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Golden Youth

September 15, 2016

On my commute to work in the morning, I gaze at the high school students standing on the bus stop and it takes me back to my youth. Those times are precious for they will never come again.  It is 1985 and while I was still taking public transit, I can’t help but still marvel at the fact that one my close friends at that time had her own car.  It was a blue sporty two door (the make escapes me), with a white rag beam top.  It was a later model car, like ’72 or ’73.  It even had 100 wire chrome spokes! Another one of my close friends, (so that made the three of us) would pile in and cruise anywhere the Milwaukee streets would take us.  We even went so far as to put old pink bathroom carpet remnants in the car to girly it up!  And let’s not forget a pink stuffed bear that sat in the back window larger than life itself.

Our favorite jaunt was to the lakefront of Milwaukee. Any warm day we had after school or the weekends, that’s where you could find us along with every other teenager in Milwaukee. We were the “in crowd” you see. It was innocent, harmless fun and all we really did was congregate in the North Point parking lot, park and car hop as a means of socialization with the rest of the popular clique. Wow! Talk about a great time to be had by all!!!  It seemed that every time we were on our way home from the lakefront fun, my friend’s little blue car would either run out of gas or a flat tire would happen. Without fail, it happened every time on the same street…Martin Luther King Drive. We would just sit in the car and roll with laughter as we had no clue why this street had become symbolic for her cars mishaps. Somehow—though I don’t remember how—we always made it home safely.

There were no smart phones in 1985, just the phone booth inside of the bar on MLK Drive that we all walked into to call a tow or a parent. My friend with the car would get mad at the two of us, because we would be laughing at the situation but not at her, she just thought that for whatever reason. She would tell us angrily as she dropped us back off at home: “I AM NEVER PICKING YOU TWO UP AGAIN!”  Then the next day she would be picking us both up as if nothing ever happened, because the temperature had hit 88 degrees and that was lakefront weather that despite her anger, she could not pass it up. There was no way she could stay mad, and no way we could resist getting in that car . . . and we would do it all over, again and again and again.  Those were the golden days of my youth.

Sonya Marie Bowman is a writer of positive prose for the Milwaukee Community Journal and a published co-author of the book No Artificial Ingredients – Reflections Unplugged. She is a member of Sister Speak, a trilogy of writers who formed in 2010 with a vision of self-expression and a goal of healing. The trio states they are inspired by grace, allowing them to take a genuine position on the struggles and successes of everyday living.

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