Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Over at Jody’s House

By Gerry Wendel, Groovy Reflections Founder and Team Member

The house was early 1900’s and painted white, just like the one I grew up in. Well, not exactly; Jody’s house was about three times the size of the humble dwelling I grew up in. And her house had TWO staircases, though we rarely used the one near the front door of the house. Nor were we ever hanging out in the living room.

Well, we did hang out there. Once. Jody and I sat at the piano one wintery afternoon and while she pounded out Eleanor Rigby on the ivories, we sang the song over and over in our best renditions of pitchy falsetto.  Ouch.

Our usual indoor hangout was on the other side of the house from the living room; the “rec room”. It had several chairs to hang out in, a shiny wood floor, a fireplace, a TV, a stereo, a table to play games and no wood paneling (my home had plenty of that though!).  A floor to ceiling window at the back of the room allowed us to look out on the expansive two acre property.

Sometimes Jody’s Dad would hang out in the rec room in the recliner with his newspaper and pipe. This is where I first heard “Reach out in the Darkness” by Friend and Lover and “Up With People”; both LPs owned by Jody’s older sisters.

The kitchen was expansive yet cozy, with an antique table gracing it. Jody’s mom would lemon oil it quite often and the oil had a strange smell. I don’t recall actually eating anything there.

The backyard boasted a small storage building that we cleaned out and made our playhouse. Despite the “cleaning” that consisted of removing some junk and running a broom down the walls and across the floors it was dusty in there, but so what? Now we could mark up the walls with chalk and have tea parties in our own little house!

On sunny days, there were so many options. We played with our Disneykins on the patio off the kitchen. I had several of them from the Top Cat series, including Benny.

If that wasn’t exciting enough for us, we’d walk over to the nearby ancient cemetery. Most of the graves there were late 1800’s into the early 1900’s, with almost unreadable words on the limestone ones, washed away by decades of rain. A few were broken. Many of the family plots had low metal poles secured by concrete structures in the corners.

Those metal rods were perfect to jump up and down on; a few of them had a good spring to them and served as a decent alternative to a trampoline. Hide and seek was a good game to play there as well since several of the stones were a few feet tall.

Perhaps the most exhilerating event was in the summer when we got to sit in the back of the Le Mans convertible as Jody’s mom drove us to the field club they belonged to. The windy ride was more fun than the gigantic pool that we splashed in. "How Can I Be Sure" blasted on the radio and I thought the song was so exotic!

Jody and I attended elementary and middle school together. Sometime early on in our high school years, she switched over to a private school and I lost track of her. Over the years, we did have some contact, mostly through my calling her and asking if I could drop by.

Today, I understand she lives about two hours south from where we grew up and does not have a computer. I did pass along my phone number to her sister, but I’m not hopeful that she’ll contact me.  It’s okay; I’ll concentrate on the great memories I have of Jody and I growing up.

Note: Jody is not her real name.

1 comment:

Robyn M. Ryan said...

So identified with this great story! Best friends who live in your neighborhood live forever in our hearts, even when you lose track of each other after 8th grade.... And reconnect years later on Facebook, of all places.

For the record, "How Can I Be Sure" is still exotic in 2012.

I look forward to each new post on this GROOVY blog! You all capture a snippet of time so perfectly. It's really FAB! Out-of-sight.... :-)