Long-time readers of this journal will remember that I have several times bemoaned the loss of contact with Judy, who was my best friend in grammar school, and then my delight a couple of years ago when I was able to get her phone number and talked with her for awhile. But we still hadn't managed to get together face to face.
It was a really great lunch, despite everything, but things started going wrong a couple of days ago. First, Walt, who had a dental appointment scheduled in Berkeley on Wednesday got a call from his dentist asking if they could switch him to Monday. We only have one car, so this meant that he would have to go to Berkeley on the train, which he doesn't mind. But it also meant that there would be nobody to watch the puppies. No problem--I would take them with me.
Then, the day before the lunch, Maureen wrote to say that her doctor had diagnosed her with bronchitis, said she was contagious, and ordered her to rest for the next several days, so she had to cancel. But the rest of us decided to soldier on anyway.
The puppies didn't cooperate. They've been eating around midnight, and then again around 8 a.m., but instead they woke up, hungry at 4 a.m. Which meant it was too soon to feed them before I left, but I packed them up and decided I would feed them at my mother's before I went to the restaurant in Sausalito.
I didn't count on the traffic. Which. was. awful. I literally went 10 mph or less for about 30 minutes--it may have been longer. Things eventually loosened up, but it meant that I didn't get to my mother's until 11--and I had to meet the others at the restaurant, 20-25 minutes away, at 11:30. The puppies were all still sleeping, so I decided they could eat a little late and just left them in the carrier and raced to Sausalito.
The Spinnaker is one of my favorite restaurants. Perched out over the bay, it commands a gorgeous view of San Francisco. Unfortunately, not today...
I was the first one to arrive and I called my mother (who had not been home when I dropped the puppies off) to let her know that if they whimpered she should just leave them alone and to promise I would rush home to feed them.
Judy was the first to arrive, with Sandy shortly after and then it didn't matter whether the view was spectacular or just "somewhere out there." It didn't matter that puppies hadn't been fed or that I'd spent so much time in traffic. It mattered that Maureen wasn't there, but we managed to get through it. We were instantly back in grammar school, remembering classmates, updating each other on what we knew about other people we hadn't seen in 50+ years. We compared notes on our respective families and what we'd been doing for the past five decades. We shared photos of our kids and grandkids (though I'd left my iTouch with all the photos I wanted to share on it--I shared a photo of Bri with Tom and Jeri and that's about it!)
Sandy, who had, with Maureen and another classmate, organized a grammar school reunion three years ago, for our 50th anniversary, talked about the people who had come and conversations they'd had with people who were unable to come (neither Judy nor I had attended).
We found out which of our classmates are no longer with us and reminisced about teachers, classes, and endless processions in the Church. Judy, who was the only one who had brought photos from when we were in school together, brought out pictures of our Brownie and Girl Scout days, our graduation, a school play, a birthday party, and the Halloween party held at my house (which my father, forever after, always brought up when he was angry with me because somehow he never felt I was grateful enough for the work he put in on that party).
We sat at the table for 2 hours, over a delicious crab louis salad while the restaurant filled up. The waiter was very understanding. We finally looked up and realized that they probably needed our table, so we moved to the lounge area where we continued the visit. We didn't stop chatting from start to finish. We decided we really need to have another get together, perhaps with others in our class. And definitely with Maureen next time!
I looked at my cell phone (which substitutes for a wristwatch) and realized it was after 2. I was acutely aware that the puppies had not eaten since 8 a.m. and though I could easily and happily have stayed there chatting for another hour or so, I had to tell the women goodbye and race to my mother's. The puppies seemed to be handling starvation nicely :). I quickly fixed two bottles, gave my mother one and Higgins (the easiest to feed) and let her feed him while I fed Alfie (the hardest eater, who gulped the formula down quickly!) and shared with my mother all the happenings at the Spinnaker.
(I added this photo to show my classmates what a
90 year old woman looks like!)
With all four puppies fed, I packed the puppies back up in the carrier again and headed for home, hoping to get ahead of rush hour traffic (fortunately, I did).What a great day it was. I'm hoping that maybe I can get together with Maureen and maybe some others before Sandy comes back to San Francisco a year from now. This is the third gathering of old friends I've had this month and it's just such fun!!