I have often been a critic of social media, especially Facebook. I sometimes become disgusted by the insulting and downright offensive posts. However, I’ve changed my tune, for now. Facebook reunited me with my BFF.
I was vacationing in Florida when Facebook informed me that a ‘Bev……’ wanted to friend me. The name rang a bell — but not too loudly. When I read the private message she sent, the bell began clanging. I was speechless — for a short time. (Speechlessness is not in my genetic makeup.)
I messaged her back, we exchanged phone numbers and I called Bev the next morning. She picked up on the first ring — and we picked up where we left off many years ago. By sheer luck, destiny, fate or whatever you want to call it, she was living in Florida, a mere two hours from where I was staying.
We arranged to meet for dinner but not before we had a marathon chat. Bev reminded me that we met in the fourth grade. Sister Cecille de Marie sat me next to Bev, citing that I had come from public school and needed help!
And so, began our riotous friendship. We were one another’s catalysts for our somewhat unorthodox Catholic school behavior. Don’t get me wrong, we were “good” girls if you get my drift, but a tad boy-crazy.
Our moms became friends — good for our moms, not so good for us. We couldn’t use each other as a cover but we managed. One of our most memorable larks were the Novena capers — we would tell our moms we were going to Novena, then meet up at Benny’s soda shop.
In grammar school, that was the worst trouble we could have gotten into — if caught. But then again, smoking Hit Parade cigarettes in the school basement could have resulted in expulsion. What’s the harm, we thought? At that age being cool trumped everything.
One afternoon, the monsignor spotted me astride the back of Raymond’s bike in my school uniform. Before I got home, he had telephoned Mom. The big brouhaha that ensued rendered me grounded but Bev came over to keep me company during my house arrest. We ate black olives (why?) and listened to Elvis crooning “Are You Lonesome Tonight.”
Mom was a neat freak and a tad anxious. When Bev came over there was no sitting on the bed. Bev’s mom was more laid-back. Bed sitting was allowed but we had to contend with her younger brother.
After graduation, Bev and I enrolled in different Catholic girl’s high schools. Sure, we made new friends, but we were still joined heart to heart. Playtime was relegated to the weekends.
We attended numerous school dances (how else could we meet boys?) We would do a switch-a-roo with our dates, sometimes mid-movie. By that time, our guy friends had cars. We moved our playground from the soda shop to Great Kills Beach.
One summer night, the guys went skinny dipping (not Bev and I, honest to God) but as a joke, we turned the car headlights on them when they emerged from the water. The joke was on us — the guys enjoyed being in the “spotlight.” We were horrified.
High school over, crushes come and gone. Bev enrolled in nursing school; I went to Catherine Gibbs. (After my kids were born, I went to night college, but I’m getting ahead of myself.) Now, we could drink — legally, that is. Drinking was akin to smoking in the school basement; we wanted to be the cool chicks. We frequented “Tabers” a popular watering hole where chug-a-lug parties were held on most weekends.
When we got our drivers’ licenses, our weekend destination was Wildwood, New Jersey. Convertible top down, music playing, ponytails swinging, life was one big party. Mom, ever suspicious, worried that we were meeting our guy friends at the shore. C’mon, could we help it if they decided to go on the same weekend?
I wasn’t too swift, back then. I took photographs of me, Bev and our guy friends frolicking on the beach. After they were developed, I asked Dad to pick them up at the pharmacy! Remember this lyric from the Beach Boys song “Fun, Fun, Fun?”
“She had fun, fun, fun, till her daddy took the T-bird away.” That’s exactly what happened — except it was a Chevy.
Bev was in my wedding party; she is my first-born’s godmother. We saw each other through some difficult adult situations. Bev moved away; time, distance and life separated us, until now. Although Bev and I are older and hopefully wiser, I believe that true friendship is not being inseparable, it’s being separated and nothing changes.
The mischievous look in Bev’s eyes tells me she would gladly be my cohort in some new capers. I have a long-held fantasy of dyeing my hair red and driving a Harley cross country. She may go for it. Whether she dyes her hair red, remains to be seen.
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