Saturday, May 14, 2011

Talkin' To Myself Again

For the second Friday in a row, I found myself driving for work purposes and running backwards through the narrative of my life to a point about which I had not thought in a long, long time.  I spent a portion of the day in North Plainfield, only a mile or three removed from the corner of W. 7th and Park in Plainfield, which is where this great adventure in the law began close to two decades ago.  The firm at which I was first a clerk and later an associate has been gone for a long time now.  One of my former bosses went to prison.  Two of them have died.  Three of them either surrendered their licenses to practice law or were disbarred.  It was a hell of a place.  Someday, someone far more capable than I am will write its story.  While it shall be a work of non-fiction, upon reading it the reader will never be 100% certain that what happened there could have happened there.  I assure you it did. 

On my way to the Municipal Building in North Plainfield, I passed by what was once upon a time a National Westminster (Nat West) Bank branch on Somerset Street.  It is a Bank of America branch now.  Nat West is where my then-employer had its accounts.  Every two weeks when we got paid we would race as fast as we could to that bank to cash our checks.  Why?  Because pay day at our firm, while firmly etched upon the calendar, was a wholly theoretical proposition more often than not in the eyes of the two partners who (mis)managed the firm.  Last one to the bank more often than not was the holder of a completely worthless pay check.  Shortly before I left things had gotten so bad that it did not matter when you got to the bank to cash your check.  Timing was no longer everything.  It was nothing at all.  A considerable amount of time passed after I left that job before I no longer expected to hear a teller's voice crackling over the loudspeaker at the drive-thru window, "Mr. Kenny, please come inside.  There seems to be a problem with your pay check."

When I wrapped up my visit in North Plainfield, I headed up into Passaic County to do a bit of hands-on investigation in another case.  My route there took me down Valley Road in Watchung.  I smiled as I drove past the sign for "Sunbright Road".  My friend Dave, who was the Best Man in my wedding as I was in his, used to live up there.  I cannot count how many nights when we were in college that I spent - along with Andy, the third member of our little traveling band - crashed in the spare bedroom at his house.  Among two of my most favorite people on the planet of Dave's parents.  Stan and Mary morphed effortlessly into the role of "alternate" parent for me whenever I was out of Mom's jurisdiction.  Simply remarkable, wonderful people.

Dave and Christine have been married close to twenty years now - raising a family of their own in Maryland - and it has been close to a quarter-century I guess since my feet have felt the driveway at 92 Sunbright beneath them.  Yet in an eye blink yesterday, a million great memories came rushing back out of the far recesses of my little brain. 

And I passed the rest of my drive to Passaic County with the radio off in the car, just driving and thinking of the stories we could tell.....

....and smiling.


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