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More about close friends and how they help your life

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This week’s column is a continuation from last week.

When my mother remarried another William S. Allen in Pitman, New Jersey, about 5 miles south of Wenonah, I had to get new friends. I was 12 years old and in the seventh grade. I changed schools and now attended Hurfville, smaller than the New Sharon School where I had been going.

I had to meet new friends and get used to the stares since I was the new kid. It wasn’t hard to gain new friends — I just had to be friendly and receptive.

I learned to play touch football during recess, and I soon learned it can be mighty rough.

I met Bob Dare who lived just one house away from my new home and he was in my seventh grade at school. Alongside of my new home was where Bob Marshall lived. He was older and already in high school.

And then I met Harrie Horner who lived on my street about a half mile away. He was one year younger, but our friendship clicked right off and we became close friends. In fact, we soon learned we agreed on so many things that it was nothing short of being awesome. We even learned that we liked the same girls.

The only drawback with Harrie — he was not much for attending school. I think it was because his mother was hard of hearing and she stayed in her bedroom with the radio volume turned up really loud, and there was no way she could help Harrie.

But Harrie’s retired father from the New York shipyard was the active guardian for Harrie, who had two brothers, but one was married. They all were a handsome bunch.

The rotund father was interesting and comical at times, like the time Harrie wanted to go somewhere, but his dad didn’t want him to associate with the guy, so he called out to Harrie, “You know you can’t go anywhere tomorrow because you have to stay home and help your mother eat that pea soup.”

I heard and it was so funny. I have used it many times when I had some trouble with my own sons.

Another close friend was Donald Boden, whom I met at Glassboro High School and we became close friends. Donald was interesting and different. He lived about 10 miles from our Pitman group, but we all accepted him into our “four-guy group.”

I will never forget the day he surprised us with his “new” black ’41 Dodge sedan. It was a beauty and rode like an expensive car. Donald loved to laugh, and he did just that often. He could find humor in almost anything, and of course we loved it.

I remember the time we tutored Donald about not driving carefully enough around long roadway curves. We told him it helps traction if you keep your car in gear and keep your foot lightly on the accelerator.

Apparently he didn’t quite understand the part about “keeping your foot lightly on the accelerator” and when Donald tried this “new” method of rounding long curves, he had depressed his accelerator too hard. At least he learned, even if it was the hard way.

Bob Allen, publisher emeritus of The Wake Weekly, invites comments at 919-556-3059 or