Anne Notations

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Reeling in the years

Brown babes of ’73 at Caesar's Atlantic City: Anne, Beverly, Gail

Nearly 36 years ago, I moved into a suite of single rooms in Brown's Graduate Center dormitory with two senior girls I had known only slightly during our first three years of college.

Sometimes good things happen later rather than sooner in a particular chapter of one's life. Gail, Beverly, and I became fast friends that final year at college. We shared good times and a few misadventures that have taken on the sheen of legend in the retelling.

"Remember I had to park my Volkswagen heading downhill, and you would push it so I could pop the clutch to start it, and then you'd jump in?"

"Remember the time we hitchhiked home from Dartmouth?"

"Remember when we had a party and the graduate students upstairs called campus security on us, and I wanted to go upstairs and confront them, and the cops had to hold me back?"

These memories and a myriad of others kept us laughing and chattering for three days last weekend as Beverly, Gail, and I met in Atlantic City and then at Gail's home in New Jersey for a slightly delayed, off-campus 35th reunion. I had never been to the city of casinos before and probably never would have gone without my friends' urging. It is a giant, garish adult playground built on money. I had a great time there.

It wasn't so much my beginner's luck at blackjack ($75 in three deals) and the slots (well, I came out ahead $11). It wasn't only the superb steak dinner at Morton's, the champagne, the bumpity trip down the boardwalk in a human-powered "basket car," the drinks and dancing at the Trump Beach Bar with the Atlantic surf pounding just beyond the DJ stage.

On the boardwalk at 2 a.m.: Get a load of us!

It was all of these but mostly the sweetness of comradeship renewed. Gail's daughter had burned us two mix CDs of favorite songs from 1969-73, and we left Atlantic City on Saturday afternoon in Beverly's BMW convertible, attired in pastel baseball caps and singing with the oldies: Steely Dan, Marvin Gay, J. Geils, Sly and the Family Stone, Simon and Garfunkel, Santana, the Spinners.

We were hot stuff, I tell ya. Late 50s? Prime of life!

Time is passin', I grow older, things are happenin' fast
All I have to hold onto is a simple song at last...

I'm livin' livin' livin' life with all its ups and downs
I'm givin' givin' givin' love and smilin' at the frowns.
You're in trouble when you find it's hard for you to smile.
A simple song might make it better for a little while.

Sly and the Family Stone, "Sing a Simple Song" (1969)


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