I have been close friends with Christine for 46 years. We met in 1971. What is unusual about this friendship is that we live 3000 miles apart – she in London and me in New York City, then Connecticut. It hasn’t been easy maintaining our friendship through all those miles and all those years. But it has been one of my most cherished and long-lived relationships.

We met when I was in London in 1971. I was 22. We spent a few days together and just hit it off. We wrote to each other regularly when I returned home. We even planned a six-month bus trip across the U.S. starting in April of 1972.

Christine and me in 1974, ages 25 and 27

On February 11, 1972, my 88-year-old grandfather was hit by a truck in New York City. Within twenty-four hours, he was brain-dead. But he stayed alive, technically, for six more weeks. He died on March 26, 1972. My mom went into heart failure from the stress. In addition, my grandfather had left his considerable estate in a state of total chaos. I decided to stay home to help my Mom and Grandma recover and put grandpa’s financial and legal affairs in order.

Christine went on the planned trip without me. She stayed with me for a week at the beginning and a week at the end of her travels. That solidified our connection. We stayed in touch by mail after she returned to England.

In 1974, my fiancée, Larry, and I went to England and France on our pre-wedding honeymoon (it’s a long story). We spent time in Bath, England, with Christine and her fiancée, Jeremy, or Jay. Larry and I were married in September of 1974 and Christine and Jay were married in December. We became a foursome until Larry and I separated in 1998.

Christine and Jay had their first child in 1979 and I had mine in 1980. As our families expanded, each adding a daughter, we saw each other every year or year and a half, either in England or in the U.S. Our kids grew up together and view each other, to this day, as extended family.

Christine and me with my second child in 1985

When our kids were two, six, seven, and eight, all of us rented a large canal boat (which is like a narrow, steel houseboat), and drove around the countryside of England for a week. It was a memorable vacation, one of many trips we’ve taken together as couples and with our children, throughout the years.

Our four kids on the canal boat trip, ages 2, 6, 7 & 8

In some ways, I feel closer to Christine and her family than I do to my local friends. That’s because when we do spend time together, it’s long, consolidated periods of time, usually spent in each other’s homes. I know what her kids like for breakfast (dry cereal, no milk for her son). She knows where everything is in my kitchen. Living together is a bonding experience, especially with young children. It secures emotional ties on a different level than having dinner with neighborhood friends.

My daughter, 9 and Christine’s kids, 13 & 14

My mother also doted on Christine and her children. She became a part of their lives too and the kids called her their ‘American Grandmother’.

We have been to each others’ big family events, on both sides of the Atlantic; a Bat Mitzvah and two weddings in the states, including mine to Tom in 2002, and two weddings in London. I’m Facebook friends with Christine’s daughter-in-law and see photos of her grandchildren all the time. Christine and I still talk on the phone and via email regularly these days. I’m sure that will continue forever.

My family with Christine and Jay at Sarah’s Bat Mitzvah in 1998

We don’t share day-to-day memories through the years. We didn’t regularly pick up kids at school together or have girls’ night every month. Yet the memories we share and the ties we’ve forged have been strong, deep, and lasting. Also enriching and rewarding. Christine is the closest thing to a sister I’ve ever had and I’m forever grateful she is in my life, even long-distance.

Christine and me at my wedding to Tom in 2002


Storytime – Dropped from a drifting craft

Considering one thing and another, I have always been sure I could not possibly be related to Those People who raised me. And who, in theory, birthed me.

Sadly, there was always one problem from which I could never escape.

I look just like them. Both parents. They didn’t look alike, so how could this be? Apparently, you change as you age. So you can look exactly like dad when you’re three, but exactly like mom when you’re sixty. Periodically, depending on how the genetic package rolls, like one or the other — or both  — at any given point in time. I used to look like my father, but I got older. Now, look like my mother.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

I wonder if I’ll ever look like me? Whatever that means.

I know nothing about what brought me into the world any more than I know what will take me out. Probably, that’s just as well. I think I lack a kind of curiosity about my fate others apparently have. I never felt any serious need to research my ancestry or get my DNA checked. What was, is finished. What will be, is not in my hands. I am okay enjoying as much of the now as I can while it’s still available.

And yet.

Every now and again, I wonder if it is possible that I was actually put here by a passing star craft. An intergalactic seed dropped from the sky that somehow, wound up in this world. With those parents. In this peculiar place. A bit of pollen falling from a drifting craft on its way to somewhere in an infinite beyond.

It could be true.

A Writing Prompt: Storytime — A Hot and Steamy Night –  by Fandango

A new prompt. Just what you needed, right? I’m calling this prompt “Storytime.” Each week I will ask you to tell a story about a specific topic. You can write about the actual event as it happened in real life — or you can create a fictional version of the event. It’s your call.

Once you publish your post, create a pingback to this post, or paste a link to your post in a reply if you’re not on WordPress. To get the ball rolling, I’ll go first. Have fun!


WordPress Photo Challenge: Elemental

When I read this, I smiled. I remember when I was living in Israel and friends visited and they kept murmuring “But it’s so brown …” because it is. Sometimes. Deserts are brown in the summer, but in the winter with a bit of rain, they turn green and lovely. It’s amazing what a bit of water can do for the dry earth.





I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2017