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"Exploring Nostalgia: Reconnecting with Old Friends and Memories''

I mentioned in my previous blog that in addition to family visiting the past few months I have also had three good friends come to visit. I have known them all for over 45 years and if anyone knows all the skeletons in my closet they do.  I think one of the reasons Aaron enjoys them so much is he gets to hear everything I choose not to remember.  He also embraces the fact that he thinks I was more of a trouble maker than he was.  I have to wonder how the four of us ever became not only functioning adults but successful too, (or at least somewhat.)

First came Terry. I must have met her when I was 19 or 20 and transferred to the University of Wisconsin.   I met her from Mark, (he comes later) who was going out with her roommate.  Mark and I always seemed to be at their house. 

Aaron, Terry and Mike chilling in the kitchen

I can’t remember the four of us ever studying.  It seemed we always had a beer in one hand and a quaalude in the the other.  Often times Mark and I acted out musicals for them, (and Mark wasn’t even gay.)  Our favourite shows to put on were Grease and West Side Story.  Even today I can sing the songs from Grease.  If Mark was angry at his girlfriend we were more constructive and did things like try and set their porch on fire.

I’m not sure how she did it but Terry was the only of us to graduate on time.  I don’t think I gave her enough credit for being as smart as she was.  After college she moved to Chicago.  I believe a bunch of us thought she was nuts because she talked of opening a hot dog stand.  In the end she opened up her own business which she sold probably before she was thirty and has been retired ever since.  Since then she has spent her time travelling or having friends to her various homes.  If your reading Terry were waiting for an invite to Mexico.

Terry and Aaron enjoying Ice cream in Howth

The three of us had a great time.  As long as Terry had her drink and her edibles she was in fine form.   There were only a few things Terry wanted to do. All very easy. Of course, leave it me to fuck it up. I don’t know what it is about this country but  they do so many things backwards,  It irks me to no end that that they start their monthly calendars on Monday and not Sunday like the rest of the civilised world or at least America.  Basically every reservation I made, I made for the wrong day. She never cared though she’d just have another drink and a few edibles, while she kept Aaron laughing about our lives.  Come ten she was sound asleep.  Just the way I like it.

Next to visit was Naomi,  I have probably spent the most time with her as we always seem to end up in the same place.  She arrived here for a week with her son for a stopover on their way to Amsterdam to see family.  Naomi and I also met in college while we were waiting outside the Doctor's office to receive our prescription, for quaaludes amongst other ones. This was the beginning of a great adventure that  hasn’t ended. 

Naomi and Michael hanging on the terrace in Dublin

In the last few years, maybe 15, we have both slowed down a bit. I spent many college breaks at Naomi's in New York. One of the first times I stayed at Naomi's her mother was having a surprise drag party for her husbands 40th birthday.

The minute I walked into the apartment her mother dressed me in drag.  A little new to me at this point. Somehow I survived. Well, I don't know if I really survived. To endure I took too many quaaludes and ended up passing out in my soup. I was sent to bed early.

Many times her mom would take us to Studio 54 where we danced and played til morning.  Before going we would somehow manage to get Naomi’s dad, a shrink,  to pay us to clean his office.  The money was not the factor, we were there for one thing to steal any good samples the drug reps had left for our evening out.

We used to think of Studio as one big sex and dance party and what went on was hard to believe. It was the age before social media and you would be partying with a who's who of New York and the world.  In those days it seemed very few people cared who saw them do whatever they wanted to do.  It literally was a very different time than now.  

A few years after collage we were both very lucky that our lives brought us back together.  Both of us ended being extremely fortunate  and by coincidence ended up living at the Beverly Hills Hotel. In those days it was a world famous hotel that was frequented by a who's who of the rich and famous.   Although older we still got up to our same tricks.  I said it before, no social media and I can't begin to tell you everything that went on at the hotel pool and the parties I went to.  For some reason people seemed to think I was someone or looked like someone and the invitations came. I would never set them straight.

Over the years I have spent so much time at Naomi's lake house I consider it mine.  My last time there I tried mushrooms for the first time.  We only had enough for three doses, Naomi, her son and myself.  Naomi’s mother was a little upset that instead of partaking she was our appointed babysitter.

Alex, Naomi, Aaron and Michael hiking in Howth

We have also taken many a vacation together with other friends to Amsterdam, Capri, St Barts and more. It was during a trip to St Barts that she almost landed us all in jail because she had to have pot sent down by Fed Ex and it was found, She could not be like everyone else and buy it there, she needed her own.  The police in the States called and said they were not going to arrest her in St. Barts but they would find her back in the States and the situation would not disappear.

Getting back to the here and now. We loved having her and we were both sad to see them leave. She was a great guest all she wanted to do was eat Irish butter by the pound and do something that was on her bucket list since seeing it on TV. The 40 ft in Dun Laoghaire which was in the Show Bad Sisters. It was November and the water was ice cold  Aaron was as real sport and went in with Naomi and her son. Not me, I have made a pledge to never go in the water in Ireland. I need warm water.

Aaron, Naomi and Alex at the 40ft in Dun Laoghaire

Aaron and I are counting the weeks until July when we are going to the East Coast to visit friends,  I can’t wait to see how happy Aaron is at Naomi’s lake house  Unlike Ireland the water is so warm you can lay on a raft all day in the water and it will also be sunny. It’s paradise.

Our last guest, Mark.  I met Mark in high school where we were on the swim team together.  Of course I was better.  When I transferred to U of W we got an apartment together.  Academically this was a disaster for us. I can’t even remember going to class.  Our days consisted of working out, (which very few people did then,) eating to get bigger and stronger and going to very few classes.  We saved our evenings for making trouble.

Mark left after his junior year and I stayed.  I was determined to get that diploma.  That year I got a house with my girlfriend, (haha) and Mark's girlfriend.  Every weekend Mark would come up to Madison from Chicago.  Mark seemed to think we were still roommates and every Friday at bartime he could be heard telling everyone party at Mike’s.  I do know that often things would get out of hand, being honest I have to say too out of hand.  Usually the police would end up coming to close it town.  It got to the point where the cops knew me by name.  I could basically  be in another town, and I would hear a cop asking how I was doing and when the next party was.

Mark is the hardest of my friends to get to know.  If all is going right, he can be the funniest person you could ever meet.  Even today he is great at doing impressions.  Most of the time though he is preoccupied with other things.  This happens when he is loosing money, getting ready for a board of directors meetings when he hasn’t read the materials, problems with his wife or he thinks someone is trying to get the best of him.  I had a very good friend who passed away.  One time he said to me, talking about Mark, himself and I “Mike you may be the poorest of us but your the only happy one.  I felt good about this.

Aaron and I both appreciate how lucky we are to have remained close to many of the friends we grew up with. Months can go by without speaking to them but the second we hear their voice on the phone or see them it is as if time hasn't gone by. I have only lived in Ireland for four years now but have been lucky to meet many people in Dublin who I am able to consider my friends. The older you get, it becomes harder to make good friends, but it is well worth the work.

Aaron and Mike relaxing on the terrace


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