The 1970s were a popular time for mama’s to be naming their baby girls Amy. In my small class there were five of us. Amy K and I took to each other immediately.
In high school I spent a lot of time with Amy. Amy with her tall, lanky frame and cropped, thin hair, pale skin covered in freckles and a face framed in glasses. I stood 8 inches below her with long, curly hair, dark skin and facial features all too big for my small face. I’m the Janeane Garofalo to her Uma Thurman. At her house we went by the names Mice (Amy’s parents had dubbed her “Mouse” as a baby), Amy squared (her dad was a math teacher) or just plain Ames. Among the Herd we were Big Ame, Little Ame and Sarah always used Amy K and Amy F.
Amy’s birthday is one month after mine and when she turned 21 we celebrated at Kitty O’Sheas. For whatever reason – I couldn’t tell you why – we adored Kitty’s. It very quickly became our favorite spot to gather when we were home for college break.
After graduation I moved in with my dad, Amy with her mom and Kate and Sarah had apartments almost walking distance from the pub. Erin was a little farther north and didn’t make it down as much. Friday and Saturday night, Kitty’s was our place to be.
Maybe it was because we had easy jobs while Kate was running campaigns, Sarah worked nonstop and Erin made middle management at 23, but Amy and I felt compelled to go out. Often. On a whim, we declared Tuesday nights “Kitty O’Sheas” night.
And then we learned that they had live music on Sundays. Who can pass up live music?
And then we decided that the weekend really starts on Thursday, not Friday.
So let’s recap: Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday had become “Kitty O’Sheas” night for Amy and me. Usually on the weekends we would get the girls to meet us too, but most nights it was me and Ame.
“It’s me and you, Ame. Me and you.” That was our mantra.
Obviously it didn’t take long for us to be recognized as regulars, particularly since there were only four bartenders ever working – four cute boys from Ireland who all lived in a house down the street: Paul, Jerry, Nipper and Declin. We’d walk in the door to the tiny pub and hear a cheer in that distinctive Irish accent “Eehhh! Amy! Amyella!” Well, that’s what it sounded like anyway. And they’d pour our drinks before we got to the bar: 2 shots of Sambuca, 2 pints of Bass.
We smoked too much, drank too much and made jokes about signing over our paychecks to Kitty O’Sheas, though in reality we never left there with a tab higher than $30 even though we each put away at least six pints and a shot every night (don’t ask me how I stayed 110 pounds. I don’t know. ) On more than one occassion I woke up face down on the floor of the boys’ house, went to find Amy and told her we had to go to work. I think we only called in sick once as a result of too much Kitty’s. Most days we just shook it off. Ahh, youth.
We managed like that for over a year, until I started going back to school at night for my Master’s degree. It finally became too much. I still held my own on the weekends and still got greeted with a drink and a cheer when I arrived with my cohort, “Eehhh! Amy! Amyella!”
As it turns out it was always “Amy, Amy eile” in Gaelic. Or, “Amy, the other Amy” translated. I don’t know which of us was “Amy” and which was “the other Amy”. I’m not sure there was a distinction, actually. At some point, though, I just adopted the moniker Amyella (the phonetic of Amy eile) as my own.
I do miss having a place like Kitty O’Sheas and company like Amy’s. Just thinking about it makes me want a pint.