Friendship Lives Through the Ages

January 21, 2008
By Rachael Perkins, West Brookfield, MA

In a dark garage that smelled liked oil and paint three teens sat around bored. They dreamed of their own band, but they didn’t have enough money for instruments, let alone lessons. Johnny, the athletic one of the group started tapping on the empty bottles on the table that they were all sitting around. Johnny is the type that can play any sport and be great at it. He only wore shorts and t-shirts all of which had a team name on them. He created a great beat. TJ, short for Thomas Jefferson started shaking a cup with hard candies in it. He started making the same beat as Johnny. TJ dresses all in black and has a nonchalant attitude. Frankie is the brains of the group, always dressed in khakis with glasses. He picked up a paint brush and started to sing. Everyone stopped playing their instruments and stared at Frankie. Their jaws dropped; they couldn’t believe that his voice was actually good, not just good but really good. When Frankie heard the others stop, he looked up and turned red. “Whaaat?” he asked. TJ spoke up and said, “Dude, you’re good.”

After hours of playing and writing their own songs, Johnny’s sister walked in. “You guys may look stupid, but you’re actually good. You guys could play and make some money.” Frankie asked, “You really think so?” “Yeah,” responded Johnny’s sister. The group practiced for the next two weeks. When they thought that they wouldn’t embarrass themselves, beside the instruments that they were playing, they decided to play at their school’s band fest. Once, those attending got over watching the band play with their made-up instruments, the crowd loved the band. The girls went crazy for the guys, and the girls’ dates hated the guys. Also attending the band fest was a music producer. The music producer talked to the band after the show. He thought that they were so good he wanted to sign them to his label.

Once their single went on the radio, everyone wanted their CD. One day, they were goofing off in Johnny’s garage making music with bottles, candy in a jar and a paintbrush as a microphone; now they were touring the country, performing a concert every night. They were on every teen magazine and talk show from Ellen to Maury.

The more famous the band became, the more they fought. Each was jealous of how each other was being portrayed. Johnny seemed to be the most popular, TJ the rebel, bad boy and Frankie the geek. Each member also wanted the band to be run a certain way and play a certain kind of music. The record executives wanted to change the image of the band and wanted them to play real instruments. The band had to take lessons on top of performing every night. It was nothing like the band they started together. It also didn’t seem to be the same playing real instruments. After being on tour for two years, the band couldn’t handle it or each other anymore. They each quit the band and moved on to new things and didn’t keep in touch.

Fifty eight years passed when Frankie’s grandson found pictures of the band. Frankie had almost forgotten about the band, but he always wondered how his friends were. After leaving the band, he worked at a computer company, got married, had children, and even grandchildren. He got up the nerve to start looking for his friends. He hoped that TJ and Johnny would want to talk to him, and even start up the band again. He found TJ first. He called him and learned that TJ owned his own company, was widowed and had children. Frankie asked TJ if he wanted to get the band together for a reunion tour. TJ was all for it, they just had to find Johnny. They tracked Johnny down. He was a basketball coach at a high school. He too was married but didn’t have any children. Frankie and TJ convinced Johnny to go back on tour, this time it would be different. They would get along and do things the way they wanted to.

When Frankie, TJ and Johnny met again fifty-eight years later, they couldn’t believe how much each had changed. Johnny no longer looked athletic, he looked like he couldn’t even walk a mile. He had gained a lot of weight over the years. TJ looked older with his white hair, and now wore sweater vests. Frankie looked older but not much different.

Their concerts had changed a lot since they were teens. They were a band of seventy year olds with white hair, Velcro shoes and canes, and they could no longer dance on stage because they could break a hip. The same went for the audience. There were no longer pretty blondes in the crowds but women with thinning blue hair. There was also a new rule, no more lighters were allowed because so many of the audience members had to carry oxygen tanks with them. After a great reunion tour, the group stayed in touch. They didn’t want to lose what was so important to them as they did before: friendship.

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