Aldo and Bugsy and Hen, Oh My...

Be Well Be Happy

 (Editor’s note: The Be Well Be Happy Column is handed over to Kathryn Helms this week because keeping old friends is a great way to stay well and be happy).

As I walked along the beach on Saturday there were so many different groups having beach parties. This particular party was celebrating life and all that it brings, good and bad. It amazed me that they were still so closely knit from grammar school. This is what Rockaway really is all about. We are the DFD's but we have tremendous respect for the originals.

The notice went out to all committee members.  A meeting would take place on Beach 134th Street on Saturday, July 23, for an afternoon of fun and festivities.  The objective was to bring a group of old friends together--some who see each other regularly, others who haven't seen each other in close to thirty years--to reminisce, catch up, and enjoy a day on our beloved beach.  Twenty or so of us showed up, many with spouses and various children.  There were games, food, drinks and a very hot sun.  An unexpected sad event delayed a few, so we were all reminded how lucky we were to be there.   It was as if no time at all had passed.

It all goes back to St. Francis de Sales for the most part--sixth grade? Seventh?? And the swish Brooklyn prep school just to mix it up a bit.  We lived for the weekends when we'd meet up at the school gym (Sister Golden Hair anyone?) or the pizza shop (the old one closer to Cronston, eons before Plum Tomatoes) or somebody's house (whose parents are out on Friday?)  Later, there were concerts--so many concerts, where a certain someone always managed to get the tickets, order the bus, manage the group, and provide round-trip entertainment to boot.  (Thank you, Bugsy!). And there were the bars, parties, proms, more bars...and the beach.  Always the beach. 

            Then came college--or not--marriage(s), careers, overseas assignments, loads of wonderful children (and grandchildren!), lives cut short. This group has weathered countless life challenges and manages to do so with grace and fortitude.  Some are going through particularly trying times right now. But there we were, on the beach, with a smile, a positive attitude...and a cold beer or two.

The meeting ran way past quitting time and we covered most items on the agenda.  (Thank you, Aldo!) The last item was a quick recap of what it means to be a DFD.  (If you have to ask, you are one.)  I was worried as I no longer live in Rockaway nor own a home there. 

"But were you born and raised here?" Rich asked. 

"Absolutely," I answered.

 "Not to worry, then," he said.  "You're a lifer."

Meeting adjourned. 

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