So this weekend I went to a wedding for a good friend at work. His name is Frank Thompson. It turns out that he is the uncle of an old friend of mine.
I grew up in Rutgers Village, a small neighborhood in New Brunswick, N.J. right where U.S. 1 and Route 18 meet. The neighborhood is on the border of East Brunswick and New Brunswick, and has always been in an appealing spot. It has an East Brunswick location, with New Brunswick taxes. There is a water pumping station, a stream, a fire house, and a small elementary school all right in the neighborhood. The Fire Chief, much of the police force and fire men, and the part-time mayor all live in this small neighborhood. Crime has been fairly low, and the neighborhood is kept fairly well.
I moved to the neighborhood when I was 7 years old. I used to walk to Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, right in the neighborhood. I played in the three-team baseball league. I was in the neighborhood cub scout troop. I used to ride my bike all weekend long. We used to walk under the U.S. 1 overpass to the Route 1 Flea Market. Ah… the good old days.
So back to the wedding this weekend. It turns out that Frank is the uncle of Ben Thompson… I didn’t make the connection until he introduced himself. Then I remembered. Benji. Benji Thompson. We all used to play baseball together, ride bikes together, go to scouts together. His mother was my scout leader. It was great to see her again. We talked about old neighborhood friends – Kenny Puritz, Mike Blue, Jason Kormondy, David Cleary, Steven Eckert. The rest of the evening, I thought about all of my other friends – Nikki Francisco, Gary Chiang, Steve Aamland.
Strange thing, time. As time moves along, you remember less and less the bad things, and more and more the good things. I know I did not get along with a lot of the kids in the neighborhood. I was a nerd, and easy to pick on. But now that time has worn away the rough edges of those memories, I wonder how all of my old friends are doing. I hope that they stumble across this old blog post, and give me a call. I would love to talk to them again.