Sunday, March 13, 2022

My Favorite Picture of My Friend Steve

 My favorite picture of him is on page 200 of our 1970 yearbook.

Steve is posed, along with Barry and me, sitting on the roof of the car. In the background, on the wall of the building, it reads: "Sandwiches, FRIENDLY, Ice Cream". We were not allowed off campus then, but we were seniors in high school and who followed the rules anyway.

I think that was the day we got caught on our return. Not so much physically apprehended as spotted by Mr. King. The doors to the car opened in an instant and anyone not then operating the vehicle exited and headed for cover. Only I had recently broken my ankle, was wearing a cast and ran up a steep hill with a distinctive gait. Suffice it to say, it was not hard to pick me out of a line-up as the perp.

I recall that I got called into the office to confess to my crimes, but I do not remember the specifics of the punishment meted out. All I know is I graduated and have been able to live this past half century without my misdeed dogging me every step of the way.

Anyway, I digress. What I originally intended was to talk about my friend Steve. And that picture. He has some cool sunglasses on, his legs dangling, one over the windshield and the other by the driver's side window. 

I don't remember who snapped the photo. I guess we had invited someone to join us in our act of defiance. You know, in over 50 years I don't think I ever stopped to question if there was another miscreant in the car then. If I ask Barry now, he might recall. But I know Steve won't.

I try to visit Steve once a week if I can. But I am not perfect, even though my intentions are good. If I don't visit, at least I call. Most of the time Judy is on the phone with us. That helps a lot.

Anyway, about that picture. Steve always had a little edge to him, a little toughness that was nowhere in existence in my DNA. I was, and remain, a wimp. Steve used to tell me about the time he got into a fight with some guy out at the beach, where Steve's family had a summer house. The fight involved jumping over a bush, punches and included everything that I would not ever do voluntarily. My fighting career being limited to that occasion Robert Epstein punched me in the stomach and I doubled over. And oh yes that time that seventh grader beat me up. Which also happened to be during my senior year in high school.

Where was I? Oh yeah. You know, if I had to guess, I think someone else was in the car with us that day. And I would bet it was that foreign exchange student who was on our soccer team. Now he was a very good player, unlike me who only pretended I was good because I hardly ever played due to that broken ankle I was telling you about in my final season and, in my junior year, due to a bout of impetigo. But that is a tale for another day.

As to athletic heroics, Steve was once carried from the football field on the shoulders of his teammates. The fact that it was 49 - 0 when he was inserted into the game and scored that touchdown is but a meaningless asterisk.

Actually, I have not a clue if there was anyone in the car with us. Maybe we convinced a waitress from Friendly's to take that picture. And maybe, no definitely, I should not implicate someone in our act in defiance of authority without certainty. I apologize.

But about that picture of the car. Steve loves cars. From the first chance he got, he always drove cars that went fast and had stick shifts. He could do that double stick shift thing that was like string theory physics to me. Once he had the engine of a sports car burn up as he drove it, the flames shooting under the dashboard, trying to toast him like a marshmallow.

Anyway, I love that picture. It is now 52 years later and so much has happened to Steve, to all of us, since then. I wonder if, from behind those glasses, he could see any of it. I know that from my vantage point,  the only thing in my field of vision was the pavement in the parking lot.

Steve looked very cool that day. Very young, with a hint of tough around the edges. Or maybe that is just how I choose to see it.

Which is exactly why it is my favorite picture of him.


Anonymous said...

This is amazing


Anonymous said...

Really touching, dad. What an incredible friendship.


Anonymous said...

Hold that memory and all the others tight -they are warm, bright and beautiful!


Anonymous said...

I remember seeing that picture, your piece reminded me of the final scene of League of Their Own, This Used to be my Playground, with all of the actresses sitting on top of the dugout.


LPB said...

Very touching xo

Harvey F Leeds said...


Anonymous said...

I won’t tell E about those bad Horace Mann boys


Anonymous said...

You would have made a great record cover!


Anonymous said...

I was so touched by that picture and the innocence of youth that it captures. Reminds me a little of the Beatles poster we have hanging in our family room.


Anonymous said...

Holy Paul McCartney !!!!!
Amazing what the years can do. Love the picture. Brings back great memories. You still have it !!!


Anonymous said...

Really beautiful post. Can feel the motions reading it. Not to mention the UNBELIEVABLE picture. So much to unpack in it, from the clothes/glasses to Friendly's, to the car, to the poses


Anonymous said...

This is so touching


Anonymous said...

It is very special


Eileen said...

Lovely, nothing better than those young friendships. I am blessed to have them still in my life.

Anonymous said...

Sweet. We need sweet now. Thank you