Fremont Avenue was the first apartment I had. I moved into the second story of an old, old house in a rather suspect side of town my first year of nursing school, at age 18. It had one bedroom, one kitchen, a bathroom, across the hall, no closets, only 2 small wardrobes. It was heated by small gas heaters you had to light each time. Insulation was not this old house’s stong suit, but I loved it’s character and the independence it gave me. I was the only tenet upstairs.I walked or rode the city bus everywhere I went, including to the University of South Carolina. That is, until Cynthia. In this delightful place that holds some of my most fondest memories, began mine and Cynthia’s adventures. And boy, did we have them! She loved the fact that I was independent and living on my own, so of course it wasn’t long before she decided she wanted to move in with me. I thought it would be great to have her around. We were already fast friends, inseparable at school and besides, she had a car – of sorts, a blue Nova. The only draw back I saw was that Cynthia was somewhat of a clothes horse. She was always immaculately dressed; always so fashionable and gorgeous. I on the other hand, had little money to spend on clothes, much less the style she seemed to carry herself with and I had only two small wardrobes! I told her “Cynthia, you cannot bring all of your clothes! There is no room for them. I only have two small wardrobes and no dressers, nothing! You have to be sensible!” She, of course, swore that she understood and she promised she would pack lightly. She wanted so much to move in. It was going to be so much fun! Moving day arrived and lo and behold Cynthia drove up in her little blue Nova and pranced around the car with a big grin on her face. I looked in the car and saw just a few boxes; “I am so proud of you,” I said. She grinned sheepishly grin, “well….,” she said, and stuck the key in the trunk in her car – it exploded into the street!! Clothes spewed everywhere! It happened so fast and furious, we both collapsed in the street, laughing so hard we cried! I don’t remember how long we stayed in the street (literally) with laughter, but even today it makes me smile. I can still to this day, see that whole scene unfold on Fremont Avenue. Needless to say, we bought an extra clothes rack, which sat in the kitchen, to hold Cynthia’s clothes. That was the beginning of many, many belly laughs. There is still no one that can make me laugh like Cynthia did. Fremont is where I discovered her penchant for pretty things, especially home decor. I remember the very next week coming home to a new table cloth, candles, little decorations to brighten our little apartment up. I was the practical one, as long as my apartment was clean, I kept my money. Cynthia, on the other hand, was the Martha Stewart, she wanted things to look pretty. It would be a trademark of Cynthia’s. She would decorate every apartment and home she ever lived in, whether she had the money or not. I can remember her carpeting an apartment once because she didn’t like the floor! Wednesdays at Fremont Avenue became hamburger helper night; we out did ourselves on those nights. It would be years before either one of us would perfect cooking or Cynthia would own hundreds of cookbooks! We nearly blew each other up lighting the gas furnace in the bathroom, both ending up with singed hair and eyebrows! We fought over how to make up a bed correctly, we learned how to share a small space, how to juggle work, school, pay bills and lovers.
In that old, old, cold house on Fremont Avenue, with scant heat, modern conveniences, TV, computers, and little money – we built the foundation of our friendship out of laughter and love and adventure – it was the best time of my life!