my old friends

It was July of 1974 in the summer before Grade 12 and Carol and I were having coffee with her boyfriend at the White Spot on Cambie. We all had summer jobs and we were concerned that we were tied to the city for the summer and weren’t going to have any fun.  Carol explained her plan for how our friends could be entertained during our last summer in high school.

Our group of friends divided into two teams. Each team had equal access to a car. Barb had a corolla, Dob and Hil had VW beetles, Bill had a Triumph Spitfire, and a couple of the guys had motorcycles. Each team had to put a basketball somewhere in a public space in Vancouver. The ball couldn’t be hidden, it had to be in full view. One team “borrowed” a row-boat from the city lockers and rowed to the middle of Lost Lagoon. They hid theirs in the middle of the fountain at the entrance to Stanley Park. The other team’s basketball was placed in the front of a show window in the Hudson’s Bay at Georgia and Granville. Clues were then hidden by the teams around the city to lead their opponents to their prize

Once the game was set up, each team met after work and followed their clues. I remember there was one clue hidden on the roof of the Bayshore Inn, one was in the graveyard at 41st and Fraser (carefully timed for a midnight search) and one was on the stage of Izzy’s strip club. Dob looked 19 and could get into bars before his time. It was an extravagant game created by a woman whose concept of fun knew no limits…

Its been forty years and that group of friends have tried to keep in touch.

It isn’t easy, most have moved away from Vancouver and Lord knows we have all changed since those days climbing up the fire escape of the Bayshore Inn at midnight. The last time we were all together was at Carols funeral in 2005. In a couple of weeks it is our fortieth high school reunion. I wasn’t going to go.. As you know, I am hard pressed to leave our quiet little peace of island heaven. But I don’t want to go to any more funerals just to see  my old friends…

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