Thirty years ago when I was in my early twenties, I was living in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
I had just finished grad school at Lehigh and had received my masters in elementary ed.
My first year out of grad school I was a full-time aide in a 6th grade classroom that had 32 students.
My second year out of grad school I was a full-time aide to an autistic student.
My third year out of grad school I got a teaching position teaching 6th grade.
I was also coaching a club swim team called West End Tide (WET) at the time (now Parkland Aquatic Club), and in the summers I was the assistant pool director (and eventually pool director) and swim coach at Lehigh Valley Country Club.
I was busy!
During those years I became good friends with a guy named Steve.
Steve coached with me at WET and he was a member of the country club where I worked.
I also dated his cousin for a while, and then I married his best friend. That’s a story for another day.
Anyway, I spent a lot of time with Steve and his family back in the Allentown days.
We played a ton of disc golf and actual golf and we went to bars and concerts and sang karaoke and did all the other things young twenty-something kids do.
Steve is one of the funniest people I know. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much as I have with him with anyone else.
He’s just one of those guys that people love to be around. He’s fun and laid back and and always up for a good time.
(well, he was 30 years ago)
Anyway, my marriage to his best friend lasted about a year (I got pregnant, decided to get married, had a miscarriage three weeks before the wedding, and was too scared to call the wedding off) and then we got divorced.
Being my (first) ex-husband’s BFF, Steve and I stopped hanging out post divorce, and a couple years later I moved back to Connecticut, and then we totally lost touch.
Eventually we became Facebook friends. We might have sent a pm or two, but that was about it.
Fast forward twenty-eight years.
Steve still lives in Pennsylvania, he’s been very happily married for many, many years, and he has two daughters.
They are also swimmers.
So last weekend at the swim meet Kristofer and Ingrid were swimming in at F&M in Lancaster, PA, I was sitting out in the hallway because it was like 5 billion degrees in the stands.
There were many other parents doing the same thing.
And as I was sitting there against the wall in the hallway outside the pool bleachers scrolling through Facebook on my phone, I heard a voice.
It didn’t really register at first because I was focused on my phone. But it caught my attention enough to snap me out of my phone haze.
Why does that voice sound so familiar?
About ten seconds later it clicked.
Holy shit. That’s STEVE!
He was talking to some friends.
I’m a lot older, a lot wrinklier, a lot blinder, and a little bit heavier than I was back then.
I also hadn’t showered, and I was wearing a baseball hat.
So when I walked right up to him, interrupted the conversation he was having with his friends, put my hand on his shoulder and just said, “Steve!” I totally caught him off guard.
He had no idea who I was at first.
I mean, it’s been almost three decades since we’ve seen each other and who would have thought the next time our paths would cross would be thirty years down the road at a swim meet with our kids in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
“IT’S SUSIE!” I said to him.
He was stunned.
And then his eyes got huge and he smiled a really big Steve smile and said OH MY GOD about twelve times before giving me a MASSIVE Steve hug. And then another one.
We spent a few minutes catching up until it was time for me to go watch Ingrid swim in her next event.
There are some people who you can not see for years and years and years but the minute you see them it’s like no time has passed.
That’s what it was like last weekend.
I don’t know if we’ll ever see each other in person again.
This is another reason why I’m so grateful to be part of the swimming community.
Because it always finds a way to reconnect you with people who mean a lot to you.
And I’m so SO glad this past weekend swimming helped me reconnect – if only briefly – with my good friend Steve. 💗
That’s awesome! We really all had some crazy times for a few years there…😳
I get back to the Valley about once a year…. I’ll keep u posted on my East coast travels
Be well “old” friend!!
Anthony(tony) Saracino says
Great to hear you have a PA connection, we are GREAT people, come again soon…how about th Bloomsburg Fair (usually the last week of Sept.. been there?? I know you had to do the Allentown Fair but Blooms is BETTER !