This morning as I got dressed, my shorts were a little tighter than I remembered them being when I last wore them (last week). As I looked at myself in the mirror, I thought “the incumbent shall develop paunch.” I cracked up at the 30-year old memory of me and my friend Joanne rewriting a document for her boss, the head of HR at our old company, and absolutely killing ourselves laughing.
I sent her a message, telling her the story. She immediately messaged back: “I can’t even believe you’re telling me this. Because that very quote was in my head just a couple days ago for the very same reason. LOL. I couldn’t button any of my pants comfortably. Literally came walking out of my bedroom thinking “in addition, the suckball will develop paunch”. Which is how I recall it going And I have no idea why it’s so funny either!!”
Joanne and I worked together for most of the eighties at Burnes of Boston, a picture frame manufacturer. (I was an absolutely horrible employee. I should have been fired so long before I actually left the company. My employment essentially amounted to looooong Friday lunches at Lewis’ (Bloody Marys and french fries); softball games; and planning Christmas parties.
Joanne and I went out for lunch together most days. We had our regular spots. China Sails for a #9 special. Spring Street Market for a roast beef sandwich. The little place in the Wells Avenue office park whose name escapes me but I can picture perfectly, right down to the fan outside the door that blew grease from the fryers onto you as you walked in.
Some of my favorite memories are of singing in the car, hers a Pontiac Grand Prix (I think??) and mine a Honda Prelude (with a moon roof), at the top of our lungs along with the radio or a cassette tape. I cannot hear Robin Lane and the Chartbusters, “When Things Go Wrong” without thinking of Joanne. Same with “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues” by Elton John. So many more. She loved Axl Rose. I loved Sting.
I hung out with her and her husband outside of work as well. Joan and Lawrence they were to me. I was Shirley Muldowney to them. I was a very lonely, very unhappy person then. I had not recovered from a bad breakup with a long-term boyfriend. I was wary and defensive, using sarcasm as a shield and as a weapon. Joan and Lawrence were the best friends anyone could ever have. They loved me just as I was, and included me in anything they could. I was even a bridesmaid in their wedding.
There are lots of Facebook posts about friends that you do not see often, but when you do it’s like you never parted. I feel that way about Joanne. I think about her often, and smile every time. It’s sort of the opposite of being unfriended or people ghosting on you. I would really love to get together, and maybe we will. We do not live all that far from each other.
Or maybe it’s enough that we are in each other’s thoughts, and part of each other’s day–at least telepathically.