I believe, by any stretch of the imagination, that an 80-year friendship is an enduring period. I was born on January 17,1928 and grew up in Middle Village, and I was the youngest of five children. The local public school was PS87 and in those years without a junior high, it was an eighth-grade school. When I turned 6 years old and it was time to enter school, since my mother could not afford to miss a day’s work, an older sister who was still a student in that school took me to Mrs. Brown’s kindergarten class, left me and went to her upper grade.
Many of the children in the class had been brought there by their mothers. When the time came for the class to begin, the mothers were asked to leave. When that occurred, some of the children began to cry. I did not, since when I entered the classroom, I noticed it was filled with toys, books, and games, none of which I had in my home. I was pleased and excited to be there and noticed there was another boy who had been brought there by an older brother, who also did not cry. The boy’s name was Sam, and like me, one of five children, also poor and with- out any toys, books, or games. We immediately became friends and when promoted to upper classes always remained in the same class.
The summer before the sixth-grade class was to begin, I became ill with rheumatic fever. It was a time when penicillin did not yet exist, and I was required to stay in bed for the entire summer. After Labor Day when school resumed, I was able to attend. However, I had a relapse in early November and did not return to school until after Thanksgiving Day. I remember telling my mother since I had missed so much school at a time when there was no such thing as home schooling, I expected to be left back. When the term ended and I received my report card, I had not been left back or either promoted to the next class, because I was in fact skipped. Sam was also skipped, and we ended up together in a 7th grade class.
In that grade boys took a shop class, and the girls a cook- ing and sewing class. Sam and I were failures in the shop class. When we graduated from elementary school, we each picked a different high school. Since we still lived in Middle Village, our close relationship continued. I ultimately became a lawyer and Sam a schoolteacher. We continued our friendship and when we each got married, we continued as couples doing many things together. I should point out that Sam and I did not agree politically. What we did, was simply not discuss politics and our relationship continued unhampered. What was clear, we each knew if either of us ever needed anything, the other was there to help. Sam and I remained close friends for 80 years, often having lunch or dinner with each other. Sam passed away at the age of 86 and I miss him. My memory of him, however, was not interred with his bones.