|Byron, Aaron, and Andy|
(and a photo bomb from my little brother Matt- age 6)
This week marks the 30th anniversary of my friendship with Byron (and Andy, Aaron, the other Aaron, Danny, etc.) and the beginning of the connection of us East End girls with the West End boys. I wanted to mark the occasion by sharing a few memories that often come back to me about that time.
I was about two weeks from turning 14 and I had just stared high school. I attended a Back-to-School sock hop that was the combined mid-week youth activity for several wards that week. I remember carefully curating an outfit of rolled up 501 jeans, keds, and a short- sleeved plaid shirt of my dad’s from which I had removed the collar and capped the sleeves. I was in the process of growing out my she-mullet and still wore braces for two more months, but I did my best to be adorable like an extra on “Happy Days,” and went to the sock hop.
There at the dance I spotted a cute boy in a Bones skate T-shirt. His name was Byron. His also-cute friend was named Andy. We started talking about skating and Powell and Peralta videos and music. Then we danced. Then I learned he wasn’t from the adjoining ward, he was crashing the dance with some friends. He lived and went to school, like, 12 miles from me, which may as well have been China via the city bus, so I thought that might be a dealbreaker since neither of us could drive. I was wrong. When it was time to go home he asked me for my phone number and gave me some m-n-ms and Andy made a joke about the green ones that went over my head and we left. It was kind of like a movie.
The next morning I woke up to the song “Be Near Me” by ABC. I got all fluttery when I head the chorus, “all my dreams came true last night…Be near me…” Later Byron told me he also heard a song the next day that reminded him of me, but he was embarrassed because it was a lame song: “High on You” by Survivor (“Let me tell ya about the girl I met last night…”). hahahaha
So Byron called. We made arrangements to meet up at the upcoming stake dance, which was at my stake building. I was still about a week from turning 14 but managed to get a dance card and go to the dance. I don’t remember much about the dance, but I never missed another dance that year, so it must have been awesome. Our little romance consisted of phone calls, youth activities, dances, and meet ups at various skate spots (concrete banks of washes we just called banks, the fountain at the Uof A, various school campuses, etc) usually by riding the city bus or bumming rides off the parents or Andy ( Andy's awesome squareback, and later The Tempo!).
We were done by Christmas, but we stayed good friends. Byron dated my friend Sooz. I dated his friend Aaron. In fact, the next year when I was with Aaron, we all met up to skate at the Uof A on a half day. We went to Mama’s Pizza for a slice and “My Best Friend’s Girlfriend” came on the juke box. Byron and Aaron started to laugh and said, “This is our song!”—“She’s my best friend’s girl, and she used to be mine!” The memory of them singing that song seared into my mind because it really was very cute.
Our paths crossed and intertwined occasionally after we all went our separate ways for college. We did have a little lonely hearts club reunion around Christmas time in 1999 when I had a broken engagement, there were some divorces and other life changes, and there we all were in Tucson again. We met up at Aaron Smith’s house to catch up and it was pretty sweet. I don’t have tons to brag about in life, but I have great taste in friends. I love that the people I loved at 14 turn out to be even more loveable and awesome at 30, and probably at 50, which is coming right up. So thanks for so many great memories, guys. You made growing up so much fun.