Two American Boys is Michael K. Bauer's memoir of growing up in Virginia Beach in the late 1950s and
'60s. Best friends Mike and Rick spent their days playing in area fields and water, playing baseball, learning to shoot guns and about nature
- both the animals of the region and the girls around them who were turning into women.
School was never a major focus for them, just another duty children had to survive. Their loyalty was to each other, their families, and the area they were growing up in.
As the boys grew up and were ready for high school, Rick moved to California
with his mother, a single woman who needed to move where the jobs were. As is common, they kept in touch for a while, then contact dwindled.
As Mike finished school, he continued to love baseball and achieved some accomplishments
as an athlete. Par for the course for boys in the '70s, he was drafted into the Army as Vietnam was heating up and the
U.S. military needed more men than were volunteering. After basic training, Mike was sent to Korea,
where he learned that Rick was in Vietnam. He had a bad feeling about Rick not coming home.
After the service, Mike went to work for the post office, became a father himself and went through several marriages.
He attempted to track Rick down through the Internet and other sources unsuccessfully. Finally, after years of trying, he found his childhood friend and was reunited with him.
Readers who grew up in the 1950s and '60s will find this memoir interesting. Bauer
possesses a real ability to remember the details of his childhood in that era; readers will find themselves nodding their heads in agreement as he relates
a typical American life in those times. He grew up loving family, sports and
country, and this book reflects that. Recommended for readers who are nostalgic for their own childhoods, and for those who had a best friend who they lost then refound.