again on those days!

Ron said...

Thank you Mark in DE! I have five old time friends that I've kept in touch with over the years. They are my greatest treasure. The rest of my old time friends are gone now. So often I want to call them and tell them of my latest adventures but I have to stop and remind myself that they are no longer here. One of the downsides of being ancient like me.

Ron said...

Keep your friendships Tai. Then when you're old and ancient like me, you'll realize how much they mean to you. Happy belated birthday!

Tony said...

this is a wonderful post. i cannot even imagine still wanting to hang out with anyone i knew in elementary school--i even went to my 30th high school reunion a couple years back, but only "friended" 3 people from my class on FB! i think too much time has passed for me. but you have maintained your friendship with larry, and that is great. i have to get a scanner so i can post some of my old photos--is that what you use to do it, ron?

Amanda said...

I wonder if Larry and Stuart read your blog? (if yes, delete my comment). You look so much younger than your friends Ron.
I think it is so wonderful you got together.

Ron said...

Thank you for your compliment! Larry reads my blog but Stuart doesn't. Actually, I am younger than both Stuart and Larry. They were born at the end of June 1941 and I was born at the beginning of November of 1941, thus I am four months younger. Larry wouldn't be bothered that anyone says I look younger. I don't think Stuart cares either. Thanks again!

Ur-spo said...

what marvelous photos!
THe first two are priceless!

Ron said...


Perhaps one of the most important things in my life is to maintain old friendships. So many of my friends are gone now, and that is just another reason I value those that are left so much. By the way, yes I did you a scanner to copy my old photos. The investment in a scanner is well worth it Tony because now you'll have those old photos forever. You don't have to worry about them being destroyed in a natural calamity.

Ron said...

Dr. Spo,

I forgot to bring a baseball with me for the reenactment photo! Maybe next time.