These are some of the guys I grew up with. We are a tight knit bunch, those of us who grew up on First Avenue. We are still connected to this day, getting together for reunions, big birthdays and a smattering of funerals. We even have a group on facebook called First Avenue Gang which is where this photo came from. When I first saw this picture, memories of our crazy summers together came flooding back. This photo is taken in the garage of the boy on the left. He is an amazing piano player and started his own band. Are garage bands a thing of the past? He also got the foosball table seen in the photo and along with a group of friends, they set a world record for the longest game of foosball. It has since been broken, but I recall how we younger kids came around to fill in while a player went to the bathroom or paused for a sandwich break. With great fascination we all hung around when the local newspaper came out to do a story about their crazy endeavour.
This photo also stirred up another memory that has forever shaped my life. When the boy, third from the left (who sadly passed away about ten years ago), along with my brother (not pictured) saved my life one summer afternoon. I remember the day so clearly, even though I was only five years old. I was playing basketball in our driveway in the alley (I was dressed in a light blue and white gingham shorts jumpsuit with a white pompom on the zipper). A man in his late twenties pulled up in a red sports car and asked me where the nearest gas station was. At five, I thought, "duh, he had to have just driven by one to get here", and pointed that out to him. He played dumb and insisted I get in his car to help him find it. But I knew the rule when it came to strangers and did not budge. But then he offered me twenty dollars and promised to bring me right back. Well, that was a heck of a lot of money and all that entered my mind was how with that much cash, I could buy my dad a really nice birthday present. So this stranger opened his car door for me and as I was about to innocently climb aboard, my brother and his friend came around the corner, saw me and started yelling. The man drove quickly away. Yup. I truly believe they saved my life that day.
I just can't imagine how different my life would be without the bond of friendships that were made in my neighborhood on First Avenue.