Thursday, March 26, 2015

like opening a time capsule - with cheese and mushrooms, please

From our 1982 HS yearbook
Living in a military town, I often meet people who grew up in military families, meaning... they moved a lot when they were kids.

Their growing up experiences are so different from my own as I relate how I graduated high school with some kids I'd known since kindergarten.  And whenever I say that, the first "kid" who comes to mind is Daniel.

Yes, Daniel and I met in kindergarten and never looked back.  There was just a certain energy about him that instantly bonded with my own.

Our lives were actually pretty different.  Daniel's family was large, loud, and Italian, with many many relatives in town.  Us?  It was just us and Grandma at the time.

Daniel had an adventurous streak about him and a vivid imagination - always up to something - and I was usually his partner in shenanigans.  I'd say that our activities peaked in jr. high, where we were both sort of art "prodigies".  I use the term loosely since jr. high art class wasn't exactly a mecca of talent.  Suffice to say that our art teacher had trouble keeping Daniel and me challenged, and as a result, we sort of became her art TA's.

The art "wing" actually consisted of two full-sized classrooms.  One for the class to meet in, and another for storing of supplies, works-in-progress, and such.  Daniel and I were often assigned to do our prodigical activities in the second room.  These were sometimes jobs like cleaning and organizing, and sometimes our teacher gave us special assignments to "expand our artistic horizons".  Either way it was all fun, but mainly it meant that Daniel and I had too much unsupervised time in a public school buildinig.

Now, before you start assuming where this is going, it's not going THERE.  Daniel is as gay as the day is long.  We just had a heckuva lot of fun together of the non-hormonal adolescent kind.

And we certainly remained friends all throughout high school, even though our paths diverged a bit.  I became more focused on boys academics, band, and sports while Daniel was into drama and theater.  But we always had the art geek thing going.

Art club in 10th grade
Abby - front row, second left
Daniel - front row, far right
Daniel was a bit of a class clown, highly extroverted and entertaining, but I know words like "faggot" stung him.  He was tough and rolled with it.  

After high school, we lost touch a bit as he moved to L.A. to try to make it big in the acting world.  He didn't, in case  you've not noticed.  I moved, went to college, got hitched, and the rest.  We connected a few years ago on facebook and, more or less, caught up.  

Then, Daniel's lovely mom passed away a few months before my mother passed away.  We private messaged each other with our memories.  He lives in Denver, but we'd never gotten together although we planned to.  Someday.

So... today.  Thanks to GeJo's Pizza.

GeJo's was a family pizza place from our little hometown.  Mmmm, yummy and unique pizza.  They closed sometime in my early teens.  But there was word on facebook earlier this week that GeJo's had risen again!  In Denver!  We looked.  We found.  Yes, it was descended from the original GeJo's, using Nana's recipe.  We wanted!

Daniel said, "Abby!  We should go together!"

And I was all, "I'm on spring break this week!  Let's go!"  

I spotted him as soon as I walked in.  He's bigger and a little more puffy around the eyes, and his hair is bleached and wild, but there was no mistaking him.  He's the same Daniel that drew me in in Kindergarten.  Later, we said we both felt that our moms had probably arranged our GeJo's reunion. 

Oh, the pizza was good too.  


For Mama Kat's prompt:
5. A story of love..



Larz said...

This is a good story. I was home schooled for kindergarten (and many other random grades), but I am still in touch with a friend from first grade. It's always cool to reconnect and reminisce.

terri said...

This is such an awesome story! I love the thought that your moms arranged your reunion. I suspect that where they are now, they have a better sense of what's really important and decided to help you and Daniel put your busy lives on the back burner for a little while so that you could rekindle your friendship.

I'm kinda hungry for some good pizza now.

Rock Chef said...

What a great reunion! I love it when you meet up with someone again and you just click back to where things used to be...

Guano said...

While in Denver, I wondered if I'd run into Daniel at Hamburger Mary's (when guys go to eat, drink and be Mary.....if you catch the drift). Anyhoo, sure would be fun to run into him -- that kid was always a hoot!

Cool you two re-connected, at GeJo's no less. Probably the first pizza we ever had, eh?

Linda Hensley said...

I'm so glad you got together. It's too easy to let important people wander off, but the internet has definitely given us more ways to find each other. I hope Daniel has found his happiness. I wish I had some pizza too...

Abby said...

It was almost surreal sitting there after so much time had passed, yet it felt a blink of an eye.

Abby said...

I truly felt it. Truly!

Abby said...

We joked about how fun it would be to go back in time and tell those kids that we'd be reminiscing and eating GeJo's when we were fifty!

Abby said...

HA! I don't know about Hamburger Mary's, but Daniel's been known to "drag" out quite the Sunday brunch.

Abby said...

He seems mostly happy, but I know he has his dark times too. The pizza helps!

ShadowRun300 said...

I was one of those kids who moved every 2 years, so I never made close friends with anyone. I am, however, FB friends with a few of my childhood friends. But none of us are ever really on FB. Anyway.....
I love that you were able to meet up with Daniel! I bet it was great fun catching up. And I don't doubt your moms had something to do with it. They know now how important it is to actually set a date and time and do it! Otherwise it's all talk about "someday"... like I'm doing right now with my old hotel friends.... :(
Great story Abby!

Abby said...

It's such a contrast. I literally grew up with many kids, but at the same time, I never really went anywhere!
It was great seeing Daniel in the flesh after all these years, facebook doesn't really cut it. He already wants to go again - we forgot to take pictures!

Jen said...

How very special! It is a beautiful thing when we can reconnect with people who have known us and who have held our lives together.

KatBouska said...

I love this! I have a best boyfriend from high school too and he still makes me laugh just like he did back in the day. I'm glad you two were able to reconnect!