I don’t remember a whole lot about the year 1973. I have a vague memory of pre-school which I must have been in during the first part of the year. I started Kindergarten in the fall of that year. And sometime before that, although I don’t remember exactly when, a new family would move into a house a few doors down from the one we lived in.
I remember being very excited about it because I realized that there was a little girl who was about my age moving in. So I remember that moment when I knew of the family but hadn’t met them yet but I honestly do not remember the actual meeting of any members of the Hawkins family. If I didn’t have that memory of the excitement of a new family, I probably would consider them to be in that small group of people I have known my entire life.
The daughter of that family, Anna, and I became very good friends and school mates. We were on swim team together and hung out together a lot, even after her parents got divorced and she lived for a time with her mother in a distant suburb.
Anna’s father, Larry, was a really cool guy. He always seemed a little bit more cultured than some of the other parents and was forever taking us kids to really neat cultural activities. Sometimes it was classic movies at the Detroit Institute of Arts, sometimes it was to quant little French pastry shops. Sometimes it was Eastern Market. Sometimes it was a visit to the Renaissance Center just so we could experience urban Detroit. If there was something urban and hip in the 1970’s, he seemed to know about it. I don’t know for sure but I suspect that he was behind a trip our families took to see the King Tut exhibit in Toronto. He used to let us watch Saturday Night Live when I went over there for sleepovers. He always respected children’s intelligence and encouraged not only his own kids but also the neighborhood kids to spread our wings.
Anyhow, I got a phone call from Anna on Tuesday night. Her father, Larry, is very ill and she says that it is pretty hopeless and she is probably going to have the hospital turn off life support today. I am really sad.