Kids in my day didn't care where a friend lived or the socioeconomic place the parents held in the community. What mattered was your friend loved to play Monopoly until 3:00 a.m., and was the only one who understood why reading The Count of Monte Cristo under the covers at night, with a flashlight, was more important than sleeping.
I had a special friend like that in junior high, and spent much time at her house which was bigger than mine and more fun. One day we devoted hours writing a screen play for "The King and I" which we performed for her mother, who was ill and spent much time resting in her bed. The memory of that performance is so clear in my mind. Her mom applauded our efforts and we basked in that momentary glow of approval.
The summer before high school we drifted apart, and after our freshman year she went away to private school while I stayed behind and slogged along with everyone else. The years went by and we lost touch as so often happens when you're kids.
If you've ever had a special friend like this from years ago, and wish you could find and re-connect with each other, read more of the story.
The other day, fifty-two years later, we met at Sea-tac Airport. She and her husband flew in from New Mexico (to visit family); I took the airport shuttle from home (100 miles north). We met in the Southwest baggage area, recognized each other instantly, hugged and laughed, then cabbed to the "13 Coins" Restaurant. We settled into a lovely booth with high-backed leather seats, giving us the privacy necessary to cram fifty-two years' worth of questions and stories into a mere five hours.
Her husband stayed with us, was a delightful addition to our reunion celebration, and picked up the tab for the food and drink that so delightfully complemented our visit.
It was one of the best afternoons I've ever spent, even if it was far too short for a meeting of such special significance. We both admitted we could have spent days together trying to ask and answer and listen and laugh and remember and reminisce. We each brought pictures to share: family members, former classmates, a boy we both liked in high school.
On the short ride back to the airport (so I could catch the shuttle home), our driver made a U turn, and we collectively caught our breath at the vision of Mt. Rainier, in all her splendor, seemingly in the middle of the road ahead. Mt. Rainier is a stunning sight at that distance, especially on a crisp, clear fall day. It was the absolute perfect finishing touch to such a splendid day, fifty-two years in the making.
Back then we were little chunks of clay beginning to take on the forms we would grow into over the years. Now we are the almost-finished pieces that have been shaped and fired, and a bit chipped around the edges by the experiences that forged us into the women we are today.
She has traveled to all seven continents and visited all fifty states; I don't even have a passport.
Dining with Dorothy
by Dorothy Haase
Just then our handsome, attentive waiter brought another round of Nutty Irishmen Coffees for us all. We savored the sweetness of Frangelico and Bailey's Irish Cream, sipping on straws stuck into mounds of whipped cream topping each steaming mug of coffee.
A granddaughter, with her son in tow, showed up to ferry us back to reality from the private booth that hosted our magical time together.
When we parted, we held onto each other, reluctant to let go, and promising we would find a way to see each other again one day. Hopefully for a longer visit, where there would be much more time to spend on all the unfinished questions and incomplete answers. Time to relax and not be hurried; to share in more depth what we've each done and felt and learned over those fifty years we spent apart.
She graciously invited me to visit her for two weeks in the spring, when she would "sandwich me" into her busy life filled with friends and family and activities and commitments.
"You can stay in the chicken room," she offered, explaining their guest room upstairs has been so named by the neighbor across the street because it apparently looks like a chicken. How can I possibly resist such an invitation?
My hosts promised endless days of sunshine and night skies filled with stars; homemade cannelloni that I get to help make; and private time for me, since I'm used to a far less busy, more quiet life.
On the bus ride home, thoughts of the value of our roots and our wings filled my mind. One to anchor us to a place filled with sweet memories of innocence. The other to set us free to fly away and become the people we are today. For me to re-connect with someone so special from those days long ago was a most valuable gift. And the best part was that I loved her more now than I had so long ago, when it was my hotel on that coveted blue property where she was instructed to "Take a walk on the Boardwalk."