Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Finding a Dear Friend

There was very special meaning to our Baltimore visit this year. After nearly 50 years, Friday, April 30th, I would be re-united with my best friend, Lynne, from high school (Hanover, MA). We found each other over a year ago, just before Dad died, and have been in regular phone and e-mail contact since. She lives in Arlington, VA
The morning of the 30th dawned crystal clear and just before LM and Ev were to drive me to Baltimore's beautiful Penn Station to get the train to Alexandria , VA, they took this photo in the garden.
The train was really comfortable and the views interesting. We passed very close to the capitol building in Washington, DC and there were great views of the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial.
As we neared, the butterflies were dancing in my middle, and questions were flying through my mind....Would we recognize each other? Would we really re-connect? The second I stepped off the train and looked to my right, I saw her on the concourse - the same beautiful smile, the same posture. I'd have known her anywhere. The day was dreamlike and, believe me, we did not run out of things to say!
Our first stop was in Old Alexandria, where we walked along the waterfront, and then through the old "Torpedo Factory," which now houses many floors of artists studios, all open to the public. A beautiful creative space allowing the artists to relate to their customers while they work.
Torpedo Factory - Artists' Center in upper right background.
A Potomac River tour boat leaves the dock
We eventually made our way to King St....the main street of Old Town Alexandria, found a bench in the sunshine and made a plan of attack. The architecture, cobblestone and brick streets and shops are just beautiful, and I have never seen so many intriguing restaurants on one street - many with outside dining. We decided to walk up to the William Carlyle House. One has the feeling you could spend several days seeing all the sites, and my hip was holding out fairly well, but I needed to try to save some "life" for the Sheep and Wool on Saturday.
The gardens at the Carlyle house were really beautiful and we sat on a bench and chatted for the longest time.
Meet Lynne!!
After some time in the garden, we found "The Warehouse" restaurant which seemed very inviting and promised some iced tea and lunch. We were not disappointed.....good conversation accompanied an oyster dish for Lynne and some crabcakes for moi.

After a bit more walking, we were both ready to return to the car and go to Lynne's lovely home in Arlington to meet her kitties, Lucky and Joy (sorry no photos!), and then have a little nap before her husband, Ravi arrived from work and we shared a lovely dinner. The day just sped by, and we still had so much to talk about. Ravi is such a wonderful man, and their love and happiness after 33 years of marriage is very apparent. I cannot wait for them to visit me here on Cape Cod soon.

My train back to Baltimore was due to leave at 7:15 pm, and we were at the station with time to spare...the talking continued in the lovely early evening light, sitting on the platform of this quaint Alexandria station. Waiting, waiting - after some inquiries, we were told it would be about 1/2 hour late. Finally I was called to cross to the other side of the tracks, and we all said eyes filled with tears, and in a dreamlike state, I made my way across, looking back and waving as Lynne and Ravi left for home. It all felt like a dream.

More waiting - at least another 1/2 hr, and then the train finally approached.

I made the call to Baltimore to tell LM and Ev that I was finally on my way and should be in to Penn Station by 9:30 or so. No such thing....the train would proceed for a few minutes, STOP (no explanations at all), STOP, and then we finally got to Washington DC and the train just sat for almost an power, no restrooms, again, no explanation. Disgruntled passengers abounded. After my great trip in the morning I was feeling pretty confident in Amtrak, but the return trip was endless. Meditation, and reflection on the beautiful visit with Lynne got me through. LM kept calling, as they were in Balti circling Penn Station. As the train finally neared Balti, it stopped again. was nearly 4 hours in what should have taken just over an hour. Oh well, it was worth it! I walked out of Penn Station and at the door, was a HUGE and elegant silver-blue Rolls Royce waiting at the curb, huge chrome wheels gleaming in the dark.....alas, it was not for me, but my still-circling knights in shining armor, drove up shortly in Ev's truck to retrieve me from the curb. LM's kiss and hug were so very welcome....he'd been nervous about my Amtrak adventure.
That day was a dream come true and it stirred up so many memories of my childhood, and most of all, gave me a new appreciation for everything I was given in life by my parents. I only wish Dad could know that I'd finally found Lynne again. He was always a fan of she and her family. They gave me two of the most amazing summers of my life by bringing me away from my insular life on the farm to their home in Bethesda, MD, where I got to experience city life, and the family of a well-respected diplomat of our government. Lynne's father was an Ambassador and expert on Middle-Eastern affairs, and they had lived in many countries around the world. I was awestruck. In those summers, I got to experience visiting the state department, all the major D.C. memorials, attended live theater productions (My Fair Lady), hear a young JFK address the senate, and so much more. It left such a lasting impression on my life and I just needed to be with Lynne to relive those days and to tell her just how much it all impacted my little world. We've even re-lived the little things like eating cottage cheese mixed with chives on potato chips, still a habit which lives on today!

Lynne and Ravi lead a very peace-centered life and I felt that same peace imbued in me after our visit. Friendship's gift which keeps on giving. Lovely!


bySarah said...

How wonderful that you could reconnect! And I am excited that you got to walk around old Town Alexandria - one of my favorite places in the DC area!

Anonymous said...

Around 5 years ago Bob and I went to California on a business/pleasure trip and I was able to hook up with my best friend since Middle School. Her home was only 15 minutes from the Resort where we were staying. She picked me up at the hotel and we were able to spend the day together and like you, we had so much to talk about in a short time.
She has had a hard life since college. Was envolved in an auto accident in College that left her in a Coma for months and months. The other persons in the car were killed. They had no idea who she was for months. Once she came to, she was able to tell them her name, but had no memory of where she was from, where her family lived and had to learn to walk and talk. Once her parents where found they moved her to a rehab center in Arizona. (her dad is a doctor there) I knew something was wrong because I couldn't find her and she didn't write. I finally called the AMA and found out where her dad was and after a day or so found him and called and found out she was in rehab. She that terrible time, she's had 4 children, her husband drove off a mountain cliff and was killed. No insurance. A widow with 4 kids to raise by herself. It wasn't easy and because of the accident, it left her not able to recall facts very well and it was hard to keep a job. It has been a life of poverty for her since then. I help her out when I think I can get away with it, like sending money at Christmas, and for the kids Birthday's. Otherwise she wouldn't take it. We still write and talk to each other...and your right...Friendship is a gift that keeps on giving.

So glad you enjoyed your trip and got to see your sheep. Really enjoyed your sheep photos.

I also wanted to thank you for the sweet, sweet card you sent. That was so nice and very much appreciated. I still see him out of the corner of my eye on the bed and counter. Lincoln hasn't eaten very well since and leaves his food in the bowl. I fed them together and I think he misses him. He'll look around like his looking for him and then walk away.
Thanks again. You are so sweet. xo ...debbie

Poppy said...

Just what I needed to come here and read a post filled with joy, thanksgiving, happiness, hope, love, friendship, past, present, future all rolled into one. Thank you.

I'm so glad you're trip to Baltimore/VA was everything you dreamed of. It does sound like a dream vacation. Though I was sorry to read about how difficult the day at the Sheep & Wool Festival was for you. I'm glad there was no lasting damage!

I thoroughly enjoyed the kitties and the flowers tour! The root beer irises are beautiful! My blue and yellow ones took a beating the last couple of days in the rain storms we've had. I love Columbine...I have a variety new to me this year called Aquilegia - Tower Light Pink often referred to as Granny's Bonnet...check them out here. I think they're adorable!

BTW...the photo of you before your visit with Lynne...beautiful. I copied/pasted it into my folder marked "Friends".

Linda said...

What a wonderful visit. Thanks for sharing it with us.