This is Garth, my buddy from the old neighborhood in L.A. shot during our city-wide, walk ‘n talk in wonderful Copenhagen the week before last. I only got to show him a small portion of all that the Danish capital has to offer, but for what’s it worth, I think Garth thoroughly enjoyed what he saw, drank, and ate.
We had reconnected a couple of weeks prior to Garth’s trip to Europe (via WhatsApp) and even if there might have been a smidgeon of apprehension before seeing each other face-to-face for the first time in almost half a century, once we did meet at his hotel here in our Malmö neighborhood, it was only mere seconds, not even a minute, until we synched seamlessly. And so began a week-long journey full of laughter, reminiscence, earnest conversations covering an astonishingly wide range of topics, and some sightseeing in Copenhagen, Malmö, and Stockholm.
Since none of my old childhood pals could point out Sweden on a map or had a clue about how different things were here (back then, anyway), they were usually more disinterested than dumbfounded from hearing my vivid descriptions and stories about cities like Trollhättan, Göteborg and Stockholm.
I remember daydreaming about renting an entire airplane, filling it with my friends from Los Angeles and flying us all to Sweden so they could see how beautiful it was here. Most of my friends back then had barely been outside of the city, much less the country or continent. I’d guess that I was the only one with a passport back then.
I think my smooth re-connection with Garth was in part thanks to our ancient friendship from the 1970s when we both attended Rosewood Elementary and Bancroft Jr High. But it was also in part due to us having childhoods that were periodically dysfunctional and traumatic.We were raised by single mothers and both Garth and I had fathers that deserted early in our lives. And just like my grandmother Agnes played a significant role in my life whenever I was sent off to stay with her and Grandpa Eskil in Sweden, Garth’s maternal grandparents actually lived with his family on Croft Ave during his childhood and teen years.
I would argue that because we both lacked the father element in our youngest years, the void or absence of a male role model might still have a consequential impact on who we are today as 60-year-old men. Yet, for all our shortcomings and epic fuckups as parents, we both agreed about being much better fathers to our children than our dads ever were to us.
In her brilliant song “Norman Fucking Rockwell“, Lana del Rey sings, “God damn man-child…”. Not when it really counts, but a part of me can indeed relate to the description of being immature, lovable trouble.
Our emotional commonalities, history. love of movies, music, food, and travel all made for a remarkable and memorable reunion that I will forever cherish and keep close to my heart.