September 21, 2010
Memories of my dear friend Christine Wilkens
By Susan Weldon, 1960
i moved to levittown in august of 1953 in time to start 6th grade at northside school. my teacher was harry baumann (be still my heart) and my new best friend was christine wilkens. our friendship lasted for many years until i lost track of her when she moved from levittown some years before her death.
i spent more time at chris' house than my own. she lived on chickidee lane with her mom, frances who was a single working mother, her nana and her younger brother guy. frances had been either an aquatic dancer or a lifeguard at jones beach and we spent lots of summer days there fastidiously slathering ourselves with baby oil mixed with iodine. i felt like one of the family, especially when nana yelled at us for various infractions and frances gave us a few bucks to go away.
when chris turned 16, nana bought her a red (or was it green?) MG two seater convertible. it came with very specific rules about when and where it could be driven. the list did not include sneaking out of the house late one spring night and driving into 'the city'. we didn't get caught.
chris and i stayed close after high school. we saw each other a lot the two years i went to hofstra - most often at the bowlder lounge. i went to her wedding (in a slip and a raincoat - but that's another story). i knew and liked her husband lee and knew and loved her children, donna, guy and douglas.
after i moved to new york and then connecticut, we saw each other less frequently but remained connected. i stayed with her when i came from connecticut to our 20th reunion. she was divorced and back on chickadee lane. it was as if we were still teenagers getting dressed and putting on makeup and after the festivities staying up all night rehashing and relishing every moment.
we had many phone conversations over the ensuing years. chris had some tough times, but was always up for a long dishy chat. i knew she was selling the house and moving to glen cove or garden city or somewhere and assumed she'd call when she was settled. she didn't and i'm sad and ashamed to say i didn't try to find her.
i'm not sure how i found out chris had died, but when i did, i somehow tracked down her daughter donna and phoned her. she was happy to hear from me and gave me the great gift of telling me that chris remembered our time together with joy as i still do.