We are very fortunate that in our lives we have three groups of very good friends. The first, or course is the pinata group, our oldest friends. We went to college together, we birthed babies together, we travel together, laugh together, cry together. We attended baptisms, weddings, and funerals together. I love them all.
The second group is the Davis Comic Opera Company group. Most of the group live in Davis, but it's rare if we see each other, except on New Year's Eve. But it's the kind of group where you pick up where you left off immediately. I love these people too.
The third group is the old Lamplighter tech crew, a group who became close friends during the years when the Lamplighters could use non-union technicians. That this group remains close is due in large part to the former Lamplighters tech director, Stephen Elspas, who, with his wife Barbara owns a beautiful old Berkeley brownstone (which is actually located in Oakland, but let's not quibble). Once or twice a year, Stephen and Barbara host a dinner (or if the weather is good, a barbeque) for all the old techies...and they all come, with their spouses.
Of course the "spouses," at least Henry's wife Willa and Walt's wife...me!...have all been involved with the Lamplighters for years as well. Willa performed forEVer and has been active in many other aspects of Lamplighers productions.
We have been going to Steve and Barbara's for so many years now that we have our own seats in the living room while we drink wine and have hors d'oeuvres, and we have our own seats at the dining room table while we enjoy Barbara's wonderful dinner. The seats aren't assigned, but we just seem to gravitate to the same place, year after year. As with our other two groups, I just love all these guys.
We went to Steve & Barbara's last night. The trip down was uneventful, except as we approached the Caldecott Tunnel, which separates the Bay Area from the East Bay. There is always a back-up at that tunnel and they have been working on it for about a decade now. Some day maybe we won't have back-ups like this every time we go through the tunnel.
I've been wanting to get a group photo of this group, but I'm embarrassed to bring out the camera whenever we are together (which the Pinata group will find very strange to hear!). But last night Sabella had brought a bunch of pictures for me to look through for the upcoming History project (even though I'm not involved any more). The photos were passed around and it was a good case of "remember when..." which was much fun. I couldn't resist and got the camera out. (I don't think anybody noticed)
In this picture, I'm next to Steve, so you can't see him, but from left to right around the table are: Barbara, Sabella, Willa, Henry, Gil, John, Tarja, Walt, Arthur (who just turned 92), and the hands of Arthur's partner, Jim.
(this is Arthur and Jim at Arthur's recent birthday party)
We actually were, along with John and Tarja, the last to leave (and the 4 of us had the farthest to drive, us North, John & Tarja South). I just love these get togethers.
With what has happend with Peach's husband, with the sudden death of another Lamplighter, Lindi Press, last month, and with the fragile health of many of my friends, I realize how fragile life is and how quickly life can be changed forever, or snuffed out altogether. I always leave events like this wondering if I will see them all again and so I treasure the moments that we get to spend with each other.