The end of the movie Stand By Me has this scene:
The final thing he writes - about the friends we have when are twelve - is very effective as a piece of movie making but not strictly accurate in my own experience.
[I no longer keep in contact with anyone I knew when I was 12 and I suspect the same is true for you (dear reader). Let me know if you do - I'd love to know.]
The sentiment of the Stand By Me ending holds true though - there is nothing like the friends we have at seminal moments in our lives. For me it's the friends I had when I was finishing school and starting University.
I had a coffee catch up this week with two of them - two members of the Wozza whanau: Greg Knowles and Kevin Simms.
Greg has known me since 1973 when we were at Mt Albert Grammar in Auckland. He sat next to me while I was doing a chemistry test (I was a first year fifth former, a year younger than me - he was in the 4th form doing a geography test and glancing at my pathetic attempts to answer the chemistry questions). Somehow we bonded from that point onwards.
Kevy I've known since about 1977, our first year at Auckland University. Greg was doing a science degree and I was doing arts. Kevin was doing commerce. Somehow through Greg's network we all met up at various coffee bars and in the recreation centre. The group that included the three of us expanded from time to time to include Helen, Phyllis, Linley, Anthony, Kevin P, Brett and others.
We all go back a way - to a great time in our lives. We were all still living at home and happy to be doing that. We were growing away from our parents though and about to sever the home ties for good, but not yet. We were studying (well Greg and I were, Kevy was enjoying life for a while yet) and we were forming friendships that, I know, will last our lifetimes.
As old friends will do, we picked up our friendship this week from where we left off last time we met. For me and Kevy that was in the early 1980s, Greg and I have kept in touch a bit more.
It was weird how quickly that happened - Greg, Jacky and I were waiting for Kev to arrive at the cafe we'd arranged to meet at and we saw a guy walking away from us in the distance. Greg and I both instantly recognised the Simms walk and when Kev did his trade mark practice cricket/golf shot with his umbrella I was transported back in time!!
It took no time to click back into a familiar mode of conversation - foundered on our love of music, our bizarre sense of humour, and our shared history. Close friends tend to have a way of locking back onto comfortable thought patterns and pretty soon we were finishing each other's sentences and talking in shorthand.
It was a great catch up with old mates. Just what I needed.
Love and peace (special shout out to the early 80s rec' centre crowd) - Wozza