June 4, 2022 – My first best friend

My upbringing was unusual to say the least. If you’ve read any of my personal postings, you know that.

Eventually my parents scraped enough money together to buy their first home. It was brand new and needed everything. We had little in the way of furniture or anything else.

We had lived in a trailer before we sold it for the money to lease the building that housed us and our new venture, the restaurant.

We were excited about this new house, to say the least. We would have a bathtub and everything.

Before the house, my mother would bathed me in the commercial double sink in our restaurant’s kitchen.

As she scrubbed me down from a hard days playing in the dirt out back, I can still remember looking out the window into the back of the building where the dogs were tied up. No comments please, I know.

Steven became my new best friend. He lived just down the street. He was tall with straight blond hair and blue eyes. He was the polar opposite of myself. I suppose we met in school just around the corner. He might have been a year or two older than I.

This kid had every toy ever made.

His parents had escaped Hungary as it fell to the communists and had grown up in difficult circumstances, to say the least. Steven benefited from their difficult lives.

I can still remember his mother telling him one day, “We will buy you anything you desire.” Wow was all I could think to say about that.

My parents had little extra money for toys or so it seemed. They had furniture to buy and landscaping to put in around our new wonderful home. It was a great house. It even had a bath tub. I suppose there was little money left over.

I didn’t like being washed much but the new bathtub looked very inviting and was surely better than that old cold, steel sink. That was for sure.

My mother was thirty one when I was born and her running days were long behind her. I was quick on my feet and missed many rough scrub downs. They called me “nature boy.”

With moving to the new house and meeting Steven, it seemed that I had struck a wide and deep “gold vein.”

He had every toy that money could buy and he seemed to enjoy them as much as I did.

He had go-karts, mini bikes, gas powered airplanes and a surrey with the fringe on top that we peddled down the street.

The police were very interested in us on some days when a mini bike was reported hauling down the narrow streets of our neighborhood with two small kids on it.

Steven had the knack of getting us into the garage and pulling the door down just before the cops rolled by.

He didn’t just have a train, he had a train room with every type and size of train available. It was awesome. There was barely room for us to stand and operate the little train world in front of us.

I seldom saw his father as he worked all day and repaired watches at night. His mother wore crisp white blouses and pleated brown skirts like the little girls in Catholic school.

I loved spending time swimming in Steven’s above ground pool in his back yard all summer long. I swam my family blues away there and stayed as long as I could. Life at my home wasn’t perfect as it seemed to be here.

Did I like Steven as a person or did I just hang with him because he had all of these great toys?

Was I just a shallow person who liked Steven for what he had and could share with me?

I think the later, but who knows? I suppose my wife knows. She knows everything about me and who I really am.

I often wonder if Steven learned that the world would give him everything that he ever wished for from his childhood experience or if he understood just how darn lucky he was?

My world taught me a different set of lessons.

I would love to meet him and find out.