On the eve of this new year I find myself thinking of my friends on Buchanan Street in Pearl River, New York, a hamlet 40 miles or so from New York City. While I was born in New York City and, as far as years are concerned, lived a large majority of my life in the city, my fondest childhood memories are of my Buchanan Street.
My childhood friends, then and now, are family in my heart. I can’t or shouldn’t speak for them nor can I know what your childhood friends are to you. I don’t think it is a matter that they should or should not be one thing or another. They are what they are. For me, they are family. When I think of Jeffrey Graf (I loved his dog, Monty), Barbara Malmet, Patty Costello, Mark Jewel, Brian Baxter, Billy Damrow, Richard McConville, Billy Scott, Cindy Fine, the Guercis, Fitzgerald’s, Hausers (they always owned Saabs), Gunthers and more, my heart warms, my eyes wet up, and I find myself smiling. Playing stickball or football on the street, one or all shouting, Car! Car! C-A-R! as warning when a car approached. Sledding down Van Buren Street, the best sledding hill in the world in my book.
When we grew up there in the 1950s and 60s, the area was rural. Our homes were surrounded by woods and streams, filled with deer and wildlife. Many of us were highly skilled tree climbers and fort builders. And we played cowboys and Indians (I was always an Indian), and of course we played army, meaning we were the American Army killing the hated (and still hated) Nazis. Many of our fathers and uncles, including mine, fought them.
Some of us have touched base over the years. Facebook has helped with that. A year or so ago I had some wonderful conversations with Patty who to this day possesses a rapier sharp mind, equally sharp memory, and, like me, a deep appreciation and love for our days on Buchanan Street.
I think of all of them with love because I love them all. And if any are in the “sound” of these words, I wish you happy new year and hope life affords us time to gather again, perhaps on Buchanan Street. (Jeffrey, Me & Patty)