A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Brotherly Love

Friends (The Beach Boys song)
Friends (The Beach Boys song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        When my family moved to East Tennessee for a trial see-how-we-liked-it period, we stayed the summer at Tarbett Road Trailer Park in our 17 foot camper trailer.  This was my parents and me with my two brothers and two sisters.  Talk about close quarters, but we had done this often and seemed to survive the situation okay.

        It was the summer of 1966--right before I would start my sophomore year of high school.   I made new friends around the trailer park quickly since there were several guys about my age living nearby.  One with whom I became particularly close to was Fred Tilson.   His real name was David Gale Tilson.  I'm not sure why, but his mother called him David and his father called him Gale.   His friends began calling him Fred and he seemed to prefer that.

        During that summer Fred and I were hanging around so much of the time that my father started calling us "The Glass Brothers".    This name came from the fact that we both wore dark framed glasses which gave us a certain resemblance to each other.  We also had very similar interests, the primary one being music.  Our conversations would often be centered on the popular music of the day--The Beach Boys, Lovin' Spoonful, and The Beatles.   That summer the sounds of the local pop station could almost always be heard if we had a radio with us.

       Though my father's reference to us was made in jest, I did begin to feel this brotherly kinship with Fred. We shared so many memorable experiences.  We had a few downs, but mostly ups.  Sometimes we'd go our separate ways, but when we'd get back together it was like homecoming and all was just as it been when we had last parted.   Fred was about as close to a brother as any friend I've had.

        When Fred became seriously ill in 1994 he tried to keep it from his friends.  Eventually we all knew he might be dying.  I was now living far off in California and couldn't make it to see him, but I called a mutual friend to keep me posted.  When the day came that our friend Tom let me know that Fred was in the hospital, I called my "brother" to say my good-bye to him.

       I could hear the weakness in his voice and could picture him in that hospital bed with friends around him.  The man had a heck of a lot of friends.

      We didn't say much.   He was too weak to say much.   I said, "I love you, Fred.  You've been a great friend to me."

       "I love you too, man," Fred replied in a thin fading voice.

        Those were the last words we ever spoke to one another.  I'm glad those were the words.  Our friendship was the embodiment of brotherly love.

        Have you had a friend whom you loved like a sibling?    What makes a friendship stay true as years pass?    

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  1. Friendships are important in life as there are times one can confide in a friend rather than a relative.
    Wonderful to read.


  2. Poignant post. I guess I have not had a friend that I loved like a sibling. Maybe that is b/cI am so close to my siblings - they are my best friends. I prefer their company to anyone else's - they know me, they accept me, they make me laugh. Shared history and genetics can do that.

  3. I'm all choked up now. I'm glad you were able to tell Fred you loved him before he passed. I have a bff/sister up in Maine. We met at college and we are kindred spirits to this day. Even when I lived 3200 miles away on the west coast, we kept in touch all the time and I saw her when I could, and now we interact daily on Facebook. I don't have any brothers or sisters so a lot of my friends have been like siblings to me.

  4. Your friend sounds a lovely man.

  5. Hey Lee, Thanks for sharing. I am so envious of people who have friends from childhood actually a part of their adult life. Not just on facebook.

  6. Yvonne -- I think it essential to have friends in whom you can confide.

    Ida - It was a sad thing.

    Gracie -- Other than a sister who I was very close to, my other siblings were all about ten years or so younger so I was more like a babysitter to them much of the time.

    JoJo -- A true friend usually remains a friend for life, even if you don't see them often.

    Sally -- He sure did have a lot of friends and many of them didn't even know each other.

    Sydney -- Facebook is nice, but it's no substitute for a real life friend who you can spend time with.


  7. A sad but very good story, LEE.

    I'm sorry about the loss of your buddy, but I'm glad that you two ended on "the perfect note".

    You got me over here with the Beach Boys photo. Like a moth to light, I'll always move toward a reference to the Beach Boys. (And by the way, I still greatly love their song 'Friends'!)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  8. That story brought tears to my eyes.

  9. Very tender and sad.

    Like you, I have moved a lot in my adult life. My friendships are still in my heart, but tangibly gone.

  10. This is such a beautiful story! I've had a few friends who I can count as sisters or brothers. Two close girl friends in particular, both of whom I met after I started college, and the husband of one of them. My girlfriends from high school are friends I'll always have, but for some reason I'm closer with the fewer (really, really close) friends I've made in college. I know those friendships will last--even if we don't see each other for a while, we always pick up right where we left off. I can trust them completely, and they're always there for me... sounds like another Friend you and I have in common. :)

    And my husband is my best friend. But that goes way beyond sibling love. ;)

  11. What a lovely story and you are lucky that you got to say goodbye. Thanks for sharing such an emotional post.

  12. I do have one dear friend I love like a sister. We met in 1969 when I moved to Indiana. We even still occasionally write each other real letters and send real photographs and stuff like that.

  13. Aww, man... this was powerful. I truly enjoyed reading this blog post. Your tribute to him was powerful and I felt like I glimpsed a bit into your lives.

    So sad to see a friend go. Heartbreaking.

    Beautifully written.

    Waiter, drink please!

  14. Incredible story, Arlee!

    No can't say I've ever had a friend but that is probably more about Betty being who she was than anything else.

    I do think the thing that keeps people close year after year and maybe even for a lifetime; are the things they share and go through together.

    Life has taught me not to attach just to let Love have its way and that is sufficient!

    Enjoying the challenge!

  15. Thank you all for stopping in to read my tribute to my friend Fred.



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