Monday Smiles – 7/7/2014

NO SWIMMy wife Muri and I moved from New England to Southern California in 1971.   I was 27 years old.   When you move far from your roots, you not only lose track of many friends, you miss the opportunity to be reminded of the best of your younger days by familiar places and familiar faces.  Old photographs sink to the bottom of the pile of neglected photo albums, the ancient black and white headed toward uniform gray and the color shots headed toward an odd reddish-brown tint.  Memories linger in the mist of a seventy year old brain, waiting for a call.

One of the best surprises of the last year has been reconnecting with my old friend, Russ, first via Facebook and then via a steady exchange of emails.  Russ was my best friend in high school and although we spent our Freshman year of college at different schools, we ended up at the University of Connecticut, first as roommates then as brothers in the same fraternity.  Russ has appeared here several times, in a 2012 Friday Favorites post about going to see Dave Brubeck during college and he’s the unnamed best friend that Muri was dating when I met her in May I have This Dance?  We lost touch for close to thirty years and a lot of water has passed under our bridges.  But we’ve reconnected just like old friends, open and honest.  We’re talking about music we love and watercolor painting and the 12 Steps.  And next month, he’ll be here in California and we’re going to spend a day together.

This week, he attached three photos he took on a recent trip to the University of Connecticut, where he’s been working.  The photos show a pool in the Natchaug River in Chaplin, Connecticut near Storr, the home of UConn.  The pool is well-known as Diana’s Pool and if you are a University of Connecticut student and never spent a late spring afternoon there with friends … especially girlfriends … well, you missed out on a lovely place.  Many students used it as a swimming hole and apparently still do, in spite of the sign that says swimming not allowed.  Then again, I suspect the six packs of beer keeping cold in the chill waters weren’t allowed either, which, of course, made it taste even better.  This is one of the pictures Russ sent.


It looked familiar, so I dug to the bottom of that pile of photo albums and found our very first photo album which includes a number of pages from college.  There, on page two were these two youngsters at Diana’s Pool.


Note the rock on which the female youngster is reclining …  the very same one in Russ’ picture.  When Muri saw the pictures, she said, Those are almost fifty years, you know.  I suppose I could say, Yikes, we’re really old (Yikes, we’re really old!).   But I remember the day, too, not in technicolor but in the muted grays of the photos.  Young love.  It’s Monday and I’m looking back, smiling.

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