PATHS CROSSING – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I became friends with Jane in the late 1970’s in a rather circuitous way.

I worked at a law firm and one of my jobs was to write short Trust and Estate recommendations for Merrill Lynch clients. The person I dealt with at Merrill Lynch was a woman named Jane London. That was Jane’s professional, maiden name. Jane knew me by my professional, maiden name, Ellin Kardiner. This fact becomes important later on in the story.

Me in 1980, when I was first friends with Jane

Jane and I both hated our jobs and spent a lot of time talking on the phone. We had a lot in common and developed a great rapport. We only met in person once, when both of our bosses took us all out for lunch. We hit it off fantastically.

At one point, Jane had just gotten married and was house hunting. She wanted to move to a coop on the upper east side. I had just moved to a coop on East 92nd Street, so I was giving her advice.

Jane at her wedding in 1979 when I first knew her

For some reason, which I can’t remember, our professional relationship ended and we lost touch. By then I was pregnant. I gave birth over two months early and quit my job to stay home and take care of my preemie.

I made friends with a woman in my building who was also an older (I was 30) stay at home mom with young kids. Her name was Janet. One day, Janet told me that she had met a new tenant in our building, on our elevator line, who was also a stay at home mom in our age group. Her name was Jane Berenbeim. By now I was using my married name, Ellin Kaiser, so Jane was told she was meeting someone named Ellin Kaiser. You can see where this is going.

We all arranged to meet at Janet’s apartment. I got there first and was nursing my son. Jane walked in and we looked at each other in disbelief. “Jane London!” I cried! “Ellin Kardiner!” Jane exclaimed! We didn’t realize that we were seeing an old friend again because we didn’t know each others’ married names! We also hadn’t realized that Jane had, in fact, bought an apartment in the same building I was living in, just three floors down.

Jane at my son’s Bar Mitzvah in 1993

We became close friends and our kids grew up hanging out at each others’ homes. We would run up and down the back stairs to see each other. Jane and I both had second children and we both named them Sarah. We stayed in touch for a while after I moved to Connecticut in 1991 but eventually, we lost touch.

Jane and her 2 daughters at my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah in 1998

We reconnected recently and are happily back in each other’s lives. We still have a lot in common and enjoy each other’s company. Our husbands get along famously as well. So this friendship is back on track and destined to last for the rest of our lives!

Jane and me today

16 thoughts on “PATHS CROSSING – BY ELLIN CURLEY”

    1. It really is wonderful to suddenly have someone in your life you have known for so long. Especially since my local friends are all relatively new – from 3 – 15 years.

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    1. You’re right about old friends instantly giving you the sense of family. Jane and I have started together where we left off years ago. My son has spent time with Jane and her husband recently and it was like a reunion. Jane met David when he was a nursing baby of a about 9 months old and he grew up with her two girls. My daughter is coming in from LA for Xmas and we set up a lunch with Jane and her husband so Sarah can reunite with someone who has known her her whole life!

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    1. Jane is big into geneology and just did a visit to Russia with her husband to see the places that were important in each of their ancestor’s lives. She wanted to reconnect with her roots. Just like my having Jane in my life now is reconnecting with my roots in a way!

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    1. How we meet and became friends was an odd story of coincidence. Getting back together after so long is also a wonderful story. Glad I could tell it and have people relate to it.

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  1. I found my friend Cherrie after being away in Israel for 9 years and the last I knew, she was living in Texas. I had left some newsletters in a building. She didn’t recognize my name (it had changed (again)), but she knew my writing style. We found each other and it was like we never left! In life, there are a LOT of coincidences. Sometimes, they are the best part!

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    1. The part about not knowing each other’s new married names is apparently very common. It’s part of my story with Jane too. But it’s amazing that someone could recognize you by your writing style!

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    1. I also reconnected with a friend who was my best friend from the ages of 9 – 12. We lost touch though we went to the same high school and parted ways after that for decades. We talked on the phone about ten years ago and then two years ago we started talking regularly on the phone. We have met for lunch though we live 3 hours apart. We have also spent a weekend together. We found we had an instant and deep connection. We knew each other’s families and had spent time in each other’s homes as children. That is a very stron bond, especially now when so many people in your life never knew your parents.

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      1. Some 6 years ago I reconnected with some old school friends and we have made it an annual event in the summer. Something about a shared history that can make friendship a life long experience.
        Leslie

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  2. How cool is that. I am so happy for you. The only story I can recollect about old friendships is one that happened to me on our 50th High School reunion. While there I didn’t recognize many of my old classmates as we had left the area in 1969 and this was over 40 years later. But his guy with a wide-brimmed hat, full beard and mustache – looking like a recluse of sorts, came up to me and asked if I remembered him. Even looking at his name tag, I was unable to place him. So, you can imagine how I felt when he informed me that he and I were the best of friends in Carpentry shop during our high school years. To this day I find it hard to believe he and the student I knew back in the late 50’s was one in the same person. Small world and it goes to prove the statement that people do change.

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