Thoughts, Ideas and Stories

May 18, 1964 – September 14, 2011

with 17 comments

Bruce R. Miller – 2011

47 years, 3 months, 28 days. Seems like a long time.

17,286 days. That seems pretty long too.

1,493,510,400 seconds. Now THAT seems like a very long time.

But it’s hardly any time at all.

Those measurements of time all equal the same thing; the lifespan of my friend, Bruce Robert Miller.

Bruce and I grew up together in New Milford, New Jersey. We were inseparable from kindergarten through high school and beyond. One year we spent weeks with our legs tied together practicing the three-legged race for New Bridge Elementary School’s Field Day.

I don’t remember where we finished in that race but that doesn’t matter.

New Milford Middle School brought new people into our lives but still we remained as close as could be. Bruce helped out with my massive 26-customer paper route so I could finish quicker and we would have more time to play or watch something on TV. These are also the years we joined the Boy Scouts. Troop 78 met in the New Milford Presbyterian church. It was here that we learned many of the skills and lessons that would make us responsible young adults. Bruce worked hard in scouting, as he did everything in life, and attained the rank of Eagle Scout and became a member of the Order of the Arrow.

I did not reach as high in the ranks as Bruce did but that doesn’t matter.

September 1978 found us in New Milford High School. Now things were getting interesting! Bruce and I got jobs at the local A&P grocery store. When we were old enough to drive, we would go out in his 1977 6.6-liter white Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am. That’s right, the white version of Burt Reynolds’ screamin’ hot rod! That car was stupidly fast; it went from 0 – 60MPH in Holy Crap! We went everywhere in that car; movies, the shore, racing around town. If you saw Bruce’s car on the street, chances are I was riding scrub. I was sometimes envious of Bruce; he had the good looks, the fast car and all the girls wanting his attention.

I didn’t have all those things but that doesn’t matter either.

Years after high school we started to drift apart. Our lives took us on separate but similar paths. We both got married and later divorced. We both moved on from jobs we held for quite a while and had to find new employment that wasn’t truly satisfying. I was living in Florida while Bruce was still in our hometown.  We exchanged phone calls on our birthdays and Christmas cards but then those too ended.

But even that doesn’t matter.

I last spoke to Bruce in April of this year. It was a brief call that only men are able to have. In the span of 10 or 15 minutes we caught up on everything that had happened in our lives. It was like we had never stopped hanging out and I was back in New Milford once again. I’ll never forget what our friendship meant to me and I know I’m a better person for having him in my life.

And that is the only thing that truly matters.

Rest In Peace my friend.

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Written by David A. Ufer

September 26, 2011 at 8:14 am

Posted in Friends

17 Responses

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  1. Sorry to hear about your friend. It’s nice to hear the recognition of having such a strong friendship even if you guys lived in different states and didn’t talk for a long time. A true friendship is just that, one that can survive the test of time.

    Bethann Chadwick

    September 26, 2011 at 9:29 am

  2. Im sorry I know that you lost a good friend, he often spoke of the great times that you had together. I know that he too was a better man for having your friendship, he never forgot it. But you putting it in words would mean so much to him, even though he would never admit it.

    Maryann Koleszar

    September 26, 2011 at 10:38 am

  3. Wow, he looks so much like his Dad in this photo. I still picture him as a kid from when we were all growing up. Bruce was a great guy. Rest in Peace and my condolences to the Miller Family.

    Tom Ufer

    September 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm

  4. Dave, that was a beautiful tribute and a reminder to us all about what really matters in life.

    Lisa Morrison

    September 26, 2011 at 1:42 pm

  5. Everyone has a friend that, no matter how much time has passed, you can pick right up where you left off. A true friend that doesn’t make you feel guilty about how long it’s been since you talked. I’m glad you had such a good friend. I’m so sorry for his loss and for yours. You’re words make me want to call MY friend that I haven’t talked to in so long. Beautiful job, Dave.

    Amy Farley

    September 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm

  6. Wonderful tribute, Dave. Can still picture the two of you through the years.
    Rest in peace, Bruce and my heartfelt condolences to your family.

    Deanna Ufer

    September 26, 2011 at 3:15 pm

  7. Well said my friend. I too have some great memories of Bruce. As kids we were on the New Milford swim club swim team together, hanging out at the card tables and then hanging out again in high school. Memories of Dave and Bruce chasing me, Maryann, Deanna and Kris around NM in our cars. We had some great times and he was always there with a smile and a laugh.I was so looking forward to reconnecting again when I went back to New Milford to visit. And thank you for making my best friend happy. You are and will be missed.

    Kathy O'Brien Gompertz

    September 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm

  8. Dave – What a great tribute to a friend. It is such a shame that as we get older we lose touch with the people we grew up with and spent so much time with. As much as people knock fb I think it is a great tool to use in order to get back in touch with those people who meant so much to us long ago.

    I’m sure he is smiling down on you. My thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family

    Joanne Ozment

    September 26, 2011 at 8:09 pm

  9. Very well written Dave.
    Growing up and knowing the both of you was a great experience.
    Bruce and I last spoke in mid-August of this year, and as usual Bruce was laughing and chatty as always. Our conversations were always like this..
    Weeks of no communication due to different lives, then a phone call where we’d laugh to the point of not being able to breathe.
    I’ll always remember his great smaile ans the blue eyes the girls all loved.

    He is missed dearly.

    Christopher Weismann
    River Edge, NJ

    Christopher Weismann

    September 27, 2011 at 1:25 pm

  10. What a beautiful tribute to Bruce. I worked with Bruce at the A&P also. He was a great guy. We all had alot of fun over the years of working there. We would sometimes just drive around. We would go bowling. We would go to the movies. We would go to the diner. We had a time together. He was a hardworking guy who loved cars and Bruce Springsteen. It is sad that as we all get older and move on with our lives we lose touch with people who helped shape our lives. Goodbye world. Rest in peace Bruce.

    Terri Carr-Amato

    September 28, 2011 at 9:35 pm

  11. David…what a wonderful tribute to your friend. I’m sorry for your loss.

    Dee Jones

    October 1, 2011 at 6:54 pm

  12. Thanks everyone. I read this posting often and I get choked up every time.

    davidufer

    April 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm

  13. I think of him every day.

    Christopher Weismann

    April 25, 2012 at 6:48 pm

  14. Talk about time going by so fast!!
    It’s been a year now since our friend has been gone. I have spent that last year reflecting on all the things I want to say about him on this post, but I would not have engough room. I have not had one day since, where I have not thought of him or heard his voice laughing at one of our many good times together. Although I have so much to say, I believe that the best way to say it without writing a novel would be…

    I miss you brother, your always in my heart and thoughts!!!

    @Dave..no bicycle tire licking please

    Geoffrey Cole

    September 20, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    • I agree Geoffrey. Thanks for commenting. And no more tire licking 🙂

      davidufer

      September 20, 2012 at 10:12 pm

  15. Dave,
    Just a word after reading your blog. First off, Happy 50th birthday!!
    Secondly, if I may, I just wanted to say a few words for Bruce. It’s his 50th birthday coming up tomorrow. Although he is not with us, I will toast to him and think about him as I do everyday. I recently had a stupid fall which required two knee surgeries, the latest being today (in recovery at home). The funny part of that and the timing that it is his birthday now was the original damage to my leg was caused by playing basketball in the court 8 years ago with Bruce and two other youngsters who called us OLD. Well I guess we were old since it got the best of me. So, as I lay here thinking how my mishap occurred, i wish I could do it all over again, if only to have more time with Bruce. So on a closing note, happy birthday Bruce. I miss you brother. I hope you are seeing all this and laughing like we did in the past.
    P,S.
    Thank you for your time Dave.

    Geoffrey Cole

    May 17, 2014 at 12:51 am

    • Thanks for the comment, Geoffrey! Too many good times were had in that court to recount.

      David A. Ufer

      June 16, 2014 at 4:21 pm


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