Monday, September 20, 2010

A Memory For Monday (With the Neighbor Boy)

I have a pretty good memory when it comes to fairly useless information.  (Who was wearing what when, what I was doing on a particularly random date, when childhood friends birthdays are, etc. etc.)  Ask me about something academic I remember during the time spent earning my college degree though, and I will draw a blank.

Anyway, back to my ability to remember birthdays...

Yesterday, Ellie was talking about the first day of Fall that is coming up this week.  And I remembered that it very often coincides with a birthday I remember each year.  September 21st is an old childhood friend's birthday, Matthew James.
 (Matthew James & Tiffany, December 1981)

I have lots of stories I could regale you with about Matthew James...
  • The time he pinned me against his garage wall and stuck his tongue down my throat. (We were five years old.)
  • The time he got sent home from my older brother's birthday party because he wouldn't behave.
  • The times I voluntarily participated in kissing him back.  (For the record, I would be APPALLED if my children had kissing friends?!?!?!)
  • The time in 4th grade (or so) when he had to sit with an empty bucket in front of him and was told to fill it with spit, because he kept spitting at other kids.
  • The time I whispered 4 x 8 = 32 to him in class so he wouldn't have to sit down during a multiplication game.
  • The time we 'stole' chocolates from the Quality Street tin under our Christmas Tree while my mom was in the shower.
  • The time a girl in our 6th grade class got very excited because I told Matthew James that I was never and had never 'officially' been his girlfriend, and he and Emily could be girlfriend/boyfriend.
  • Or the last time I saw him, when we were both 16 years old.  I was visiting England for the first time since moving away and went to visit Matthew with another old friend of mine.  I politely declined his generous offer of sharing what he was smoking with me.  (It was not a legal cigarette...)
Instead, I'll just tell you briefly why I think about Matthew James every single Valentine's Day.  Valentine's Day was not celebrated by children in England, but for some reason Matthew and I always exchanged creative Valentine's Day cards.  We always assumed another identity, usually one of fiction (such as Lucy and Charlie Brown) or one of celebrity status (think Lady Di and Prince Charles) or even an animal identity (his family dog, Jego, and my family dog, Lady).  It was a tradition that began when we were children and continued even until young teenagers.  It ended when my family moved away in 1988.

But, I still think about him from time to time.  When I tell my children stories of our neighborhood growing up, he is often mentioned.  I ask mutual friends about him occasionally via Facebook and I of course hope all is well with him in his life.  I have a lot of fond memories of him and hope that tomorrow, September 21st, he has a Happy Birthday!

Happy Monday!


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