“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.”
Anais Nin, French writer
This is the inspiration for my writing about a September visit to New York City for a reunion with my three dear friends that I spent a year of my life with many years ago. Our first get-together was in 2008. At that time we agreed to meet again in five years, so here we are.The four of us met in 1969 when we all lived at the Phoebe Warren Boarding House. We each had a room on the fourth floor with a shared toilet and bathtub down the hall. No longer a boarding house, it is now a beautiful restored brownstone home on the Eastside, next to Central Park – costing millions.
We also shared the experiences of weekly Sunday champage brunches at Fridays with sawdust on the floor and Schrafft's Restaurants with the old dark-wood walls and delicious chocolate sundaes. Then there were the counter lunches at Chock full o'Nuts where they served cream cheese sandwiches on dark raisin bread with coffee, all for under $1. We also frequented the Pan Am Building with a rooftop bar for a spectacular view of the city. None of these special places exist any longer.
We lived on what we earned and if there was anything extra it was spent on clothes at discount department stores like Alexander's or Ohrbachs.
Wthin a couple of years we had all returned to hometowns and more comfortable lifestyles. Only Michele, the quintessential New Yorker, returned to live in Manhattan again. After leaving the second time, she returned to NewYork on company expense accounts—a dream come true.
I arrived in Manhattan early on a Friday, anxiously anticipating the arrival of my friends that evening. I took advantage of the beautiful day to walk from 57th Street to the Lower East Side to tour the Tenement Museum. Afterwards, I hurried back to the hotel.
Finally, my vintage friends showed up and here we were all together again in New York. Obviously it's a much different city than it was 45 years ago, but our shared memories will last forever.
I can't tell you exactly what we did during those couple of days we were together, but sightseeing wasn't high on the list. We laughed and talked about everything we could think of. We learn as we get older to enjoy the moment, and that we did. Through the years we have all had our life experiences and have gone many different directions, but we have a common bond that brings us together.
|FLEA MARKET SHOPPING|
We parted with hugs and tears, and promises to return again in another five years. It seems like forever, but time moves on fast—too fast sometimes.
|Ralph Lauren Store|