I sent out invitations to a ``Special Assembly'' during which I was to carry the flag; actually any flag!
I had used the Internet phone directories and various websites to search for my childhood friends whom I hadn't seen since 1963 when my family moved out of the neighborhood. Almost every person I contacted had some information that would lead me to other members of our old gang.
I even ended up inviting some "strangers" whom I met online who had grown up in my neighborhood when I was there. One of them turned out to have been one of my big brother's best buddies in elementary school.
In reality, no one was a stranger as we all shared the same great memories.
It was a clear, sunny day as people came in carrying old photos, autograph and yearbooks and even report cards. And many brought American flags of various sizes
That friend of my brother was, at 52, still upset with a grade he had received from Mr. Gutes in 1957. He proceeded to campaign for a better one and he got his wish right in my dining room.
As I was planning the party, I learned that Spalding was about to reintroduce the pink Spaldeens. But they would not available in area stores until after the party. So I contacted them via their website and inquired it I could buy just one ball to hand to Mr. Gutes. Spalding really came through for me with a free box of balls to distribute at the party.
And, of course, an impromptu game of punchball commenced with a bunch of middle-aged players running up and down my street as their former coach yelled, "higher!" as he had done all of those years ago.
I was in my glory bcause I was finally able to celebrate my thirteenth birthday, albeit 35 years later, with my REAL friends. We had a big cake with pretty pink icing roses. And I proudly wore a pink ribbon Bazooka Bubble Gum corsage with all of those pretty silken winged butterflies.
We are now planning to go back to East New York to play stoopball and stickball.