Kids From Kew Gardens, Queens
Not everybody is lucky enough to grow up in a house (Plinky) We grew up in an apartment building and not knowing anything else, for us, it was perfect. Imagine living in a world where you could walk down two flights of stairs where your best friend lived whose mother and grandma baked home-made vanilla crescent cookies and surprise cookies (I still dream about these) that had a Hershey’s chocolate kiss inside. I can still taste the crushed hazelnuts in the batter. Imagine going up a flight of stairs to babysit for someone you considered your pretend baby sister anyway and getting paid for that. This little, lost girl longed for attention and for someone to love and I was her older friend. I bought her candy bars with my money that her mother wouldn’t allow, I sat with her while her mother cooked two chicken legs in the toaster oven or when her mom stayed in her bedroom, under the covers for days. I watched that family from one flight of stairs away, practically living inside their house and I watched them unravel as well. A tragedy. My very first best friend growing up was a boy and he lived three flights down and we spent the first years of our lives together; our moms met in the maternity ward of the local hospital where we were born and yes, I am mere hours older than he is but a whole day. He had a gray, barking schnauzer but to us, he was Lassie. His mom made me my first milkshake, I ate at his house probably as much as I ate in my own. To this day, a mere fifty-fife years later than when we were born I am proud to still call him my friend, my oldest friend; I call him Brian and we both laugh.