Tuesday, November 07, 2023

LYNNE, MY SAUCY SISTER

I believe our friends become like our family at some point; that is, if they stick around long enough to get tagged with the moniker of "family." I have a few long-term friends who are the sisters I never was blessed with having. Some would say I was lucky because I missed having to share my clothes, toys and secrets with someone who could get me in trouble by snitching on me. While a sister might snitch, a true friend has lips so tight nothing can pry them opened. My sisters from another mister or two/partners in crime are Lynne, Margie, Lisa, Theresa, Carol, Joyce and Linda.

We meet many people throughout our lives and some of those people have a profound effect upon our lives and destiny. Some people enter and remain with us always while others enter and exit remaining just long enough to alter the path upon which we walk. Although Lynne faded from my life for a period of time, the footsteps she left has remained with me always. I'm truly grateful to Lynne because she entered my life at a point when I needed to be saved...mostly from myself because I was hell-bent on burning the candle at both ends. My demons had led me down a narrow path of darkened, self-destruction and then I met my savior, Lynne. There are many who would disagree with me by saying Lynne fed my demons, but those people didn't see how I teetered on the edge before she came into the picture. They didn't see how Lynne saved my life by befriending me, by extending her hand to pull me away from the edge, by giving me an alternative to my misery. They didn't see my pain, but she did. She may have never totally understood it, but she saw it and was there for me.

To say I was in awe of Lynne is a severe understatement…everyone was in awe of her! She was the quintessential woman every young teenage girl dreamed of being. I remember the first time I ever saw her. When I opened the kitchen door returning home from gadding about and walked inside my house, I heard voices coming from my brother, Brian's work out room. Ever since he had come back from Vietnam with the title of Heavyweight Champion of the 7th Fleet, he seemed obsessed with three things: boxing, body building and women. My middle older brother was Mr. Body Beautiful of Bangor, Maine (a fictitious title I gave him.)  Needless to say, he spent a lot of time pumping iron so he’d have a perfect physique. And oh, how he loved the females to admire him and yes, admire him, they did! I opened the door and poked my head inside to let him know I was home and also to be a little nosy. I wanted to see what female he had back there trying to impress with his biceps and other things!

When I opened the door, standing in front of me was a vision of everything I thought I wanted to be. She was a tall, dark-haired beauty with beautiful brown eyes. (Maybe Bob Seger wrote his song Night Moves about Lynne or someone like her.) Her body was perfectly shaped and she stood confident in her hip-hugger bell-bottoms and a shirt unbuttoned just enough to show some tantalizing cleavage. Her blue chambray shirt was tied in a knot around her midriff to show off her abs. No fucking way! Did she work out also? Later, I found out she was a go-go dancer at some local nightclub and that’s how she met my brother.

She smiled at me as she eyed me up and down. I guess I passed inspection or maybe I failed because she immediately took me under her wing. I thought it was only because she was dating my brother, but opportunities like that don’t come often, so I just played it cool and went along for the ride. Whatever the reason she had for befriending me didn’t matter to me. I was just a kid, but the road I walked on with Lynne gave me an education I’ll never forget.

Shortly after meeting Lynne, my brother told her to NEVER give me any drugs. NOT EVER!!! At 14, I was already experimenting with most illegal substances, but the availability seemed to widen immensely as soon as she came into my life. Although she never gave me any hard drugs and didn't do any herself, being in her inner circle gave me the contacts to get anything I wanted. She and I would occasionally smoke a joint together, but that was more a social thing to do than it was to get high. Smoking dope for me was never really any big deal…it was just something everyone did. Adults had their cocktails as a social lubricant and the younger generation smoked weed. From where I stood, everyone appeared to get lubricated somehow!

When my brother and Lynne broke up, we continued being friends. In fact, by that time we spent most of our time together. I was blinded by Lynne’s aura, but I doubt if I had seen my role in the grand scheme of things it would have changed anything I did. I saw Lynne as my ticket out of Bangor, Maine and so when she suggested leaving, I jumped at the chance. She was older than me and was street savvy. I felt safe with her and as long as I was with her everything seemed to flow in what appeared to be a positive direction.

Lynne and I developed a strange relationship on the streets after we left Bangor. I could do as I pleased without any questions asked, but she always insisted on knowing where I was. I complied with her request because she took care of me and for that I was grateful. The streets of Boston became my new playground and Lynne became my guardian angel and surrogate mother. I watched how Lynne operated and she did whatever she needed to do with the grace of a cat to support us, but I was on a need-to-know basis so many things just weren't discussed. I complied by not asking too many questions.

Eventually, I started doing stuff intentionally to piss her off because after all I was a snotty teenager. You know how teenagers can be! I pushed her buttons often, but she rarely got angry at me. I certainly deserved a swift kick in the ass, but she never gave me one. One evening while she was "out," I got into a poker game with a group of guys who lived in the same building as us. They liked to party and so did I. When I foolishly lost all my money, I got cocky and used Lynne as a bet. When I lost, I immediately had an “Oh shit!” moment. I couldn’t believe I had done that! I really caught hell on that one, but I deserved it. Lynne graciously paid off my bet and made the winner a very happy man. I never played poker with that group again but was frequently asked to do so. Go figure!

It was a fast crowd and although I was readily accepted into it, there was an unspoken rule that no one was to mess with me in any way. I was COMPLETELY OFF LIMITS! I simply became the one who everyone liked to laugh with, hang out with and get high with. And Lynne was the one they all lusted after. I accepted my role and knew my place. I never tried to actively change it because I knew what I would be going up against. But the day did come when I was noticed first and Lynne was invisible. That day immediately changed everything and my path was permanently altered once again.

I look back on my time with Lynne in those early days with many emotions. It's hard to believe she's gone now. Her Golden Years were filled with some major health problems that eventually led to hospice care and ultimately, her death. The waves of grief that consume me come at odd times and luckily most of them are when I'm by myself so as the flood gates open, I don't have to explain why I'm crying. 

Story to be continued...


3 comments:

  1. This is a truly amazing tribute. I can see why you still weep for her - and look forward to reading more.

    ReplyDelete
  2. 🧡🧡 I'm sorry but what a great friend, adventure and life to look back on.

    ReplyDelete
  3. what a lovely post and tribute; you do her well.

    ReplyDelete