I’ll Always Be Thankful to Frisch’s Big Boy

The RemembeRed memoir assignment this week,  from Write on Edge,  is to write about a memory of ourselves WITH someone else. Word limit, 600 or less. A way to start: His/her name was ______________________ and looking back now, I realize….

I had two sisters when I was growing up.  The first, Karen, was born when I was seven and a half.  The other I acquired on my first day of ninth grade when I was thirteen .  Linda was a new face at school, and when I discovered she had moved to our little Connecticut town from Ohio, I chased after her after class.  Breathless, I caught up to her on the stairs and blurted out, “I visit my grandparents in Ohio every summer.  I love to eat at Frisch’s Big Boy.”  The first of many scintillating conversations.  That’s all it took for us to make a connection and become best friends.

All through high school we practically lived at each other’s houses.  We threw parties nearly once a month, homemade pizza parties at her house, sloppy joes parties at mine.  One time we gave each of our invited guests a puzzle piece which they had to match with another guest to see whom they were paired with for that night.  Of course, it was just a ploy so we could get the boys we wanted.

We learned to sew dirndl skirts with one yard of fabric gathered onto an elastic waist (skirts were very short in those days)  and had closets full of polished cotton dirndl skirts.  When I complained of my frizzy red Orphan-Annie hair, Linda was there to iron it straight for me.  We shared our deepest longings and fears and insecurities, our hopes and dreams, our joys and sorrows.  We grew from children into women.

A year after we both graduated from the University of Connecticut, we took one last trip together as single women.  Linda was to marry in a few weeks and I was to follow six months later.  We knew our friendship would remain strong, but we were moving into a new phase of our lives.  Things would inevitably be different.

We went to Cape Cod and stayed in a motel in West Yarmouth.  We rented bikes and rode around Hyannis Port.  We ate lobster until we thought we’d burst. I have several pictures of that trip, all on slides so I can’t hold them in my hand.  But I don’t need them to remember that time, for it is indelibly written in my heart.   It was a good way to say good-bye to a part of our lives we had cherished.

Linda and me on her wedding day

But the story doesn’t end here.  When my sister, Karen, died, Linda was the first person I called.  Her words to me still ring in my ears.  “Oh, Susan, I am so sorry.  I’m coming.”

Recently I told Linda we were planning on renting a cottage on Cape Cod next summer so we can have all our children and grandchildren together.  Linda e-mailed back, “We want to crash your party on the Cape!!!!  Can we be a part of the family?  We’re like sisters, aren’t we?”  No, Linda, we’re not like sisters.  We are sisters.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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51 Responses to I’ll Always Be Thankful to Frisch’s Big Boy

  1. This post brought tears to my eyes…as your posts often do. Usually, the tears come from a place of recognition. Friends are family members that have been chosen by your heart. What fun you will all have next summer- so much to look forward to!

  2. sliceofshanghai says:

    I LOVE to read your family stories, and Linda certainly sounds like family. Beautiful post about someone so dear to you!

  3. Leah says:

    What a beautiful piece. And I love how you introduced Linda as your second sister that you met when you were 13. Very well written! Sounds like a beautiful friendship! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Val says:

    Lovely post. I wish I’d had a friend I could call a sister, but I’m glad you have. 🙂

  5. E.C. says:

    This is so great. It’s sounds like Linda is a wonderful person and a true delight to be around. You both are blessed to have such a strong sisterly-bond. 🙂

  6. winsomebella says:

    Loving friendships that last a lifetime are a gift. I crashed a lifetime friend’s family vacation this summer and had a fabulous time getting to know her kids and grandkids. Great post.

  7. I have a friend like that. We are still in touch as well. I love hearing about your memories…I get to know you better. I think if we lived next door to each other we’d sit out on the porch in the evenings sipping tea. 😀

  8. I don’t know how you are doing it, but you keep pulling these place-based memories out of me – are you sure we aren’t related or something?

    I was born in Ohio. And even though we moved to CT while I was still in kindergarten, Big Boy is a big part of my memories from those very early years. I cannot tell you if we actually went there, or just drove by a lot – I just remember that little guy with the impossibly plastered hair and the silly checkered pants. I was four or five so it’s very likely that I had some kind of strange preschooler crush on the fellow.

    As always, thank you for a lovely trip back to the things I hadn’t known I’d forgotten.

    • comingeast says:

      I love it, Amy, that we share so many memories. I remember my favorite thing to eat at Frisch’s was their patty melt, a hamburger with melted cheese and grilled onions on toasted rye. Yum! I’m making myself hungry!

  9. yen says:

    Friends like that are truly a blessing from God. I’m glad you have one like Linda, Ms. Susan! I can just imagine the two of you growing up, sharing stories, hanging out or doing things together. Beautiful post! 🙂

  10. How wonderful you have a friend who has been around practically your whole life. I am so glad to hear this story.
    My best friend moved to Dayton, Ohio from Texas and it was she who introduced me to “Frisch’s Big Boy”, the little guy in the checkered pants.

    • comingeast says:

      I wonder if he’s still there, Georgette. Do you still see your friend?

      • She married a Dutch South African in her 20’s. We kept up through correspondence and I saw her when she came to visit her parents. We exchanged some long distance calls. The last time I saw her was Easter of 2000. The last e-mail I got from her was 2008. As you can tell, I wish we could still continue an e-mail, fb or blogging correspondence.
        No, the little guy is no longer there. A college friend from Cincinnati took me to Dayton for a day in 2009, and I looked for signs of the checkered pants boy, but didn’t see any.
        Still good memories.

      • comingeast says:

        Wow, she really moved far away. Hard to remain close from that distance. It was tough when we moved to Texas in 1980 and Linda was in Connecticut. Since we were both working and raising kids, we couldn’t just drop everything and visit each other, plus the price of plane tickets was an issue. It’s so much easier now that I’ve moved closer and we’re both retired.

      • comingeast says:

        Oh, and I’m sad to hear about the little guy in the checkered pants, Georgette. 😦

  11. angela says:

    I love the childhood memories the most, particularly the story about the puzzle pieces. It’s such a snippet into your past together, beautifully told.

    Enjoy your vacation with your sister-friend-sister and the rest of your family 🙂

  12. Shary Hover says:

    Great story! I love all my sisters… the one who shares my parents and the ones who became family. What would we do without them?

  13. TheMHalf says:

    Heck, *I* love Linda and I’ve never met either of you! What a fabulously written memoir. Women friends are so awesome, aren’t they? Man, I need to start calling some of mine …

  14. julie says:

    I love these sweet memories of a sister friend. it’s once in a lifetime we are blessed with a friend that sticks with us throughout our whole lives and you are very blessed indeed. I got chills when I read ,” oh Susan I am so sorry. I’m coming.” That’s a real sister isn’t it?

    • comingeast says:

      Yes, Julie, she is truly a blessing. Believe it or not, I gained another sister my senior year in college and we are as close now as we ever were. I’m doubly blessed.

  15. Long-lasting friendships with our sister-friends are such a treasure. Lovely post — will look forward to your post next summer about your Cape Cod “family reunion.” 🙂

  16. This brought tears to my eyes! I never had even one sister but always wanted one — and I was never so fortunate to have someone like Linda either. You are one lucky woman! 🙂

    • comingeast says:

      I feel very fortunate because I gained a third sister in college. I was Joanie’s resident advisor, and we are still best friends today. In fact she came for a week a couple of months ago, and we just came back from an extended weekend with her and her husband in Rehoboth Beach. Linda and I, though, have been together nearly fifty years. Hard to believe she’s so old.

  17. Oh! Goose-bumps! What a GREAT ending!

    I love the way that so often a best friend is defined as the one who comes over! Whatever the crisis may be, who ever you can call and they will be there… that’s a best friend!

    I especially enjoyed your early paragraphs – they really painted a picture of a young girl’s friendship that were universal!

    I could totally relate, even though my best friend and I had ice-cream/popcorn parties and bedazzled our skirts, instead of making them by hand!

    🙂

    • comingeast says:

      Love how women can develop these deep and abiding friendships and feel sad for the women who don’t have a best friend. I actually have two of them, the other, Joanie, I met my senior year in college. Thanks for visiting, Barbara, and taking the time to comment.

  18. Patti Ross says:

    What a lovely, cherished memory–thanks for sharing.

  19. gaycarboys says:

    That’s really touching. cAPE COD must be wonderful. I hope you blog your trip!

    • comingeast says:

      Cape Cod is such a quaint, very New England place that is so relaxing. Lots of pretty beaches, great little shops, and artsy communities. You’d love it, GCB!

  20. Lenore Diane says:

    Coming East, this is great! Your story reminds me of the book, “I know just what you mean.” by Ellen Goodman and Patricia O’Brien. http://www9.nytimes.com/books/first/g/goodman-know.html
    Here’s to your Summer 2012 on the Cape!

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