Once upon a time, about 30 years ago, I handed an alto clarinet to a new girl in the school.  Julie enjoyed band, (she did pretty well with that horn, as I recall) and we got along well – to the point of where we kidded each other.  I told her she reminded me of Stephanie from the NEWHART show – you know who I mean; the dingy blond maid in the Vermont Inn, run by Dick and Joanne Louden.  Julie picked up the idea and referred to me as Michael, also of the NEWHART show – the shallow-minded tv exec. who drove everyone else nuts with his trivia.  It became a thing for us as we played our roles.  Julie was a student just for that year – maybe a bit longer.


Once upon a time, not quite so long ago as that, it became my duty to take my 5-year-old son Steven to the Early Childhood classes which were sponsored by our local school district.  As he and I sat on the floor, another young lad joined us, and I heard that familiar voice, in the proper Stephanie intonation and whine, “Michael!  What are you doing here?”


Yes, it was Julie, now married and with her son Vance.   The reunion for the two of us was fun – we got right back into the joke of being on NEWHART, and our boys played together while Julie and I got caught up on the last few years.


Once upon a time, even more recent, our boys had become the best of friends.  In elementary school, the boys would get together at one of the homes and just go to it.  They played, they talked, they fooled around.  They invented their own games.  Mostly, however, they built things with Legos and Construx or anything else they could get their hands on.  We parents marveled at their ingenuity and at their witty aptitude at building things.  There were cars and planes and boats and rubber band guns, all of which got built, tested, modified and rebuilt as the boys saw fit.


Once upon a time, as the boys got older, their aptitude to build and work together developed even further.  There were video games to conquer, paint ball guns to learn to use (safely, I might add – these boys were not prone to being rash and careless . . .) and so many other things.  Steven got a few lessons in welding from Vance’s dad Brian.  Vance picked up a few things from his time here at our house.  There was always something for the two boys going on – something fruitful and good.


Once upon a time, the boys graduated from high school, and still remained in touch.  Vance stayed in town and developed his own computer business.  Steven went off to college and earned a degree in theatre technology.  Yet apart as they were, when they got together, it was as if nothing had changed.  They boys now talked about constructing careers.  They talked about the finer points of their interests, sharing as only two very good friends can do.  They had their social lives as well, so they also discussed girls and dating – Steven was more active in that area first, but Vance caught up on his own, which brings me to the purpose of today’s writing. . .


And just this weekend, Vance married Alyssa.  Steven was the best man.  We attended the reception, where I danced with Julie – we both took on our NEWHART personas for a bit and had a good laugh.  Who knew, we mused, those many years ago, that our sons would be so tight, such good friends.


For me, it is a fun little quirk in my teaching career; having my son become such good friends with the son of a former student – and for the two families to so much enjoy the whole friendship as we watched it develop.


And so I wish Vance and Alyssa a very happy marriage – and I look forward to seeing what is next for the Vance/Steven connection. And HERE is the happy couple . . . (photo from Alyssa’s page…)
Vance an Alyssa Walsh