A Tale of Two BFFs

Rory-the-Dauntless (left), Jeff a.k.a. “Sunshine” (right), and me (bottom)

My Real Memoir

The Jeff-Effect kicked in shortly after I started 2nd Grade. At first, I didn’t know anyone at La Pluma School and barely said a word. But Jeff, nicknamed “Sunshine,” had “never met a man boy he didn’t like,” and naturally assumed everyone felt the same about him. He instantly adopted me as what a later generation would call his BFF.

Not only did Jeff banish my shyness, he became my new template for how to do school. Both for good—other kids loved my stories and laughed at my antics—and for evil—I spent a lot of time in the “I’m learning not to interrupt” corner, and even under the teacher’s desk (it was a thing in those days).

Along with Jeff, I acquired a second family: Paul, Jeff’s jazz-loving optometrist dad, Roberta “Bert,” Jeff’s suburban-bohemian mom, who treated us as intellectual equals (which I loved), and Jeff’s older brother and younger sister. Sleepovers and adventures ensued!

A short time later, I met a boy at the other end of the block. Apart from being frequently mistaken for “the Beaver” (Jerry Mathers), Rory was, in many ways Jeff’s opposite–he could have been nicknamed “Cloudy.” Rory was good-hearted (deeply so), but shy and hesitant. When he became flustered, he’d sometimes stutter and then become even more flustered (I based the young hero B’frona in The Wishing Map on him). But there was something in Rory that filled in the other missing part of me and so, along with Jeff, he completed our fearsome threesome. I now had two BFFs!

But Rory’s family was a different story. His stepfather Donald rarely smiled and mysteriously came and went. And his mother Pat, although young and pretty, seemed perpetually anxious to please her husband. When I slept over at Rory’s house, she’d tuck us in wearing a low-cut negligee (my first lesson in female anatomy), but it was for Donald, not us. Still, she was kind and patient–unlike Rory’s father. Rory often couldn’t come out to play because, like Cinderella, he was cleaning his half-sisters’ room (sweet girls and not to be blamed). Yet, for his labors Rory never seemed to receive any allowance (I gladly footed the bill from my paper-route money). Only years later did I learn that Rory had been horribly abused by the man he now calls “the Monster,” a serial adulterer and narcissist.

So, Jeff and Rory, thank you for the sunshine and the clouds. Jeff, you set free the sunshine in me. Rory, you showed me how to endure the worst (we still had a good time, didn’t we?) and never give up. By the way, I’m ashamed to admit that, for a time I called Rory my “second” best friend–juvenile thoughtlessness at its worst. I had two BFFs and loved them equally…

And I still do.

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir, The Wishing Map and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

66 Responses to A Tale of Two BFFs

  1. Pingback: Alone Again, Naturally | Mitch Teemley

  2. Lisa M. Boyd says:

    What a great story told so well, the ways we grow in this life! Amazingly beautiful

    Liked by 6 people

  3. My 35 year old son still has his three best friends from school, now they all play XBox together on line late at night, a mystery to me, but amusing that they are still playing ‘computer games’. At the moment they are not living too far apart to visit occasionally and my builder son is their Mr. Fix-it. I don’t think my older son or my daughter have kept up with school friends in the same way.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. pastorpete51 says:

    Isn’t it amazing the lifelong lessons God writes on our hearts when we are small? Thank you for sharing yours!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. DeniseBalog says:

    We never knew the secret things that happened inside our friends homes. Childhood spent walking back and forth to school and embracing the adventures along way didn’t leave time, or like your friend Rory, we didn’t even think to use the time to talk about what went on in each other’s houses. On guard and off the conversation grid. Mitch your story cries out even today. The dark secrets kids know to keep hidden for the fear of the light exposing the truth. I wouldn’t trade our walking to school days for anything. Maybe we all were able to survive because our minds had a chance to run free and cross the creek on rocks instead of using the bridge to help fill in the what if places in life. Thank you for sharing. You stirred up the memories of childhood friends and times for sure 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  6. atimetoshare.me says:

    Twice blessed with two bffs🥸

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Great memories, wonderful told. Thank you for sharing, Mitch! xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for sharing this touching tribute to two childhood friends. I hope both are well and thriving now.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ray Stiles says:

    Who would have know, are you someday in the not to distant future going to go down the rabbit hole with Me and the Wise girls?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Staci Troilo says:

    They say you never know how bright the light is unless you have the darkness for contrast. Rory was lucky to have you and Jeff. I’m glad he survived the monster.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Alan Kearns says:

    A great story of childhood, friendship and growing up. I am thankful for my BFFs, my brothers by other mothers. We are middle-aged now but still a tight knit group. Thank you for the reminder Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. So much in this! What a blessing that y’all had each other! God bless each of you!!🙏🏻💛

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ann Coleman says:

    That was a lovely tribute to two people who helped shape you. Childhood friends are true gifts…and I’m glad to hear that Rory seems to have survived the abuse. No child should have to endure abuse, but it’s more common than we’d like to admit.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Connie Kehoe says:

    Wonderful tribute, Mitch, thanks. I was lucky enough to go out with Rory several times to a dance and party and he was so nice. We were supposed to go to the movies but my stepfather wouldn’t let me and I’ve always felt bad about that because he never asked me out again and I too was shy. I’ve always wondered what happened to him and wished him well.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. No matter the topic, your stories always flow with interesting characters and lessons. Thanks Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Isn’t it intriguing to look back so many years and see the things we didn’t understand back then, but which are clearly part of the story of our lives, i.e. God’s plan for us?

    Liked by 1 person

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  23. Webb Blogs says:

    I have childhood friends that I still keep in touch with. I love hearing stories like this.

    Liked by 1 person

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  46. Wonderful tribute! I love reading your memories,. I look forward to them. Thank you Mitch😊


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