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A Piece of Childhood Slowly Fades Away as More Friendly’s Restaurants Close

With my sister Beth and brother Jeff at Friendly’s crying happy tears after he told us he was going to be a dad.

I feel like a part of my childhood is slowly dying and it’s really sad.

You’ve probably heard that the Friendly’s Restaurants at the Oakdale Mall and on the Vestal Parkway will close tomorrow.  Friendly’s is one of my first memories of New York.  I was 8-years-old when I moved here from Washington State and the first place my grandparents took me was to Friendly’s for some ice cream.

My grandpa got locked in my car in the parking lot of Friendly’s. Forgot the child locks were on. Oops.

I remember really hot summer days in church with no air conditioning.  If all of us kids could behave and make it though church without pinching, kicking, crying, making silly faces or doing any of the other things kids do, he’d occasionally treat us to an ice cream after church.

Celebrating Mother’s Day at Friendly’s with my parents

Friendly’s is where I had my very first date.  My very first kiss.  It’s where my little brother announced to our family that he and his wife were expecting their first baby.  It’s where I used to go for a sandwich after garage-sailing with my grandma. I still remember the day when I was a teen and having a highly emotional day and my Mom took me to Friendly’s, just the two of us, for lunch. I fell in love with the song “Groovy Kind of Love” by Phil Collins because the Friendly’s I went to played it.  Over and over and over.  Those were all such special moments.

Charlie, Sammy, Kayleigh and Sarah at Friendly’s

It’s sad when I think about all the places that had special meaning to me that slowly fazed out of my life with each closing. I remember digging through the 5 and 10 bins at Woolworth’s and watching people paddle round in circles on paddle boats at The Carl Company store in my hometown. Those places are closed and it looks like Friendly’s isn’t too far behind.

What store/restaurant do you have special memories of that are no longer around, but you wish were?

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