Back in the day, Friday nights were Big City nights. Big City was the underage club downtown that all the cool kids hung out at. And by cool kids, I mean those of us that didn’t really fit in at our various area high schools. It was really about the music, which was definitely not anything being played on radio. The friends I made there had a far longer lasting influence on me than most of the folks I went to high school with – it was a friend I made via Big City that told me I should consider checking out this school in Alabama called Auburn. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Friday night, in the town I grew up in, was the Big City Reunion. I realized it was a great excuse to go see some folks I hadn’t seen in forever, mostly my old friend Amy.
I’ve known Amy since third grade. We have moved in & out of each others lives ever since. Separately, we are both strong personalities, together? We are the people your mother warned you about. Our own mothers warned us about each other.
In grade school we would walk back & forth the mile or so between our houses. We’d walk to the mall and play Frogger for hours at the arcade. We’d go to the roller rink and skate Saturday away. We were Girl Scouts together. We grew apart for a few years in high school, but by our senior year, we had rediscovered each other and Amy was the friend who introduced me to Big City, so it seemed fitting I go to the reunion with her.
No matter how much time has passed between visits with Amy, we always pick up exactly where we left off. That much hasn’t changed since third grade. Actually, there’s a lot that hasn’t changed between us since third grade. As we were getting ready Friday, she opened up her closet to dress me, neverminding that I had brought an entire suitcase for a one night stay- and despite my initial horror that she owned a Kim Kardashian skirt, despite the fact that I swore up one side and down the other it was trashy as all get out with it’s studs and fake zippers, I tried it on and realized it looked fabulous on me. All that gym time has definitely paid off.
So of course I proceeded to wear it.
With the tag still attached of course.
Definitely not the first time I’ve worn something of Amy’s before she had. Probably not the last. At least this time she didn’t even bother with “You’re not keeping that” and just skipped ahead to “Go ahead and take it home with you”. Which I totally did because I need to have something to wear to shows that’s not my standard circa 1992 demin skirt – instead, I’m going to rock my standard 1986 taken from Amy’s closet look.
Really, the only thing missing from our Friday night ritual was Amy’s mother sprinking holy water on us.
Amy had a pre-reunion gathering at her house. A.J. showed up and it was great to catch up with him there – A.J. lived across the street from Amy back when we were all in grade school together, and his sister was great pals with my sister from Kindergarten, so he was one of those people I just was used to having around back in the day. And he’s still one of those people I like having around, who understands I need to carry a spare outfit in his back seat, just in case I change my mind about that skirt.
It was also Bike Week in York. I knew it was Bike Week, but yet I didn’t really consider what that meant. I drove up the back way, avoiding the DC beltway, which meant coming up through Gettysburg. The route is generally clear sailing until you get to Gettysburg and then you turn onto Rt. 30, which is the old Lincoln Highway and other than paving that route, I can assure you, the road has not changed since Abraham Lincoln was President. It has been 2 lanes my entire life and what should be a 20 minute drive always turns into the last hour of hell on a roadtrip. As I was coming into town past the fairgrounds, it hit me that it was bike week, because there was a line of cycles pulling in, queuing up for their parade in a few hours.
A few hours later, neither A.J. nor I put it together that Bike Week was BIKE WEEK, so as we decided to ‘cut through’ downtown, we got caught up in the mess that was going on, which meant roads blocked off and bikes everywhere you looked.
When I called home Friday afternoon after pulling into town, I mentioned to first Pat, then Edie, that it was bike week, and both asked if that meant motorcycles. I forget how so very different the town I grew up in is from where I live now. In Charlottesville, Bike Week would probably be a convention of road bicyclists, dressed in spandex, not leather. York is the Snack Food Capital of the World, while Charlottesville has been named Locavore Capital of the World. Very different foodie destinations indeed.
The reunion itself was a grand time. It was held at a bar, with a dance floor of course. Five of the old DJ’s took turns spinning records and we danced for hours. It was great to see familiar faces that I hadn’t seen in forever. It was like a high school reunion, but with only the people that you really wanted to see and far better music. The vibe was exactly the same as it had been all those years ago, especially so because you can still smoke in bars in Pennsylvania.
Best of all was spending time with Amy. A hell of a lot has changed over the last 35 years we’ve known each other, but our friendship hasn’t. She is truly an original free spirit, my best friend from third grade and one of my most favorite people in the entire universe. And quite possibly the person your mother warned you about.