If you’ve heard this story before, don’t stop me,
because I’d like to hear it again.
~~ Groucho Marx ~~
My old friend Al Bello was, to say the least, one-of-a-kind and among my oldest friends. We met in 7th grade dishing out our own brand of trouble to our teachers and others. Al was among my small circle of class clowns, birds of a feather.
“Al” – School Days
In our quest for attention, we were especially brutal to our music teacher, Miss Morgan. I’ve come to realize, the attention we sought was our misguided attempt to make up for other things lacking in our lives. No excuses though. In hindsight I regret how we treated her and by the time I wanted to apologize she was gone. She was a fine, gifted woman and her story deserves a place of its own here in this blog.*
Over a period of 45-years Al and I lived our lives separated by time and distance. He stayed in Maryland while I moved west. We managed from time to time to reconnect, only very occasionally, via phone calls. I had spoken to Al several years ago when I learned he was suffering with COPD. He was the same guy, the same sarcasm and still the jokester I remembered from our times together so long ago. Despite all those years of separation and little contact I remember thinking: losing him would be a bitter pill to swallow.
This is a story about one of my oldest friends. I spent a lot of time with him and his family during all of my teen years over a seven-year period. Through most of them we were constant companions. We were once the best of friends. No matter what, when I hear the words “childhood friend”, I think first of Marcus and all those crazy days we spent together. (Marcus is not my friend’s name. I’m using it to protect his and his family’s identity.)
Marcus and I shared a lot of adventures amidst our active lives. They included attending the same classes in school, working at many jobs side-by-side, the V.W. then the G.T.O, our travels around the beltway of D.C., and the many people, especially the girls we came to know. Continue reading
We’ve seen the cute posters and greeting cards and we’ve all heard those all-familiar quotes about friends and friendship. Here are a few:
– “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.” ~ Unknown
– “I believe that friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.” ~ Unknown
– “No man is a failure who has friends.” ~ From the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.
And finally there’s my favorite, tongue-in-cheek definition, which says; “Friends help friends move. Real friends help you move bodies! (See more below photo!)