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I HAVE A FRIEND

     Not just any old friend, but a really, really, old, old friend.  I can’t imagine that there might be two people anywhere in this wide, wide world lasting  as friends for 77 years,  with no gripes, or not speaking to one another  — things like that.  (We should check with Guinness, I suppose.)

     During the mid 1930’s, girls’ softball leagues were springing up;  in Los Angeles, over in Glendora and Montebello, over in Orange, in Buena Park, up in Fresno, in Phoenix — just all over.  I can’t remember what team she was with at the time in LA, but my team was the Bing Crosby Croonerettes.  So that’s where I met my friend, Amy Lemmons. After a couple of years she ended up on my team inOrange, the Lionettes, and we were good — World Champions, no less.

      She was tall (maybe 5’8 or 5’9,)  blonde, Dutch, strong, and played in the outfield  — at bat, she could hit those home runs with great authority  and frequency, while I was 5’3 with only 1 home run in my entire career, and it was an “in the park” homer — but never fear,  I could bunt.

     We had some wonderful years playing softball. The team sponsors would take us all over — they would bring the team toPalm Springs, and we would play the guys, and they would have some movie people on the team like Mickey Rooney and Frankie Darrow, and locals like one of the Hicks brothers. We simply had a ball.  They paraded us around to the El Mirador and introduced us to Al Jolson and his wife, Ruby Keeler at poolside.  We spent Sunday for brunch atRogers’ Stables, dinner at Claridge’s Grill, and then the Chi Chi.

     Of course, my Aunt Mae loved all the players, and she would have me invite 4 or 5 of the team down for a weekend — she especially liked to have Amy and the Pitcher, Terry because she joked a lot with those 2 — Terry because she was a finicky eater, and Amy because she was tall, and Aunt Mae was short.  On Sunday we would drive down toTijuanaand have lunch at Caesar’s Hotel.  That’s where Caesar’s Salad originated. Some of the other team mates would have loved to be included, but there wasn’t much leeway when Amy and Terry were on the permanent guest list.

     Let’s get along here now to the late Forties.  I was now a proprietor of the Swallow Bar  inSan Juan Capistrano,  and Amy was off toHawaiito make her mark in life  —  but wait a darn minute, how could she make her mark with a plain-sounding  Dutch name like “Amy Lemmons?”  Doesn’t that just conjure up a big blonde Dutch woman.  No style;  no brains, not much going on, so  NO WAY!  Something’s gotta give.  Change the name and get on with life.

      That is how my friend  “ANNE LUND” was hatched. So now in the late Forties she is owner of  a hotel with a night club just off  Kalakaua on Kapiolani across the street from the Honolulu  Zoo — oh, that’s nice — in Waikiki. And now we have a very gorgeous, tall, stylish, blonde to face the world.  And that’s how she is to this day.

     Annie once said to me:  “At 90, everything started going down hill.”

     I am 6 months older than Annie, born on April 23, 1918, Annie on Oct. 4th.  She had her birthday in October so she was all happy about  catching up with me once again — she absolutely hates it when I am older than she.  Earlier in 2011, she told me she didn’t think she was going to make it to her 93rd,  but  she made it alright, calling me the other day wondering if we have a chance to make it to 94, and she says, but you only have 4 months……..

 

MELITAS FORSTER                                            NEW YEARS DAY 2012

 

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