PJ PARTY MEMOIR (Dedicated to Lynn Sher)

Sixteen will never return

But memories are lasered

Throughout the brain’s cortex

Faces, songs, snippets of conversations


Big PJ party in NJ

After living in PA

Until age 15

Now starting new friendships

What better way than to unite

My old and new friends?


Lynn is my new best New Jersey friend

She wants to be an actress

See her here? Long hair, tall, beautiful

And she actually likes me! Me, so boring

So serious

Writing “God is Dead” in my diary

Copying the Existential JP Sartre

Whose name is unpronounceable

Like is it Sart or Sartray or Sarter?

Yet, I should be writing about boys

I have a crush on. But no, cannot do that

Always have to challenge myself, be different

But my Philly friend Arlene, one of the popular girls,

Is impressed with my words (thanks, Arlene!)

And my Philly friend Wilma is used to my nuttiness

(Thanks, Wilma!) We’re singing partners on long summer porch nights

And Madi, my cousin’s cuz, you may have been there too

Laughing along with me. We both loved to laugh (thanks, Madi!)


Lynn organizes us

She says, “Let’s put on the ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ album

And do the parts! I’ll be Ann Margaret!”

So here are a bunch of sixteen year olds

All kinds of sizes, all kinds of faces

Lined up on the Broadway stage of my parents’ new home

Singing, “Did you hear about Hugo and Kim? Did she really get pinned?

Did she kiss him and sigh? Did he pin the pin on? Or was he too shy?”

Oh, how I secretly craved to have a boyfriend like Hugo who loved me!

Oh, how I now realize we ALL secretly craved to have a boyfriend like Hugo who loved us!


We danced the next hour, singing and laughing

My poor parents had to work the next day

But they battened down the hatches in the bedroom

And let us let loose


After pizza and soda

(No one knew or cared about cholesterol back then)

It was “West Side Story”

I wanted to be Anita

Sultry Rita Moreno

I knew all the words and it was my party

So I was Anita and Lynn was Maria

Then we became the Jets

Shining as we did “Cool”:

“Boy, boy, crazy boy, stay loose boy!”

Broadway, watch out for us!


In order to wind down we did

The “She looks like she’s asleep thing”

One person stretched out on the floor

The rest of us circled the “body”

Dark room, quiet

Each of us repeating from the previous:

“She looks like she’s asleep”

“She may be asleep”

“Do you think she’s asleep”

Finally ending with


Sliding two fingers from each hand

Under the “body” and lifting her up into the air!

Far out! What a magical group we were!

Levitators extraordinaire!


Eventually, most were stretched out on the floor

Gently snoring, eyes dancing in REM mode

I rarely slept and Lynn was the same

We went into my room, sat on the floor

Me smoking, she not

And talked about our futures

I would be a best-selling author, of course

And Lynn would be an Oscar-winning actress


The following week she called me from the hospital

Saying her mouth was bleeding and she had dark bruises

On her thin arms and legs

I went to the hospital next day

And we talked and laughed

Although her eyes were like full moons

Sailing through a purple-bruised sky


The next day another NJ friend called me

To say Lynn was dead from Leukemia

How to bear never to be able to laugh and talk to Lynn?

It will get easier, I was told

But this happened exactly 50 years ago

Why are tears trailing down my cheeks

As if it was yesterday?


© 2014 ViataMaja, Laminas (Poetic Memoirs)