Sarah Fink ~ Our Childhood Together
by Cynthia Cartwright
Sarah Anne Fink was born on August 12th, in the Summer of 1963, to Pete & June Fink of Hamburg, Pa. Our parents lived in an apartment building on State Street, & were friends. Exactly two (2) weeks & 4 1/2 days later, I was born, August 30th, 1963. As soon as I was brought home from the hospital, I was with Sarah. We were put together in cribs & playpens...the start of a great friendship.
We both remembered many things about our "Baby Days". The apartment we lived in is still there, above what is now Hecky's Sandwich Shop. Back in 1963, the building was owned by a family friend who ran an appliance store where Hecky's is now.
We never quite remembered moving out of that apartment, but we were not kept from one another. Sarah moved to her Grandmother's home (Father's side). Nan was a great person to us two. We always talked about the time her Uncle from Kentucky came to visit, which he did just about annually, & he always brought Duke, the Great Dane. We loved that dog! One time, Pete & her Uncle were going to partake of an after dinner pipe. (Tobacco :) ) Sarah & I played a prank on them by filling the pipes with fish food from the aquarium. We got into some trouble, but was it funny!
We went through grade school together. It became a little harder to be with each other when school was in, but we still managed. Our parents were really great at letting us spend alot of time together, at least until we entered our teens. Holidays spent together...weekends....& oh the Summer! We adored the Summer. Summer meant warm weather, sunny days to go exploring our little world outside where we both loved to be.
When we were still quite young, our parents had a cleaned out section of a river front site along the Schuylkill River, back past the Kernsville Dam. That spot is located directly in front of where the bathrooms are now. Only back then, there were no bathrooms. Our parents put white sand down to create a beach front where we could play. The water was lined off so we had a section of water to play in without getting too deep. Our Dads wedged a picnic table inbetween two trees that grew real close to one another, & they really made it an oasis. We had a wooden boat dock where Pete would keep his boat. Our parents liked to water ski. We loved going for boat rides, as long as Pete wouldn't devil us by taking us right up to the dam's bouys. The Hurricane Agnus came along & destroyed it all. The white sand got washed & blown away, the river took the dock out & the flooding devastated the area. That was the very sad end of our Summer fun at the Kerny.
But we survived, as most kids do. Our creative imaginations were a blessing. Without them, we'd have been two sad & bored kids. We'd create big tents out of blankets & sheets & my Mom's chairs. We'd play outside & pretend we were Indians, or Vikings, and oh the Three Muskateers! Don't ask because there was only ever the two of us, except on the rare occasion a neighbor kid, or friend would come along. But that was a rarity. We'd go play in the creek down front of my house, & when we were a little bigger that my Mom would trust us to go exploring a little ways from the house, we'd go back to the culvert to play in the woods & the creek. One of our favs was this old cabin back there. It use to be for the forest rangers, but it still had some of the things inside & we use to check it out all the time. We were leery because a good-hearted Vietnam Vet who was homeless use to live back there, moving from one spot to the next. We use to sneek food & drink for him & leave the things for him in certain secret areas that only the two of us & the Vet knew. On occasion, we'd spy him on my property, up in the wooded section, waiting for food & drink, & we'd find a way to sneak it to him. He never got close to us or spoke to us. Guess in after thought he knew it was the best thing to do. Then one day there were stories about people finding "a bum" dead somewhere in the area. We hated when people use to call him or anyone homeless bums! Well, we figured it must have been the Vet cause we never saw him again & our stashes of food & drink were never touched again by him, just critters.
These memories can go on & on, story after story of wondrous adventures of many things, including our horses, my Dad's riding tractor ;), & so many others it would take months to write it all down. To those who knew Sarah & me, many thought we were strange, not girly enough, etc. But we still had many other friends, just not anyone who came around, mainly from school & Hamburg.
Then we became teenagers & all hell broke loose in the town of Hamburg. We both got into experimenting with many "things", but we survived. My escapades became public knowledge quickly, but I guarded Sarah & her "doings" from most people, not wanting to have her hurt by confrontation, especially with the family. I really showed my love for Sarah when my "doings" became public. When her family found out, & the more they heard about me, they really turned a cold shoulder on me & my relationship with Sarah. I'll never forget stopping by at Nan's to see Sarah & Nan was not pleased to see me. Even told me she wasn't there a few times when I knew she was cause Sarah would sneek phone calls. It broke my heart to see the look in Nan's eyes when she looked at me. That's something that has stuck with me all these years. I can see her standing in her doorway, looking at me with those hateful eyes like it was just yesterday. But, I never told her family what Sarah was up to or who she was hanging with. My job was to be her friend & her protector. I won't go into details because I promised to go to my grave with the knowledge, & I will, but I'm sure she's let the perverbial cat out of the bag at some point. Regardless, people were mean to Sarah in the "happy little Hamburg town." I let everyone think that I was the bad influence, even though when it came to the partying, we didn't do it together. And if anyone who lived that time period with us reads this, I'm sorry, but Sarah was my world. My only close friend. She knew everything about me & I knew everything about her. But we survived, just weren't together as often as her family made it real hard to get together.
That was the start of the drifting apart. But I won't dwell on that as my depression needs not be fueled by it. Yes, I live with demons. Anyway, Sarah & I still maintained our friendship, but looking back on it, it's so sad because when two people have what we have, you don't want it to end. It never ended for either one of us. It was evident everytime throughout the years Sarah would pop in for a visit. The look in her eyes was exactly how I was feeling inside also. I continued to protect Sarah from the idiots in Hamburg who attempted many times to beat her up or worse. The never succeeded. Not on my watch. All haters quickly found out to just leave Sarah alone. And here is where I change the subject for personal reasons.
I didn't see Sarah the last few years of her life. I missed meeting her life partner, Carol. I missed their union ceremony in Hawaii. I use to have tons of pics of her & us, but a house fire took those from me. I live in a perpetual state of remembering & missing her. When you get older, you tend to want to reconnect with those from your early years that meant something to you. When I tried, I thought I had found her on MySpace. Then I get the message from her life partner that she had passed about 2 yrs prior. I was devastated. I am still devastated. Time may heal all wounds, but only if you choose to forget until it's convenient for you to remember. I'm not that type of person. Sarah is just as much a part of me as any blood relative I have. The way we speak, certain movements, & that mindset!
I remember Sarah like no one else can. As my friend, my sister...it, well, sorry, I'm trying to end this in a proper way, but I don't think it's going to happen that way.
I am writing this in dedication to her, our life together, & the hope that when this life ends for me, she'll be there somewhere waiting for me. Then we'll be together again. Heck, I believe we're still together.
I don't know if this made any sense to people, but with so many memories & adventures, I don't know how to express them all. To those who know us throughout the years, I'm sure you understand. To those who weren't around us then, I'm sorry if this seems scattered. It's coming from a broken hearted soul who just wants to see her Pal again.
To those of you who have put off seeing or reconnecting with an old friend, I say go...get a hold of them. What are you waiting for? One day may be too late. Don't make the mistake of believing they'll always be there. It's just not true.
To Sarah Anne Fink....my friend, my sister, my pal! Your memory lives on in those of us who love you.
In Sarah's words, "See ya on the flip side!"