A number of months ago I had a birthday -- not one of those major milestone birthdays, no, a rather quiet birthday, the kind that can either be greeted with muted enthusiasm, or as the dreaded ticking of Father Time's clock. The water torture of remembrance, a drip-drip-drip on the wrinkled forehead.
As luck would have it, I was spending the morning with my sister in my apartment. We were on the floor, side by side, doing Pilates.
That we were together at all, let alone doing Pilates, was a small wonder in itself. Normally, we see each other infrequently....and certainly not in the supine position.
After she left, I remembered that it was exactly 50 years earlier that she had treated me to a birthday movie, Fanny, starring Leslie Caron, Horst Bucholz, Maurice Chevalier and Charles Boyer. One of those terribly romantic tales of young love, illicit sex and its aftermath.
When the movie ended, and after we wiped away girlish tears, we strolled in the warm autumn sunshine and marvelled at the trees ablaze in gold. I thought we would then go home, join the rest of the family for a simple meal, and a lovely chocolate birthday cake with candles and presents.
I was in for a surprise, because when I walked through the front door, my classmates jumped out of closets and thrilled me with the whole concept of secret planning, and successful surprise parties. This was to be my first -- and last -- such affair, but it was memorable. Thinking back on it, still damp in my tights and top, and sipping milk, I remembered that someone gave me my very first 45 -- The Four Seasons' hit song, Sherry. I was well familiar with it, although Frankie Valli's name did not trip off my tongue quite then. It was only a matter of months before he loomed larger than the group.
So, there I was, teetering on the precipice, one year away from official "teenage" status, and in possession of Sherry. I played it endlessly and to my mother's chagrin, I sang along with the falsetto voice.
Flash forward again to me, my tights, my now-empty skim milk glass, and I was gobsmacked. If I was blankety-blank years old now, just how old was Frankie? I googled him, I Wiki'd him, and almost passed out -- 77 years of age!!!
Gawd almighty. Gawd, gawd, gawd. But, he looks pretty hot and cool for a septuagenarian. Still an Italian hottie, I'm sure, and also, he really is quite a bit older than I. (Whew).
I felt very lucky. That my sister and I spent that time together, fifty years later, in relatively good health, that we giggled and enjoyed ourselves. That I was able to recall a much earlier happy memory with her in a movie theatre -- I really did and do count my blessings.
The cherry on the cake, is having Sherry still in my life, as well.
In fact, as peer group members drop like flies around me, it is especially comforting to know Frankie is still out there.
Dear Frankie, my eyes adore you!