Past is Present.

When was the last time you saw your best friend from childhood? Quick, call them up, plan a reunion! It will be the most fun you’ve had in a long time.

Nancy and me, circa 1977

If there is data anywhere on the demographics of the population of Elkhart, Indiana, my friend Nancy and I are in the teeny tiny sliver of the statistical pie chart representing the ones who got away. Fled. Flew the coop, as it were. It is not easy to escape Elkhart, as it is not exactly a place that prepares you well for greener grass. Don’t get me wrong. Elkhart has its merits. I just can’t think, at this particular moment,  of what they might be.

And last week, in NYC

Nancy and I met in 6th grade, and it took another ten years of wheedling, conniving, plotting and treachery to effect our getaway. Assistance was provided along the way in the form of what would today be considered “GATE” English classes – reading is believing and we read and read and read books by people who lived in places far beyond the cornfield curtain that separated us from the World, which was, to us, anyplace other than Elkhart.

A high school librarian, sly (and in retrospect, somewhat subversive) fueled our angst by introducing us to authors like Ayn Rand, and we spent whole summers re-imagining ourselves as Dominique Francon or Dagney Taggart. While other teens were tuning in, turning on and dropping out, we were just trying to think of a way to to get as far away, perhaps, as Chicago.

The road not taken, if you can help it (from highwayexplorer.com)

As it always has been and will be, education was the ticket. Nancy made it as far as Indiana University in Bloomington, while I chose Miami University in Oxford Ohio, somewhat specifically because it was nine entire miles beyond the Indiana state line. We were on our way! Four years later, with our relatively useless liberal arts degrees in hand and our parents sufficiently worn down from years of contrarian teen behavior and the grind of tuition payments, (thanks, by the way!) we waved a final, un-opposed goodbye to our Hoosier hometown and moved together to Washington, D.C.

The building where I worked in Washington, D.C., at 1700 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., just a few blocks away from Taylor's new workplace.

Thirty-some years later, Nancy lives with her husband, Zane, in a town on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, which, she says, looks pretty much like Indiana, and the population of which makes Elkhart look like a metropolis. And I wake up every morning in with chickens on my mind, something I probably could have done just as easily and far more economically, had I stayed put in the Midwest. Live and learn, they say…it looks like Elkhart gets the last laugh on us.

What passes for mass transit in Elkhart

Last weekend, however, we were the ones smiling. With best friends, you don’t really notice the time or distance between visits, and somehow nine years seem to have slipped by since the last time Nancy and I spent time together. This visit, however, we finally made it to the Big City: the CE and I, Nancy and Zane spent a wild, windy and wonderful day together in Manhattan.

Nancy and Zane at our apartment in New York.

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art

We visited the High Line

Being a good sport at the Chelsea Market

Boarding the bus - good-bye until next time

It was a wonderful day.  Hopefully we don’t have to wait nine years for the next one!

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one” – C.S. Lewis

Chicken art at the Met!

I think it most likely depicts a Japanese Phoenix

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
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3 Responses to Past is Present.

  1. Katherine says:

    You two were obviously the main attraction in Elkhart years ago. (Disclosure of Freudian slip: I first typed “male attraction” – I kid you not.)

    New casting in your life story: Felicity Huffman as Nancy, Jacqueline Bisset as you.

  2. Imperial Guard de' Pollo says:

    It was fun to be part of the walk down memory lane. Those two Elkhart beauties have withstood the test of time very well, in my opinion. Very interesting to watch them pick up exactly where they left off years earlier, as if only a few moments had gone by.

    All true friendships have that enduring quality – and this one has it in spades. It was a pleasure to be with the ladies that day.

  3. A says:

    Nothing like old friends. NOTHING!!! SO glad you guys got together. Makes me miss my BFF.

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