Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy Birthday Liz!

So, I started this birthday missive last week and trust me, it was hysterical and probably best work I've done to date. Sadly, and not unsurprisingly, I hit an errant button and "poof" the entire post vanished in to thin air. Now some of you will want to tell me things never disappear from dataland, but I have neither the expertise nor the will to commit myself to that search. In truth, I will not be able to recreate most of the post and but shall now effectuate the task trying to remember.

So my oldest friend, that is to say the friend who I've known the longest turned 58 another chapter over last week with the celebration of the day of her birth., She will no doubt be quite happy to point out that she is not the age accumulation oldest, nor even as old as me.     My fathers birthday was on the same day, but since he's gone on to the great B-52 in the sky we only celebrate Liz's anymore.
I met Liz at the tender age of 13.  Guam Island Seal Vinyl Stickers/Decals  8" x 5"

She moved to Guam with her parents in 1966  during that Viet Nam altercation.  I had already served a year there and had my posse of friends.  I use "I have lived on a small island in the south pacific" line all the time in that fun fun game three truths and a lie.  It never fails.  I digress.  Anyway, Liz's daddy was a mega-giant rank wise in the USAF, sporting one maybe two stars on his shoulders which in any case made him a big shot on the base.  Big enough shot that when he came to Guam he also made a new golf course happen.  Liz will deny this of course, but I maintain it was the scuttlebutt of the day, and who am I to argue with history?  Live with it LK.  So I met Liz at school, Dededo Jr. High, and was so sorry for her with her unfortunate blue, sparkly, bat wing glasses, braces on her teeth and curly hair that I (with my uber cool friends) only managed passing and grudging hellos in the hall.  In Jr. High I was a mean girl.  Still am.  At any rate I was no prize in the looks department, but I didn't have braces or glasses so there.  I was going to include a picture of each of us in those unfortunate days, but my year book has vanished.  tsk. tsk. 

Soon enough I was whisked away from the island to the sultry climes of Louisiana to begin high school.  Not so long after that Liz appeared there as well.  My other best friend, Annette, and I were  chivied off to the "big manse" which belonged to the M. Gen. John Kline to welcome his daughter to the "fold".  Annette had also resided on Guam at the same time as Liz and I.   Annette and I , even then too cool for school, were relieved that Liz had shed the ugly glasses and braces and had managed something respectable with her hair and we considered being friendly with her if only to get the parental units off our collective butts.  Mrs. Kline sat with us for a few minutes then went off to order the help around and the three of us stared for a long time at each other.  Then Liz said, "I'd give anything for a fag."  To which Annette and I, always prepared, said "We've got fags."  and our friendship was sealed.  This is Liz smoking...something...on the hood of my dad's VW.  We used to steal that car all the time.  Finally my dad gave me a set of keys of my own.  Perseverance and all that.

Annette and I had a spot of bother at the local public school, that is to say we hated it and had enrolled in the  spiffier private "academy" run by the Daughters of the Cross.  Liz arrived way too late to join us in the land of school uniforms and nuns and had to go with the proletariat at Airline High.  Meanwhile, Annette and I took the bus to downtown Shreveport to join the privileged in our Catholic education.  Nonetheless, Liz and I grew closer due mainly to the fact that we both had horses and those horses took us away from the ever watchful eye of my mother in the guise of long rides.  And we compared notes about the in crowds at our respective schools and made nefarious plans for our weekends.

Our weekend plans usually involved taking the bus from the base to downtown Shreveport.  Since my parents played golf on the weekends and weren't about, we usually met at my house to put on our hippy clothes and looking really scruffy, ill kept and hip slipped out without parental advice as to what we should be wearing.  Dress regulations are so tiresome.  We always followed the same routine.  We were/are products of a military upbringing after all.  Anyway, we went to a hotel for lunch for ham and cheese sandwiches which we chased with rum raisin ice cream.  Then we would creep around the floors of the hotel which I believe may have been um residential.  At any rate it was all done up in  art deco with round mirrors on the dressing tables and big leafy patterns on the bed spreads and curtains.  Then we would run out and start taking pictures of the local population with our Instamatic's.  What we were really doing was looking for hippies.  This was during the mid-60's and surely there had to be one or two hippies in Shreveport.  Nevertheless we were successful in nabbing a couple of long hairs on at least one trip downtown, I have the picture.  They were members of the Shreveport Moratorium Committee; concerned with that nasty bit of unpleasantness happening in Viet Nam and were collecting signatures of sympathisers to their mission.  Quite happily, Liz and I signed the petition.  What we didn't know was that copies of that petition found their way to the desk of General Kline who was less than pleased to find the signatures of his youngest daughter and her best friend.  To put it politely, we were in deep shit.  It seems when ones parental unit is employed by the great war machine of the age, it is considered non grata for ones offspring to protest said war.  I mean they just could have said that but oh no, a full court high inquisition followed and we were chastened and I was probably grounded for a month or so for that particular sin. 
Eventually I was paroled and our lives continued.  We were quite involved in the local party scene with other tykes our age.  We discovered that Dr. Pepper and Bourbon was a nice mixture and tasted a little like a root beer float when mixed properly.  We also like Colt Malt Liquor and Whiskey Sours all of which were drank bottoms up for as long as we were able.  Malt Liquor was not a friend to Liz as it turned out.  I discovered her in my room one night beating on my mouses cage with a curtain rod because Hector the mouse was running on his wheel and it squeaked.  It was always dangerous to have a party at my house because my parents had an uncanny ability to ferret out any signs of  misdeeds and I always got caught.  Being lively and headstrong had no place in Colonel Marden's house I assure you.  We never partied at Liz's house because along with her dad being a general and like that, her house was also occupied by the "aids"  also known as house slaves as their mission in life was to set the table, fix dinner and rat Liz and I out on our many sins.  There were two aids and they were the generals personal servants, but the Air Force paid for them.  We liked only one of them, but he spent an inordinate amount of time cleaning Gen'l Kline's golf cleats and clubs.  The other was creepy and noticed our footprints from where we had scaled down the wall from Liz's second story bedroom to the tool shed and made our escape at night when we joined the other thugs from the hood to swim in the officers pool at midnight.  Your tax dollars at work.

My senior year of high school we moved.  I had a boyfriend my parents actually approved of.   Annette had flipped out and run off and married this guy named Clyde and Liz and I were closer than ever.  Her parents, for whatever reason, actually invited me to live with them my last year, but the parents were not having any of that.  FYI, if you find that you need to move and one or both of your kids are happy in the high schools they are going to you should not move them.  Just sayin'.  Your kids will be resentful forever.  Anyway, we moved to Abilene, Texas.  Arguably the arm pit of the nation at the time.  I now know that perhaps Fresno has that distinction, but I didn't know that at the time.  Or maybe not on reflection.  It was not a good year.  But Liz dutifully came for a couple visits and I went back to Shreveport for a couple so while it was really really horrible, it could have been worse...I guess. 

The year I turned 20 I went to Greece to stay with my parents for the summer.  Here's a picture of me trying to light my hair on fire on my birthday. 

 Somehow we convinced Liz's parents that nothing would be more educational than for Liz to join me for the summer and after swearing she would pledge the Kappas or what ever in the fall, she came over and we took a foreign country by storm.  We spent a huge amount of time traveling around the Greek islands via ferry and spent maybe 10 days or so on the beach on the island of Santorini during one especially long sojurn. 
Here's a picture of Liz on the beach, nice suit btw. 

And here's the spot we camped while we were there.  Sadly the babe in the picture is me.

And these are the guys we met...Graham and Rick and they were from England so they had accents and thought we were cute.  They had long hair. L-R Liz (with arm up, Rick and Graham)

Eventually,  our visit to Greece ended and we traveled to our respective places, Liz to UT Austin and the welcoming arms of her sorority sisters and me to Chico to try to get an education.  Over the years she has come to visit quite a few times.  I am a bad friend, and she tells me this,  and have never gone to Texas to visit her even though she lives in Austin.  The last time we got together was sad.  We met up in New Orleans to go the wake of our dear friend Annette who died suddenly at age 50 something.  In spite of the gravity of the occasion, we did manage to have a fantastically good time.  It's what Annette would have wanted in any case.  That we partied with her husband and his best friends from his way back machine only added to the weird nostalgia of the thing.  So we drank Manhattans and listened to old music (on records btw) and told stories of our lives.   

So happy birthday Liz.  You are now immortalized in the blog page of my life and forever in my heart.  Peace on You.


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