Friday, December 30, 2011

Yes, You SHOULD Remember Those "Auld" Friends This New Year!

For some reason, my husband and I have always made friends with people older than us.  A LOT older than us.  Back when we were newlyweds (in our early twenties), our two best friends were a couple in their early sixties. My husband was a grad student then, and he met Nadia and Julian every single morning at "Galaxy Donuts," for coffee and hour-long conversations.  Julian was Polish and Nadia was German and, although Christians, they were both in work camps during World War II. They eventually immigrated to Canada and had a lot of stories to tell.

Mostly they talked politics or world history.  My husband nicknamed them "The Prophets" because they often watched TV shows of the apocalypse! Sometimes we'd rent old black and white movies and watch them at each other's apartments.  Or we'd have Polish food at Polonez, our favorite neighborhood restaurant.  But four years later, my husband and I moved to a different part of town, far away from the Polish area, and since none of us had driver's licenses or cars (you didn't need them in the "big city"), we never saw The Prophets again.

I'd like to think that Nadia and Julian are still kicking around somewhere, healthy and happy, together in the "old folks home."  When you don't know what happened to someone you once knew, it's best to imagine them as they were when you knew them, and of course, to never forget them.

My other "old" friend was my former piano teacher, Helen.  I'd known her my whole life.  She was my next door neighbor who began giving me lessons when I was six.  Every Tuesday, for the next ten years, I sat in the first floor sitting room outside the small room she gave lessons in, as I waited for her to finish with the student who studied before I did.  I never had to ring the doorbell.  Because I was her friend, I could just let myself in and wait for my lesson to start.

I never lost touch with Helen and had even spoken to her on the phone a week before she passed away peacefully at the age of 86.  Some of my favorite memories as a child were the nights before our annual weekend of piano recitals when Helen would invite my best friend, Ania, and I to sample some of the cookies that Helen baked every year for the recitals.  My favorites were the delicious powdered sugar and walnut crescent ones. Ania and I would be bubbling with anticipation.  We were nervous and excited at the same time for our weekend's performances where we played solos but also duets together.  Right up until the year that Helen passed away, she still lamented at how one of her biggest regrets was that she never got Ania and me on videotape playing at the recitals.  She had gotten her later students, but she hadn't been tech-savvy enough to have a video camera during Ania's and my heyday.  She was a dear and caring woman and, to this day, still one of the best friends I've ever had.

New Year's is a time to remember all our dear friends, and to cherish the ones we are still blessed with. Happy New Year to all my friends, both old, young and in-between!


  1. A very nice, thoughtful post. Happy New Year to you guys too! I remember meeting "The Prophets" when I visited you guys in Toronto.

  2. Happy New Year, Cavy! Thanks so much for reading my blog! I can't wait to read more of yours, as I always enjoy them so much and TRULY admire your consistency! Weren't The Prophets great! I'm so glad you remember them! We speak of them often!