Vasona Park, 1973

L and I were little kids together. Maybe our families met at temple, I’m not really sure. While we did have the random Passover together, most of my memories are from days at the park feeding the ducks, big picnics with other families, and the night my youngest brother was born. L’s mom gave me my first drawing lessons — I remember sitting at her kitchen counter on a high stool with a pencil in hand. I remember her brother and my brother both had bowl haircuts and I’m sure we all wore striped velour. After all, it was the 70s.

I remember pictures of L and me together more than I remember what we actually did, but we look companionable, two friends who would share an ice cream or have sleepovers or conspire to torment their brothers.

L’s parents got divorced, and then mine. We moved away, they must have done the same. I just don’t remember that much. I’ve got a bunch of broken threads that I can follow only to a point and then, everything blurs in to a sequence of unhappy teenage years. (Don’t mistake this for whining, I’m just stating a fact.) Anyway, we lost touch.

This year, on L’s birthday, she decided she wanted cupcakes, so off she went to Cafe Verite in Madrona. Her birthday coincided with the end of my artist’s retirement, so when she walked in to Verite, my artwork was hanging on the walls. A few days after I took the show down, I got email from her. “Are you THAT Pam?”  Last night I had dinner at her house across the lake.

She showed me pictures of her family — her brother, her mom, her dad. She had pictures of us together, group photos of us with a bunch of other kids that I don’t recognize or remember, a picture of her, about eight years old in a yellow swimsuit at the edge of the water, my brother sitting on the sand nearby in the incoming tide.

She moved to Seattle about when I did. While I don’t know that I’d have recognized her, it’s sort of surprising we didn’t run in to each other sooner. Who knows how many times I’ve walked by her on the street? She lived in Dublin when I was working there, we both work as writers. We have a common trajectory that’s either statistically surprising or totally predictable – if there’s a common trajectory for daughters of divorced California dwelling Jewish parents.

My friend Mindy recently posted to her blog about how the Internet was helping her reconnect with friends that have scattered to far corners around the planet. I want to say something eloquent about how it also helps you connect with friends that are hiding in your backyard. I’ll just say that I’m glad L got in touch and I’m looking forward to hanging out with her again. She’s got a good friend that’s my neighbor and I’ve got loaner books that will need returning. It’s unlikely to take another 30 years for us to get together to feed the ducks.

(Thanks, D&L, for the pics!)

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