Today I lost a “brother:” George Dormody, my first friend outside of my immediate family. He came to my second (third?) birthday with his mom — the only people to attend. I remember he got the huge red pinwheel lollipop and I got the green, even though I wanted the red. My mom said I couldn’t have it, as “George is our guest.” (Yeah: but it was my birthday!!!)
When he was three, he hit my mom with his little snow shovel and spit on her (to this day, no one knows why). She marched him home in disgrace, and then immediately regretted it: his mother was VERY angry and he got in a lot of trouble.
When I was three, he pushed me down the basement stairs so that when I started crying, he could say: “If that’s the worst that ever happens to you, you’re lucky!” (I think he’d just learned that from his mom).
Then, when he was in kindergarten (in the afternoon) and I was in kindergarten (a.m.), he and Mike Doherty (above) were sitting on the Dormody’s fence when I came home from school, banging on the fence with sticks. They happily told me that the Lang’s garage had burned down — and I had missed all the fun. “Spontaneous combustion, that’s what it was!” George proclaimed, knowing I wouldn’t have the foggiest as to what he was talking about.
Then, when I was three, Linda Dormody was born, and I had to share George with a “real” sister. He and I still played together and watched TV at their house (we didn’t have one). I was only allowed to go on Wednesday nights to see “Disneyland,” but it was still fun. I think Lin was too young to watch with us.
He continued to be my favorite friend until I was eleven or twelve and we were playing badminton in his backyard. He had just called me the “bone child” because I was so skinny (those were the days!) Mrs. Dormody suddenly came out of the house and said, “You go home Nancy. Boys play with boys and girls play with girls.” I was in tears, as she made it sound like I’d done something wrong. Shortly after that, they moved away, and I only saw George a few more times again.
Now it seems he died alone in his Wilmette townhouse kitchen, maybe as long as three weeks ago (he’d taken his phone off the hook so Linda couldn’t reach him). He was possibly a suicide, although it’s not yet clear: an autopsy will be performed. Linda and I found out today. That leaves her as my only “true sibling:” we talk on the phone at least once a week, mainly to make each other laugh and feel less alone in the world, especially since her Marsha died in August of 2013.
It’s sad: George had brains, looks, potential — but somehow threw it all away. In the end, he was depressed and lonely in the extreme. Hopefully, he’s at peace now.
As for Linda (aka “Dormo”) and me, a door seems to have shut on our shared childhood. Things won’t be the same again now that George is gone. (Not that we intend to grow up just yet!!)
RIP old friend!