Friendship. According to someone, there are three reasons for friendships.
Perhaps someone can tell me where this quote came from:
I had changed the meaning quite a bit when I focused on the reasons for friendships rather than three kinds of friends.
I have had so many amazing friendships along the way that if I attempted to write about them all, I’d be writing for a very long time.
My very first friendship lasted several seasons and had many reasons, though I’ve not thought about them for a while. And as I write this and re-write this, reasons I hadn’t even thought of will come to the surface.
To remember the last time I saw or talked to Jon Clifton, I’d have to do some serious memory digging. Might have been our tenth year Weston High School reunion. Class of 1978.
1988 wasn’t a good year for me. I was in the middle of a fifteen-month chemotherapy regimen, so I don’t imaging that I looked so great. It was a lifetime or two ago that I weighed ninety-nine pounds and wasn’t sure which direction my life was going.
I probably hadn’t seen Jon since our high school graduation, and even then we didn’t see much of each other. I had seen him at his mom’s funeral, my God-Mother, Barbara Clifton. Barbara Travis Clifton. Took extra digging to get her maiden name. As I vaguely recall the Travis family were important founders of Weston.
Stacey Clifton, I hope it’s okay that I stole your picture from your Facebook page. You can tell me to take it down if need be.
I’m sure as I excavate the memories of my long-ago friendship, I’m sure new reasons will rise to the surface. I can’t even say that it’s been a long time since I have thought about my first-time friendship. I think about it quite often. The entire Clifton Clan played a big role in my formative years.
Maybe some of my questions can be answered.
I don’t know how my parents met Jon’s parents. Probably something to do with a boat. Maybe Art Clifton and my dad both belonged to the Charles River Yacht Club, though I can’t imagine Mr. C being a member of a Yacht Club. I think my dad and he had invested in a boat together.
Jon was born six days after me. I don’t know why Barbara Clifton was my Godmother. Jodie Wetmore was my other Godmother. Milton Monroe was my Godfather. The Monroe family will have to be a different blog.
I don’t have any memories of my crib buddy, but for perhaps eight or nine or even later, Jon Clifton and I were inseparable. One of my dad’s punishments were to ban me from walking the hill between my house and the Clifton house. Hill Top and Pinecroft was a short drive, but the shortcut up the well-worn path was just minutes, especially going down the hill. That path is burned into my memory since I walked it so often. Too bad I don’t have any pictures of it. I don’t even have any pictures of Jon and I.
We were young when we formed the Blue Birds. Drum and drums. I don’t remember if I played an instrument. We wrote our own songs and we performed to his parents, and they listened patiently and applauded loudly.
We played whiffle ball constantly. Jon, Jed, and I played against each other. We had tournaments with pennants and T-shirts with numbers. Again, Art and Barbara cheered us on.
I learned how to throw. Whether it was a baseball or a football or what, we did it, and all year round. Football in the winter was the best since I could lay out for a catch and not worry that the ground would hurt. Laying out for a catch off of the diving board into the pool at my house was a lot of fun as well.
In order for me to keep up with the Clifton boys, I would throw so hard that my shoulder would subluxate. It didn’t stay out of joint for very long and didn’t hurt that much, but I found that I could throw even farther. (Bex let me know if I have the wrong farther. Is it Further?)
I know that our friendship existed when I was twelve. Another memory seared into my brain. I was twelve. November football. Night football was always a challenge, but there were floodlights at the Cliftons to give us some extra play time. I somehow caught the tip of a football in my eye. I probably even managed to hold onto the ball. But it was my good eye and as a result, veins ruptured. Immediately, we went next door to the Barconia’s. (I’m not sure of the spelling of that name, but he happened to be a eye doctor.)
Without the use of my left eye, I am legally blind. It didn’t look like I had done any serious damage, but I was bandaged up to let the swelling go down.
When I was twelve, I didn’t have much patience and tended to explode if things didn’t go my way, and this memory haunts me. My mom and I were fighting. She was trying to help me with my homework since I couldn’t see. Maybe I didn’t have any patience because she had it all. She was so patient with me.
November something 1972. Might have been a Tuesday. Richard Nixon was in the process of being re-elected. My dad was glued to the television on his desk. Little black and white set. He was as connected to that thing as I am with the internet.
I popped in to find out how much longer my mom needed a break from me, and she told me to get my dad. She didn’t say anything else. I ran the few steps from her bedside to my dad’s office, relaying the request. Find out what she wants was his response.
Back and forth I ponged. Until she said she was sick and needed a doctor. I don’t think she said anything about having a heart attack.
As I said, this memory is forever seared into my brain. Doctors. Ambulances. Running around. Deb had been babysitting for a doctor. There were a few in the neighborhood. Dr. Bartels probably came.
Just like humpty-dumpty, there wasn’t any way to put her back together again. I don’t know if she even made it to the hospital.
I don’t know if my friendship withered away right after. It probably had run its course, its seasons. I know that I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without the Cliftons. Jed, Sarah and Jon.