Friday, 4 June 2010

40, 60, 51 & 57

Congratulations to Chris and Dave on their 40th wedding anniversary! We were among the sixty odd people who were invited to share the couple's celebrations at Manor Parc Hotel. It was a great evening, an intimate, elegant venue, excellent food and interesting company. One woman had last seen Chris and Dave on the day of their wedding. She remembered waving them off on a train to their honeymoon. Their lives taking different routes she hadn't heard from them again until through 'Friends Reunited' Chris tracked her down living in Ireland and invited her to the celebrations.
 Nowadays it would seem that you can re-connect with anyone you might wish to from your past. I did the same last year and met up with old College friends who I hadn't seen for nearly forty years. I've written a play, called 'The Reunion', loosely based on the event. I enjoyed meeting them again. I'd been unconsciously searching for one of them for years. Her look-a-likes appeared randomly on buses, at train stations and once even at Bangkok Airport. When I met her again I realised that I'd fossilised her in my imagination, a young skinny girl with a chestnut bob. Forty years on she's still very slim but her bob's pure white. I had been searching for the wrong person. After forty years, can you just pick up again or has too much life gone by for the historical connection to be enough to sustain a future relationship? In this case apart from one e-mail straight after the reunion we haven't been in touch.
On Monday we went to London to share Kate's 60th birthday celebrations in a special lunch held at The Exhibition Rooms in Crystal Palace. Kate had invited sixteen of her closest friends. Having heard a lot about some of these people over the past ten years since I first met Kate it was nice to meet them.
It made me think about how and why we choose people to be our friends, why we are chosen and why certain friendships endure?
We stayed with one of my oldest friends, Jane, who has been my friend for the past fifty-one years. We met at secondary school and became close friends from the start, encouraging each other to be wild, dramatic and in the eyes of the teachers so naughty that at one point we were separated.  Drama is still our passion and we went to see a play at the Young Vic, called 'Joe Turner's Come and Gone'. A very deep and complex play about the interplay of shamanism and slavery on the black person's psyche around 1914.
We met up with another school friend for lunch at LMNT, an Egyptian- themed restaurant in Hackney. I have known Sue since primary school, around fifty-seven years. I see her perhaps once or twice a year but she's been such a loyal and reliable friend I know that I could always go to her if I needed support or help. I hope she feels the same. This for me is the essence of true friendship. Everything else is a bonus.

Some names have been changed to protect identity.

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