Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Friends In Childhood

Life in Los Alamitos, in about 1955

As a child, my family moved about every year or so, so I really never had one friend in particular from childhood. When we moved to Los Alamitos, California, I was about ten years old, and in grade school. A very nice girl lived around the corner from me, and we became good friends. Her name was Martha. She had blond hair, and was taller than I though a little younger than me. We lived in a tract of homes that ran alongside "Los Alamitos Naval Air Station," as it was then called. Then, there were actually military planes taking off and landing several times a day, with occasional crashes, with huge plumes of billowing, black smoke, and lots of sirens. 

Martha had apparently had some bad things go in in her young life, as her mother had died of Cancer, and her father was now remarried to another lady. Martha's step-mother was always nice to me, and I don't recall ever hearing Martha having anything negative to say about her, either. Martha had two older brothers, so her step-mother took on a lot marrying a man with three little kids. 

Martha had burn scars on both legs, as well as on her arms, from being burned when her nightgown caught fire while she was warming herself by a little space heater. We never talked about how old she was when her mother passed away, but she was seven when she got burned. Most days, we walked together to school, and we often played together after we had finished our homework, in the afternoon. Every now and then, we did our homework together. I don't think our parents ever did get to know each other, as our fathers were always working, and our "moms" busied themselves at home, when women were real housewives who cooked, cleaned, did laundry and ironed their families clothes. We even got after-school snacks that our moms actually made for us. 

Martha and I also rode bicycles together, and often just sat and talked about things girls our age usually talked about. I never spent the night at her house, nor did she sleep over at mine.

One thing I always enjoyed, was when the "Blue Angels" performed their aerobatics on base. We were only one street away from the fence to the base property, so whenever the Blue Angels were flying, we laid on the roof of our home, and watched the show. It was always exciting to see the then blue jets streaking over and doing loop-de-loops, and apparently only a couple of feet apart, too. I recall worrying that they would crash, and be killed. Fortunately, they never did, at least not in Los Alamitos. 

We were both good kids, and good students in school, too. So, we tended to not get involved with students who were trouble makers. 

About twenty-five later, I ran into Martha, while visiting an old friend who still lived in Los Alamitos. She had married a nice guy, and was still a decent person, herself. We lived a ways apart, and were busy raising our families, so we just sort of lost contact after that. I do still think about Martha, and wonder how she is doing, as we are both in our mid-sixties now, with several grandchildren who are now young adults. I wonder if Martha may also be a widow, and I hope she is doing well. 

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