I’m referring to my friend since kindergarten, not my wife.
In second grade, the class got to dance a minuet waltz. Bill danced with Karen, Bernie with Lois, and Carol with me; why I remember this so many years later is beyond me. I think I developed a bit of a crush on Carol, because the next year, I hit her with a snowball, unintentionally in the head; I felt terrible.
The whole class got to spend time at her family cottage on a lake in northern Pennsylvania, which was always a treat.
At some point, someone came across a list of IQ scores of our class. No names were associated with the numbers, but it was generally conceded by her classmates that she was the one with the highest ranking.
I used to walk Bill, then Lois, Karen, and Carol home most days, especially when we were in junior high, so Carol and I got to talk with her one-on-one more than most of my friends.
In high school, Carol and I were both involved with student government, and in our junior year, I became president, and Carol, vice-president, a remarkable feat, given the disdain our left-of-center politics had generated when we first got to the high school.
During the summer of 1972, she and her boyfriend at the time, and the Okie and I all went to Syracuse to see The Godfather. At the end of the summer, she, her beau, and my sister Leslie were the three witnesses to my wedding to the Okie. After the Okie and I split, and Carol and her beau broke up, Carol and I hung out together, doing exciting stuff such as watching, of all things, The Waltons every Thursday night.
A few years later, I went to her wedding in Binghamton, after which she moved to the Poughkeepsie area.
One time, some of my FantaCo colleagues and I were coming back from a New York City comic book convention when the car broke down on the Taconic Parkway. Having neither AAA car service or credit cards, we didn’t know what to do. In desperation, I called Carol, and she put our towing charge on her credit card – we DID pay her back – and got us on our way.
She was the only one of my Binghamton friends to make it to a MidWinter’s gathering, in 1991, if memory serves; very good wax magic that season. Soon thereafter, she moved to Texas. So I don’t see her often anymore, though we did get together a few times, not just the 32nd reunion, but a couple of times when she and I both happened to be in Binghamton, and in July 2011, when she, Karen, and I ALL were in Binghamton the same weekend.
I should note that her family’s also great. Her mom was the coolest mom of all my friends’ mothers. Carol asked her mother and sister to represent her at Karen’s mother’s funeral this past summer. Carol’s daughter, who I had never met until fairly recently, sent my daughter a huge unicorn, which continues to be Lydia’s favorite stuffed creature.
Happy birthday, my dear friend Carol.