Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Portland, Maine

Portland is a city I could see myself in.  It is filled with arty,friendly, and interesting people, including my dear friend from high school, Beth Crowley Lewis, and her husband, Barry.  They live in a gorgeous old yellow house filled with good spirit, round rooms, a lovely garden, and an incredibly cook balcony overlooking an elementary school across the street.

Beth came running out just as i pulled up in front of the house, and my heart swelled.  We've all changed physically, of course, but Beth's happy nature was still the same as it was in 1975, when she and Sandra Andersen Northrop were my close friends.

We met when we were all in an obscure summer theater musical called "Via Galactica," and the songs still are stuck in my head. It ran for seven performances on Broadway and lost one million dollars, the first time a show had done that.

It was a blast being a theater kid with Sandy and Beth.  Rehearsals were in Tarrytown, about a half an hour away from where we lived, and Sandy had her own car, a yellow pinto, and drove us to and from.  After the play was over, we stayed friends and appeared in other shows together, including "Cabaret," which was performed in a really seedy bar in Pleasantville, New York.

Via Galactica - The Musical

During the weekend, the three of us laughed at how unsupervised we all were, driving around in Pintos (!), smoking cigarettes, and being in a bar.  But that's the way it was at that time with many families in Chappaqua, where we grew up.  My parents were pretty strict, but they loved Sandy and Beth, so anything i wanted to do with them was just fine.

Both Sandy and Beth taught me so much about so many things.  Sandy taught me about the delights of serendipity and synchronicity, and Beth reinforced those lessons. After Beth's first year of college, she came home and told me all kinds of things that weren't taught where i went to school.

Barry gave us a wide berth as Beth and I started talking and barely stopped for the rest of the weekend.  Drinking wine, we told stories that never ended because something else would pop into our brains, and anyone who has made it to our age is entitled to a little ADD.

Barry made the most delicious dinner - juicy, magically seasoned pork loin and purple cabbage slaw that was the perfect accompaniment to the pork.

After dinner, we watched a movie upstairs in her space - a round room painted the coolest green color, and then an office snug in a place that used to be part of the entrance out to the balcony.  She has a star machine and the effect was magical.

Before going to bed, we sat on the balcony, under the stars, above the quiet street, and talked more about life since high school.  A lot has happened, but there's no doubt in my mind that I am so blessed to have friends as loyal and accepting as Beth and Sandy.

Saturday morning, after a cup of Barry's delicious coffee, Beth took me for a drive around Portland and out to the Portland Head Light (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland_Head_Light), and I got to have my first lobster roll of the trip.

Sandy arrived early Saturday evening, just in time for dinner with Beth, Barry, and me, at a terrific Asian place called Bao Bao.

After more catching up, we went home and the three of us went up to Beth's lair to watch another movie, "Mortified Nation," on Netflix.  It was the perfect movie for the three of us this weekend, and, after another gabfest on the balcony, we all went to bed, because Beth had to work the next morning, early.

Since Beth had to work on Sunday, Sandy and I took the ferry to Peaks Island and had more lobstah, served from a happy green truck, on a hill overlooking the water.

By the time we got home, Beth was home, and we had supper, the most delicious celery soup and salad, with Barry and her dad.

Monday, Barry sent Sandy and I off with an index card full of suggestions as far as breweries to visit and his phone number, in case we got lost.  Portland is an easy city in which to get around, and we had no trouble finding a place for lunch called the Thirsty Pig.  The bartender was friendly, and the place was famous for its sausages.  Sandy had a blueberry sausage and I had a pork quesadilla.  We ended up wiling away the afternoon, reminiscing and talking about life in general.  Beth met us after work, and we had dinner at Susan's, a really good seafood place near their house.

Seeing my two friends was like coming home.  We knew each others' parents and we knew each other when we were really innocent, although we thought we weren't.  For all the bad things said about social media, Facebook made it possible for us to meet up again, and feel like no time had passed.

Tuesday morning, we went our separate ways - me to the north; Beth and Sandy south to Fire Island.

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