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Friends – New York 1965

Co-Authored With Joel Elveson

It was a hot July day and the air conditioner on the bus was barely keeping up with the heat.  My cousins had invited me to stay with them in New Jersey until school started to help take care of their son.  It was a long way from South Carolina, and if I were, to be honest, I was young and a little afraid.  The trip was lengthy and the steady roar of the wheels on the road was putting me to sleep.  My cousins promised me they would take me to the World’s Fair in New York City while I was there.  I had seen images of New York, and it seemed beyond anything I had ever experienced or dreamed of seeing.

The drive to the fair in New York with my cousins was exciting and breathtaking as the tall buildings graced the skyline.  When we drove into the parking lot, I was in awe of the number of people walking to the admissions gate.  We finally got on a shuttle and headed for the pavilions.  I sat beside another boy my age who was listening to a small transistor radio with a cool leather case, and since I had a Beatles haircut, he asked me if I liked music. Well, that was the icebreaker as we talked about the Beatles, The Birds, and that Simon and Garfunkel’s first album had just been released.

We spent the day going to the pavilions from countries around the world and sharing the wonder of something beyond anything we ever imagined.  After a while, we got tired and sat around talking music and became friends.  We traded addresses and promised to stay in touch.  As the years passed, we got caught up in marriage, children, and careers and lost touch.  Many years later, we both became writers and connected again.  Eventually, I agreed to fly up to New York to meet face-to-face again.  I was excited about seeing my old friend.

It was a cold and windy November day in Central Park as I waited for him.  I thought back to the amazing day we spent together at the World’s Fair and all the things we saw about how the future would look but most of all I remembered his passion for music, a passion that we both shared.  In the distance, I saw a slightly older version of my friend walking toward me with a big smile on his face and earbuds in his ears, and I knew he was listening to music.  As he drew near, he pulled out a small transistor radio in a leather case from his coat pocket and smiled this big heartfelt smile.


Part Two by Joel Elveson

We sat there on cracking wooden benches as the biting wind blew life all around us. As absurd as it sounds the more we sat there laughed and talked it seemed as if nothing had ever changed in either of our lives from the last time we shook hands, said goodbye and then turned around to walk away from each other to directions neither of us knew where that would be. Although we were engulfed in our sadness and sorrow in our souls we knew it had to be this way.

Now the kids are all grown living their lives on their own. So here we are so many tears that have gone by. We sat there laughing and talking while occasionally humming lyrics to those old Beatles tunes. A few memories of the mischief we had gotten into when we young lads sneak their way into our heads at the exact same moment. The thing about us is that we always knew what the other was thinking or going to say long before anything poured out from our lips. Suddenly, we turned to face each other with these big cat eyes that ate the canary looks on our face as we had this great idea to pull one of our famous pranks. With that, we snuck into the room where the sprinkler controls were without hesitation put them on full force. We laughed so hard that we cried until we realized we had to run through the sprinklers to get back to benches. Yeah, we got pretty soaked with more than a few sniffles to show for it.

As our hearts stopped banging inside of our chests looking for a way to escape we got down to the business of reflecting. We spoke of career highlights, family fights, love without condition with those we thought we loved and loved us. The one question that kept nagging at both of us was why we hadn’t been in touch more often with each other as there was nothing to stop either of us from dialing to reconnect. Two old friends who were closer than brothers drifted away from each other into seemingly different continents only now in their golden twilight reunite.

Friends build foundations to solidify the seemingly unbreakable bonds they make. With the passing of time cracks begin to appear. Things suddenly just didn’t seem the same. We stand within an eyelash of each other but there is nothing to say. They put their mouths in motions but the silence stubbornly remains. Hands that gripped tighter than metal in a vice now tremble and shake barely willing to extend a touch. This not by chance rendezvous was supposed to be so much more than what it was. There will always be a part of them in each other. Goodbye, my old friend. Fare thee well.


Point Of View

Friends will always influence how you see life.  They add value to who you are, loving and believing in you. Without friends, part of who we are is missing. While this story is a collage of memories and fiction it truly is about friends and the lasting impact they have on our lives.  Joel and I both ask that when you read this you will reach out to a friend and remind yourself how important friends are.

Larry Tyler
Awaken the possibilities … then unleash them. After 55 years of successful retail management, I have returned to my passion of writing. I write Poetry, Storytelling, and Short Stories. As a child, I grew up on front porch storytelling. I would sit and listen to my Dad and his brothers tell these great stories that were captivating, and I always wanted to hear more. I wanted to experience the things they talked about. I started writing at a young age and reading everything I could get my hands on. At twelve years old I started a storytelling group and several of my friends became writers or poets. At 16 I hopped box cars and worked the tobacco fields, orange groves, picked cotton, and spent many nights around a campfire listing to life stories. Someone once asked me why I wrote. It consumes an amazing amount of time and I assure you it is not going to make me rich. I write so that my children can touch and feel my words telling of the ones that came before us and the stories they told me. These are the chronicles of our family and even though they come from my childhood memories and are deeply rooted in a child’s remembrance at least they may feel what it was like in the time before them and cherish the things the elders left behind. I am a Columnist & Featured Contributor, BIZCATALYST360 and I have The Writers Café, a group on LinkedIn that features Poets, Writers, Artists, Photographers, and Musicians . On Facebook I have two groups and one page; Dirt Road Storytelling, From Abandoned To Rescue Dogs And Cats, and About Life, Love And Living. As writers, it is true that we honestly do not know what we hold within us until we unleash it. When our words inspire others only then will inspiration return to the writer. I will spend my twilight years in search of the next story, the next poem, and the next image. I will take the time to enjoy my Wife, our Dogs, and Cats, and our amazing new home and I will always find the time to walk down a dirt road I truly hope is that I never have to read another book on Leadership, be on a conference call or see another plan o gram as these were the tool for what I did in life and not about who I am.

10 COMMENTS

  1. It is true that sometimes we like to be alone, that we need solitude to detoxify ourselves from noise and chatter. But we can not help but be with friends, because if we do not nourish our mind through the relationship with those who love us, we dry up and enter a loop of negativity.
    Friends know us, know how we are made and are not afraid to tell us things. They often know us better than we know each other because they have frequented us for a long time and despite this they are able to see us from outside, with a healthy detachment. Other times they make us a mirror, because we see in them our defects or our qualities. They help us to overcome difficult moments because with them we are not afraid to get naked, to tell them about our emotions.
    If they are true friends, they accept our mistakes and shortcomings. We can count on them if we need them, we know they will always give us a hand. We are happy if they are happy, because we shared moments of life with them and if they are well, we are well too.
    It is therefore important to dedicate time to friends to cultivate and nurture that feeling of affection that binds us to them. At the same time, it is equally important to strive to make new friends, to enrich ourselves with new experiences and diversity.

  2. The two outstandingly gifted writers, sharing some superb nostalgic memories, WoW! Thank You, Dear Joel Sir, and also Thank You, my Good Friend, Larry Tyler!

    I met my friend of over 50 years, from the very early school days, only three months ago. He flew into Dubai for the specific purpose of seeing me as we had not met in 27 years. You will probably have an idea how we embraced each other when I received him at the airport. I was there in connection with a project and decided to invite him on an off-chance he would come because of its proximity to India. He sure did jump at the opportunity.

    Four days spent with my friend, and have my wife watch this reunion with so much warmth, was an experience impossible to share in words.

    I thank both of you, from the bottom of my heart, for this wonderful, little anecdotal reference to the spirit of friendship!

    Thank You, Dear Larry, for the initiative, and Warm Regards to both of you!

    • Oddly enough writing with you and Joel has created a strong desire in me to find and reconnect with old friends. By nature I am a solitary person yet because of our collaboration I feel a powerful pull to reach out to more of the people that influenced my life. Thank you Bharat and Joel. I think we with our stories have created a catalyst of renewed friendships. I feel we have created something powerful and contagious.

  3. I love this blended story of friendships that stand the test of time. When I got to this part, I suddenly felt so sad..”Friends build foundations to solidify the seemingly unbreakable bonds they make. With the passing of time cracks begin to appear.” I wondered what happens that when cracks begins, the friends don’t examine the reasons and do something to repair the cracks before they get broken beyond repair.

    You will know you have a solid friendship when, over time, you make each other better.

  4. Larry and Joel – Your collaboration on how connecting with friends from your past is wonderful because of the way you both allowed the vulnerable emotions to seep through. Each person who has attempted to “pick up where we left off” will relate to your stories. And the truth presented at the end of the article is the most important lesson – each of us must never forget that every person we come in contact with during our short time here helped create the person we call “me”. Thanks for sharing this piece of honesty.

  5. I wish I could copy and paste an entire thread of communications that friends and I share several times a week. The texts are full of meaning and messages from hearts filled with love for each other. I’ve been thinking a lot about my many circles of friends. The circles don’t even intersect yet the qualities of each group of friends is supportive and blessing after blessing.

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