Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Reuniting After 25 years

A diary can be a record of all things, and if kept religiously from the time you first learn to put your thoughts to paper until the time that you must finally retire the pen, it will provide a personal history of your trail and those who traveled with you at different times of your life on this wonderful planet. Some of us lucky ones get to reminisce from time to time with our early co-travelers, and with that our memories come alive and remain as treasured keepsakes, like personal time capsules buried in cedar boxes under rosebushes in our backyard.

I first met Ira in Queens College in the 60's in summer night school taking French class. Those were glorious times and we spent our breaks singing Peter, Paul and Mary and Eydie Gorme and Steve Lawrence in the halls when we weren't ranking out our insane French teacher Dr. Paul. Ira had the makings to be a psychologist or a great teacher because he knew how to listen and advise without being preachy, and conversations with him made me think twice about the 3 carat diamond engagement ring I was wearing at the tender age of 18. I was engaged to a "Mr. Rich" and was getting trouble signs everywhere I turned.

Life moved on as it will. I broke off with Mr. Rich, married Hy, and Ira and I went our own ways. These were not the good times for the country or for any of us.There was the long drawn out Vietnam fiasco and the price freezes and meat freezes and gas shortages and rampant inflation. Then one sunny day, while walking the streets of New York in the early 80's, a voice said to me,"Parlez-vous Francais?" I looked at him and he said,"You don't know who I am, do you?" It had been 15 years, and now hidden behind a moustache, there he was.

The landmarks of our life are marked by those who find us and want play catch up. We can sit and talk and review old memories, talk about what we are doing now, and happily discover that our good easy feelings for eachother are still there.Ira was teaching and creating beautiful jewelry and I was writing with Harry and planning to move to Florida. I enjoyed the ride in his van to Central Park one weekend to watch the crowds eying and then purchasing his silver creations and on the ride back, we even sang our old favorite, "Two Sleepy People" by Steve and Eydie.

Twenty-five years have now passed and he has once again found me, this time via the internet. No, it cannot be that so much time has passed. And how blessed to have someone in your life care enough to find you after a quarter of a century!

We shared pizza and memories on Lincoln Road and found that we still like the same foods, no red meat, no red wine but Zinfandel is okay, are still on the same page politically-we can't stand all the candidates, hate doctors and look to natural cures for illness. Ira came to see my place,the minerals and tribal treasures and enjoyed it all. Then, he told me to play something on the piano,and of course we both like the Bee Gees.

"Hey," he asked, "Do you remember that song?"
"Sure, I do," I said, and we both started to sing, "Here we are out of cigarettes..."

It was a moment that took me back to Steve and Eydie and the halls of Queens College some 40 years ago. How sad that so much time has passed, I thought. But how sweet that such a cherished friend could return to say hello,to take a long walk back in time and to help reopen that old diary.