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A Mighty “Mite” Friendship

Sometime in the winter of 1948, Mrs. Margaret Conti and Mrs. Helen McMullan pulled their little bundles of joy down Surrey Lane in a sled. The bundles of joy were Richie Conti age one (Class of 1966) and Donald McMullan age two (Class of 1964). Little did the kids realize that it was the beginning of a lasting friendship that still thrives today, almost 67 years later.

Rich Conti, BHS'66
Donald McMullan, BHS'64
I lived at 45 Surrey Lane (location of the neighborhood whiffle ball, stoop ball, and stickball stadium). The punch ball stadium was over on the next block.  Donald lived diagonally across the street from me and it was exactly 23 running steps from his front porch to mine, a journey I would literally make thousands of times over the years and also spend thousands of hours there as well. Don was the only child of Frank and Helen McMullan.  I was one of five belonging to Andrew and Margaret Conti,so it was more private and quiet at Don’s house so we mostly hung out there. 

Throughout our school years we went to all the sporting events , religiously visited places like Callaghan’s hot dogs in Fort Lee, Stockdale’s in Park Ridge, played basketball at the Tenafly courts, went to and worked in local movie theatre’s like The Palace (Pop’s flee house) , and the  ones in Englewood, and Teaneck. We played PAL baseball and basketball, neighborhood stick ball, whiffle ball, stoop ball, and went to Fishie’s.  We went thru the teenage years, the dating, the music, and all the confusion that time period brings. 

Donald went off college a year ahead of me, him in Oklahoma and me in New Mexico. We would talk and hang out during breaks, but the visits became less, and less frequent. Both of us married, had children, but always t kept each other updated, never missed a birthday phone call and the years rolled on. Helen and Frank (my first PAL baseball coach) passed away as did my parents, Andy and Margaret.  During visits we saw each other’s children and then grandchildren.  He was my first call when I took my fourth generation to Fishie’s just before it closed. Last year, we took 2 of my granddaughters on a cross-country trip and we visited Oklahoma, and spent some time with Don and his wife Donna. .  By the way, not many people know this, but Don was one building away from target zero in the Oklahoma City bombing. His name is on the wall for his role in rescuing a great many children at the various day care centers affected by the bombing, an action that took a toll on Don’s health.

Well, here we are, March, 2015 and our friendship is still intact , 
67 years, and counting ,

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