14 January 1986
“...So what have you been doing for the last 13 years?” Eivind suddenly asked me.
Wow! Thirteen years had passed since I tried to sneak away in the Dalgard’s Dodge Dart as they left Philadelphia to drive across the United States, and then to travel on back to Norway, following their year abroad. Thirteen years is a resumé.
I began to mention what I did in high school and my jobs: working on the high school and local community newspapers at the same time; how I graduated from high school in 1976 and college in 1980. I wrote for the college daily newspaper and went up the ladder as sportswriter, assistant sports editor, associate sports editor, sports editor, building up my resumé for my journalism career. I worked at a hospital doing medical writing and as a sportswriter for the last four years at a suburban Philadelphia newspaper chain. Sportswriting is always what I wanted to do, even back in the year the Dalgards lived in Philadelphia. However, I found long working hours, low pay, equally praised and criticized. Yes, I had a modicum of success, but define success. For what was lacking in my answer and during those years, was much of a social life. Even to take this week off from work at this time of year was risky.
In 13 years, though, how many friendships had come and gone? I'm 11 months away from my 10th high school reunion... Six years removed from college...Time passes. This whole trip seemed to be about time, the past, history and friends.
Thirteen years. I was 14 then. Eivind was 12 or 13. Eivind and I had gone from wolfing down pizza on Tuesday’s all you can eat night at Harvey’s Pizza Den in Philadelphia with his brother Olav and my brother Albie, to sitting in a bar in Oslo. Little to no correspondence for 13 years. Yet, here we were.
Roll the film reels back to the last frames before the Kleiners left Oslo in 1970. There we are with the Dalgards at our farewell barbecue at their Asker house. A young Eivind and Olav munching on pølser (hot dog, sausage), staring at the camera. They could speak little English, we little Norwegian. We communicated somehow...This family friendship has endured.
And here we were, 16 years later, 13 years later. Adults. Speaking English. Catching up on lost time. Separated by 4,000 miles, 13 years and money for a flight that takes only six and a half to seven hours. Back together again. And... still friends.
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