Monday, September 16, 2013

Border Bonding

Years ago three of us rented on Border Avenue; a house for each of us on the same lot.  We were in our twenties.  Judy lived with Bill in a back house.  Bill was a strange guy she hooked up with and later dumped.   That was a good thing.  Leslie lived with Dennis in the other back house.  Dennis is an ex who has long since disappeared from our world.  That was a good thing too.  John and I lived in the front house and had our first son Jay.  We were all broke, surviving on communal dinners, card games, music and hanging out in our common yard.  We had more dogs than we should, a vegetable garden, and BBQ pot lucks every weekend.  Other neighbors on the block would join us:  Joe and Alice, Teri and Jerry, Beverly and Richard, and “Old John”, a man who lived next door and loved to be around young people.  Although we were struggling financially, we were rich in friendship.

One Thanksgiving each of us had plans to do the cooking.  Family and friends were invited, turkey’s purchased and pies were baking.  It made no sense to have a three separate Thanksgiving dinners so we did the only thing that made sense.  We moved the furniture out of my living room, rented tables and chairs and had a combined Thanksgiving dinner.  It was an odd combination of people.  The Monsignor sat next to a very drunk friend who passed out in his plate.  Bill went out for a turkey pan but never returned.  Leslie’s parents and my parents came from the corporate world, while we were more into the Flower Power 1960s approach to life.  So Let it Be – Live and Let Live.  It was a memorable holiday.

John and I lived on Border Avenue for five years before purchasing the home I still reside in today.   Judy met Larry while on vacation and married him.  They moved to Trabuco.  Leslie married Ron and moved to Orange County as well.  Beverly and Richard moved up north.  Richard tried to reconnect about twenty years ago.  He and Beverly were divorced.  I lost touch with both of them.  Alice and Joe remained in their house on Border.  I saw Alice in 2006 in the Dollar Store.  Joe passed.  Somewhere around 1990 Jerry died from complications of back surgery.  Although I think Teri lives just a couple of miles from me, we lost touch. 

After moving, I had two more boys, Brendan and Kevin.  Leslie had a girl, Dana.   Judy had a baby boy, Max and almost immediately twins Sara Lee and Alex followed.  Life takes over while raising children and managing jobs and careers but during the early years, I would drive to Orange County to visit Judy and Leslie.  It was a special time and there was an unmistakable “Border Bond”. 

Although Leslie and I see one another only a few times a year, we remain friends.  Judy drifted from the bond we had formed.  Leslie and I missed our friend and we would reminisce on each occasion we got together.  When John died ten years ago, Leslie called Judy to give her the news.  Judy didn't show up for the funeral or make contact after that.  I'm sure she had her reason.  It was our last contact.

So, here we are.  It’s Labor Day and we are together at my mountain home for a relaxing weekend.  I hadn’t seen Leslie and Ron since the first of the year when we met for a ski weekend.  We are a little wrinkled.  The children are raised.  We are retired and Social Security has kicked in.  The years have ticked along and we are still wondering about our third partner, Judy.  Two thirds never makes a whole.  What happened?  Leslie dialed her old phone number.  It is disconnected.  Have we totally lost contact with her?  It’s time to put this behind us and renew our friendship.  We break out the IPad and begin the internet search.  Facebook?  No luck.  Google?  We found a phone number for Max; disconnected.  We find Larry, but there is no number.  We found Sara’s number and we connect.  Judy died in 2008; Lung Cancer. 

Judy, Leslie and I had a unique experience in our life that bonded us together.  Only those who were part of the Border Bond would completely comprehend it.  In the end, life took us in different directions.  I miss my friend.  A chapter in life has come to a close only opened by memories.  So many of the people I cared about and counted on during those Border years are gone; Jerry, Old John, Joe, John and now Judy.  Life is short and unpredictable.  I regret that I didn't have the opportunity to say goodbye.  This journal is as close as I can get …. Goodbye my dear friend.

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