Could it be that almost a decade and a half had gone by since I last saw my friend Carol from Naperville, Illinois? Her second son, Kevin and my Alexander were classmates at Saints Peter and Paul in the first through third grades. We actually met as volunteers in the computer lab when the boys were in kindergarten at Mill Street School. The catholic school did not have a kindergarten, so Mill Street School filled the gap. My daughter attended fifth grade there as well, so I could have them in the same school.
We met Ruth Haas and her family who were from California as we were, and Meera whose son, Sri Hari was among the friends from Mill Street School. They lived close by and she and I walked the neighborhood many evenings. There was also Mary Hammer, whose son, Mikey was in cub scouts with Alexander and older son Matt was in Mika’s class.
After four years of apartment living and only being able to find work as a temporary secretary/typist I found that housing prices were out of my range I began to think seriously about heading further east where I hoped to get full time work and find a house we could afford. My parents, some aunts and uncles, cousins and old friends would be a solid foundation for re-rooting. With my father’s help we found a little bungalow in Parma, the town he grew up in, and in June of 1988, after Mika graduated from the 8th grade at Saints Peter and Paul, we bid our dear friends in Naperville farewell and packed the little red hatch/back tightly and drove to our house in Parma.
Alexander sang new words to an old ditty: “Oh-hi-O here we come, right back where mom started from!”
With my sister and her family still in Illinois we did end up making trips back there now and then and later when the air fares were $49.00 round trip we found flying more economical than driving, although that changed in time.
On one drive back with my cousin, Theresa, we stopped in Naperville and stayed overnight with the Kirrs and as best we can remember, that is when Carol and I last saw each other.
It is true that no matter how long it has been since old friends have seen each other, the giggling resumes after the initial hugs and the story sharing and catching up begins. As I got out of my car in the parking lot, Carol stepped out of the door of the hotel where they were staying. We collected Bob (her husband) and then headed out to have a memorable meal at P. F. Chang’s on Chagrin Boulevard not far from the hotel.