I could say all sorts of good things about my wonderful friend Carol, who I’ve known since kindergarten.
We danced the Minuet in G together in second grade. When we were in fifth or sixth grade, our teacher read our IQ scores without identifying any individuals; everyone in the class, with the probable exception of her, assumed the highest score belonged to Carol.
Her family had a cottage on a lake in northern Pennsylvania, and her classmates got to go there several times. We also had parties at her house. Her mom was the best of my friend’s moms.
When I was president of student government when we were at Binghamton Central High School, she was the vice president. I saw The Night They Raided Minsky’s (1968), The Godfather (1972), and likely other films with her.
She was one of three people, besides the justice of the peace and his wife, at my wedding to the Okie in 1972. In 1975, I dropped out of college after breaking up with the Okie and stayed at my grandmother’s too-cold house. I got my respite from there by visiting Carol. It must often have been on Thursday nights because I have a strong recollection of watching The Waltons at her home. I got to go to her wedding in Binghamton a few years later.
There are tons more I could tell you. I must say that when we’re both in Binghamton, we always make a point of seeing each other. Sometimes those meetings were totally unexpected, as neither of us knew beforehand that the other one was in town.
Here’s a story that epitomizes Carol.
Three or four of us from FantaCo, the comic book store in Albany where I worked, went down to New York in the early 1980s. I don’t remember if it was a comic book convention or a visit to our distributor, Seagate, to see Jonni Levas and the late Phil Seuling.
In any case, on the return trip, the car broke down on the Taconic Parkway in the Mid-Hudson Valley. We had no credit cards and insufficient money to get the car towed and fixed. After going through our limited options, I decided to call Carol, who by then lived about 15 miles away. She drove over and paid the auto mechanic. We wrote her a check, which the mechanic would not take from us because we were from out of town. This was a very nice act.
I saw Carol this summer near Binghamton, up from Texas, to visit her mother and siblings. I reminded her of this generous act. She had no recollection of it. It should not have surprised me. She’s so sweet and caring and decent that when she does a kindness, she doesn’t always remember it.
So, dear friend Carol, the happiest of birthdays to you.