Commentary: The friend connection

A father creates fantastic memories

Harriet Cuthbert

Friends forever. Forever, friends. Is there a difference? I am not sure. All I know is that I have been lucky enough to have friends forever who will forever be my friends.

It all began seven decades ago, in Brighton, Mass. My father was promoted to the position of advertising and publicity director for Warner Brothers Films, putting him in charge of Boston and New England. We moved from New York City to a 48-unit apartment complex in Brighton, an area that is part of Boston.

There was an average of two children in each unit, providing me with an endless variety of friends and a marvelous childhood. We did not care about boys versus girls; they were just “the kids.” And our backyard and the field behind it served as beautiful places and spaces to play our imaginary games, have picnics in warm weather and go sledding in winter — all in a very safe environment. I remember lying on the warm grass in the field on a sunny spring day with my friends, chewing on a just-picked daisy and thinking about absolutely nothing.

Each of us probably picked a few of the other kids to be our “besties.” Mine were (are) Bruce, Billy and Phyllis. We were inseparable, playing outside together and then cooling off inside with a snack. The apartment doors were never locked. My home was their home; my food, their food.

My father absolutely loved playing with us, and we kids returned his affection.

Recently, Billy texted me that “Phil was the glue of the neighborhood,” and I was immediately touched by his comment about my Dad.

My father’s talent and fondness for organizing parties and other events carried over to the neighborhood. For as long as I can remember, he planned a huge Halloween party, complete with music, hot dogs, best costume contests, games — every possible activity for us to enjoy. Even the neighbors who lived near our complex joined in on the fun. Nobody ever wanted to miss Phil’s Halloween party.

I have been reminiscing lately with all three of my best friends, who now live in Las Vegas, New York City and a suburb of Boston. Thanks to the internet, we can forever be in touch.

May I also say that we all remember each other’s birthdays and send cards and/or make phone calls? Do not tell anyone, but I remember a few phone numbers, too.

And, as always, I have the pictures to prove that what I recall of my childhood did in fact happen.

Thank you, Dad, for giving my friends and me such wonderful memories.

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