Sunday, October 25, 2009

Gary and Me

Milan 915 Morgan-2

I met Gary Lundquist almost the first day we moved into 915 Morgan Avenue North Minneapolis. I was about to start 1st grade. Gary was three years older but we became fast friends. He lived in a 4-plex about five houses from our 4-plex. We were back and forth to each other’s houses constantly. He took me to the Lutheran church in the neighborhood where I attended all the way through 7th grade confirmation class. Gary was legally blind from birth and had a glass eye, which always fascinated me, watching him take it out and put it in a glass of water before he went to bed. When we were in 9th grade Gary got me involved in a weightlifting studio run by Alan Stephan, a former Mr. America. I was an usher at his wedding and got to go along on many adventures with him and his older cousin and friends. We lost touch except through my mother who liked Gary and always remembered his birthday and sent Christmas greetings. We did reconnect briefly in 1995. Gary was in a special education program at Marshall High which had many of the sight-impaired kids. He graduated and took a course to become a baker at a vocational tech. college in the city, after which he worked as a baker at the North Side Bakery on Plymouth Avenue for many years. I was amazed when I saw him after so long when he told me that he had actually been able with his one good eye to pass the test for his driver’s license when he was in his thirties or early forties. He’s living near his kids in southern Minnesota now. I’m thinking of phoning him up just to say “Hi.”

Gary Lundquist-1995