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#431: When Were You Happiest?

Friday, November 26, 2010

If you had to choose one of the happiest times in your life, when would it be?

For me, one was during and after high school.

Last evening my dearest and oldest male friend, Jim, called me. We talked for a long time catching up on our lives over the past several months. Our conversation flowed backward to high school when we went to schools emoticon in adjacent towns, dated the same two girls one after another and worked at similar places during school years and summers -- me at a Dog 'N' Suds and he at a rival A & W drive-in hamburger place emoticon. I got good grades, was active in school activities and student government and had what seemed then a lot of friends emoticon. That's also when my bowling career began emoticon.

My family lived in a two-story house on land that was peppered with pear trees. My bedroom was upstairs where there was no heat. And as those of you who know northern winters, it got COLD up there. I'd run upstairs, turn on an electric blanket, run back downstairs for 20 minutes or so until my bed was warm then sprint back upstairs and dive under the heated blankets.

My family ate dinners together, each relating how our days went, how school was, getting teased a bit about who my younger sister and I were dating and overall enjoying the family closeness that has disappeared to a great extent today.

In the summers when school was out, Jim and I would both get off work about 3 a.m., go for an early breakfast, sleep a few hours, get up and play at golf emoticon. Not play golf. We weren't that good. But we tried. After a few more hours sleep emoticon we'd be back at work at 4:00 in the afternoon. I still remember Charlie and Woodie and Carol who worked with me for three years making burgers and shakes and watching the carhops carry trays laden with food to customer's cars to hang on one of the car's windows, like the opening scene from the Flintstones TV comedy emoticon and, in some places, Sonic today.

Our boss was Sarkis Emerzian, an Armenian, who taught us the meaning of work emoticon, even when there were no customers, such as during a blizzard. We'd clean the grease pit, break down and clean the shake machine, clean table legs, windows and every other place that could be cleaned. When asked why he didn't just close up, Sark, as we called him, told us that once a business has set it's operating hours, if it didn't stick to them that one day a customer would come by to find the place closed early and perhaps never come back, maybe even telling friends and family to never patronize that business again. He taught us about work, but we also learned of his home country, his mother he cared for in town and how he came to own his own business.

And he was right about staying open. When the crew thought we should close, invariably one or more carloads of kids from school would show up for a Texas burger or pizza burger, fries emoticon and shakes.

After college, when I lived in Illinois near the Wisconsin border and Jim lived over the line about 30 minutes away, I would regularly drive emoticon to his house and spend a weekend with him and his wife Vicki. We'd drink coffee, play cards, backgammon, cribbage and scrabble. Later in the evenings Jim and I would drift down to their finished basement and sit in front of their wood burning fireplace, sipping brandy, playing chess and talking.

That was one of my happiest times. emoticon
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • WALKINGSPARK
    My happiest time was when my sons were 10 and 5 years old. It was Christmas Time and there was alot of excitement and hope in the air. It made me seem like a child again too!

    Wendy emoticon
    3745 days ago
  • KANSASROSE67
    I believe that my kids are having that same sort of high school life now in our small town and I'm so happy they are. That's the sort of grounding for later life that no amount of technology, "toys" or money can buy. It's why we chose to raise our family here in a small town. Thanks for sharing these memories!
    3746 days ago
  • TKADEEPBREATH
    You story really reminds me of how I grew up in Northern Iowa with the severe winters and closeness of friends. We all fought the weather with unspoken resolve. What was our choice? Chilly football weather that shifted to snowy "basketball" game nights. Wondering about the future and yet enjoying the days filled with the richness of youth and friendship so real, you thought you would never lose touch with these people. They all live in those blessed memories.

    Thanks for taking me back. Sometimes, today takes priority, but my life was shaped by those days and I'm very thankful for my great memories. I am very blessed indeed.

    Talk to you soon, Jan
    3747 days ago
  • YATMAMA
    What a wonderful, wonderful blog, Lou. I love getting glimpses of my friends' histories like this. What a blessing!! Thank you for sharing your happy memories!!
    3748 days ago
  • SPARKLOVE
    All of us have some good memories in the past. It is nice to visit there now and then and re-live them. If we want more good memories in our future we must make them in today. Every day is a new day to make good memories. Hug, Joy
    3748 days ago
  • HIKETOHEIGHTS
    Sounds perfect Lou, old friends make the best friends. Some of my best times are with my old pals as well. Victoria
    3749 days ago
  • IAMWINNING
    Thank you, Lou, for sharing some of your life. One of my happiest memories was from when I was in the 5th grade - about 11-12, I guess. My best friend and I found an old doll carriage frame, appropriated some cardboard, two stout sticks and a couple of rubber caps to put over the ends of the sticks. We used those things to fashion a 'go-cart' which we took turns riding down my driveway (towards the garage). Pam and I had such fun in those days.
    3749 days ago
  • no profile photo YW84FRIDAY
    Thanks for sharing, Lou. Those are some sweet, sweet memories.

    emoticon
    3749 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6035648
    In answer to your question, I think the happiest time of my life when my children were small. I was a stay at home mom, and got to spend all of my time with them. Looking back, even though it was the most hectic with 3 little ones, I had such joy being with them, playing with them, watching them grow.. I would love to have one of those days back again. Now they're teenagers and I hardly get to see them.. Guess I have to wait for grandchildren.. Lol..
    3749 days ago
  • LINDAKAY228
    Great blog and thanks for sharing your memories. Although I had some good times as a kid and an adult, I really think my happiest time of my life is right now. I can't think of any time that I would want to go back to. All my life I was overweight and depressed because of it. Now I've taken charge over the past year and half almost, and am doing things and happier with myself than at any other time.
    3749 days ago
  • KAYATLANTA2010
    I think it is so sweet of you to share your memories with us...
    emoticon
    3749 days ago
  • GRACIE4ONE
    Wow, you're making me go down memory lane, and sadly, I can't come up with any favorite memories at the moment, not from my past (childhood), but don't ask about memories from my present life, with MY OWN family! You wouldn't have enough hours in your life to hear all of those WONDERFUL memories. But, I did enjoy your trip down memory lane. It was awesome!
    3749 days ago
  • ALASKASKY
    emoticon

    What great memories.

    emoticon for sharing.

    emoticon
    3749 days ago
  • BBURGER62
    Nice to hear your good memories. My high school years were not that good. After 30 years, though, more of my school mates are showing up on facebook. It seems time has cured a lot of the pettiness that was part of our lives.

    My happiest times go back to childhood memories of friends and family, and ususally music, and now with my wonderful hubby and sons.
    3749 days ago
  • BOVEY63
    It is so fun to relive good times through our memories. I have recently been in contact, via the telephone with a dear friend's brother (who I haven't seen in over 20 years) and the long conversations have brought back so many wonderful memories. Tomorrow I will be meeting him at his sister's and am really looking forward to it.
    emoticon
    And just to let you know Lou, some new happy memories made include you, your kind words and your spark friendship.
    emoticon emoticon
    3749 days ago
  • JULIEFRANCES112
    You have some wonderful memories. I love reading about other peoples lives, they're so interesting. If I think back on my happy memories I end up focusing on the bad ones instead. So for me the happiest time in my life is right now, not really a memory, but I love my life right now.
    emoticon
    3749 days ago
  • MOMMA_LITTLE
    Lou, you have the best kinds of memories!

    I think my most favorite times (as a kid) were when my brother, Dan and I were alone. He's 13 months older than me, and the neighborhood was pretty full of boys. Dan always stuck up for me, and since he was a pretty good athlete, the kids always wanted him to come play in the lot across the street. They didn't want a GIRL to play with them, but since Dan said he wouldn't play unless they let me, I always got to play, too!

    Thanks for helping me to think of a happy memory back then. We came from a troubled home, but there really were happy times in between!
    3749 days ago
  • LESLIES537
    Ahhh, memories! I loved playing sports in high school and all of the fun times that came with that--camps, away games, tournaments, overnights and teepeeing peoples houses--good times spent with great friends! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3749 days ago
  • LIBBYFITZ
    Sounds like a wonderful child hood! Thanks for sharing.One of my happiest times was when we used to go camping for the summer holidays to a seaside town. My father now lives in that same town on his retirement!
    3749 days ago
  • DAWNWATERWOMAN
    Beautiful blog. Glad that you got to speak with your old friend and have a walk down memory lane. I think that my happiest memories were when I was a little girl during summertime. We would visit my grandmother's farm & would also have fun at home playing outside all day. I loved to write poetry & would take picnic lunches out into the turf field behind our home or into the woods and would read & write poetry and just spend long hours of time daydreaming or playing. Life was so much simpler then. Love ya, Dawn emoticon
    3750 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6400103
    i really enjoyed this, i wish my highschool years were like this :(

    It gived me a warm feeling..

    have a great weekend
    3750 days ago
  • NANHBH
    Lou,

    My 40th high school reunion is coming up next year. The committee is already meeting and planning. They set up a Facebook page for our class, and about 100 classmates are already reconnected and sharing favorite memories! Sure is fun to reminisce like that! I'd have to say that my favorite high school memory was being picked for the girls volley ball team because of my killer serve. I wasn't a good athlete, didn't make cheerleading because I was to uncoordinated, but I sure could serve a volleyball! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    Nancy

    PS - No heat upstairs? Really? I can't even imagine that in Chicago!
    3750 days ago
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