Monday, December 22, 2008

It's Penny's Day

Penny and I have been friends for over fifty years. Boy, that sure does sound like a long time; I guess because it is. We spent our childhood about two blocks from each other. She lived on Rural Avenue and I lived on Hall Avenue. We spent summers playing hide and seek and walking barefoot. Then before going into the sixth grade, I moved and went to a different elementary and junior high. We stayed friends, though, thanks to bicycles. In high school we reconnected. This time the summers were spent going to the pool and again, walking barefoot. Then came college and during the summers working at the beach. She got to spend entire summers at the beach, while I on the other hand could only spend half summers there. Summer school always called my name.

This is a picture of Penny standing in the yard of our apartment from the first summer at the beach, 1966. What a bathing beauty. Judging from the curlers, she must have been getting ready for work. We used to spend the mornings on the beach and return to the apartment in time to get ready for work by three.

Here's a picture of Penny, Mary and I working on our tan before going back to the beach for the second summer (1967). It looks like Penny is the smart one, NOT standing on her head. Mary and I, on the other hand are just showing off. Early yoga.
Always ready to pose, here we are again. That must be Penny's John Romaine purse on the blanket. We were in our second year of college. Does anyone see a book? I guess the sun was more important.
The Kit Kat was where we sunbathed during one of the summers. Again, here are the three of us: Penny with the sunglasses, Mary and I squinting. As usual my hair is hanging on my body. Why? I bet it was in the 90's. I must have been brain-dead. Check out the coke bottles. I wonder if we had already eaten our daily allotment of two or three Krispy Kreme Donuts. I think this was the summer that our buddy, Fred, was the lifeguard in front of the Kit Kat. Maybe he was the one taking this picture, that is, if he wasn't saving lives in the riptide, or those 20 foot waves!
After hanging out at the beach for four summers, it was time to get real jobs, so we all moved to Atlanta. We lived the single, dating, and shopping and dating. Penny was the first of the four of us (Barbara, Mary, Penny, and I) to get married. She was also the first to have children...Erin and Ryan. Two great, smart, and good-looking kids.

I know how rare it is to maintain friendships through the years, but we have done it. We have always been there for each other and we always will. Thank God we have good health and a sense of humor. From Simms Elementary to Huntington High School to Marshall University to Myrtle Beach, and finally, to Atlanta, Penny and I have been there, done that... together.

So, Happy Birthday, Penny Gail. Call me.

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