Thursday, October 14, 2010

Long Term, Long Distance Friendships


In 1989 Australian playwright, Sandra Shotlander, who I had met ten years earlier, visited me in New York City with her friend Roy Newell. We had a very good visit. Over the years Sandra and I have kept in touch, usually with an update about Roy from her. Now, 22 years after that first meeting, Roy was cruising New England and Nova Scotia and stopping at Newport, Rhode Island for the day [yesterday]. Although I've been visiting this area for over twenty years and have lived on Cape Cod for a year and a half now, I had never been to Newport. But I've read and heard much about the fabulous mansions that were summer homes of the rich at the turn of the last century. When I mentioned my hesitation about showing an Australian around a town I'd never seen myself, my Boston-bred friend, Jan Sisson, offered very kindly and generously to change her work schedule and drive me there. xGI/AAAAAAAADm0/Vf2J8gaoj_Y/s1600/PICT0002.JPG"> If I had written out a work order to the Weather Gods for what kind of day I wanted, I could not have specified a better one. The sky was cloudless, the trees are turning [but not very brightly this year] and the temperature was perfect. We had a little panic about how to find Roy but, being fairly clever women, if I say so myself -- and Jan the most clever about the matter of finding the dock area -- we found him waiting on a bench. And we immediately recognized each other -- white hair doesn't necessarily make all that much difference

We had a leisurely walking tour of the older part of town with many historic houses with placards as in the photo, mostly giving the late 1700s and early 1800s as their date, most were kept in excellent condition, some even were private residences. What a charming town this must have been even before the oligarchs descended on the town We had a break for a very fine seafood lunch and then drove around to see the incredible variety of jaw-droppingly huge summer "cottage" -- well cottage might apply to the gate houses or the garden's homes off to one side or the stables. Roy had seen many of the grand eminences from the bay when his ship arrived early in the morning. It's quite a town, I think I'll go back again although I am not greatly interested in ostentatious furnishings.

I always say that Australians are the most traveling people on earth [the Japanese are definitely close runners up]. I have met Australians in almost every place I've traveled. But it's a treat to spend a day with one who I know so well in a second hand sort of way. I've just emailed Sandra a photo of us and I keep on promising myself that one of these days I'll get to Australia.

1 comment:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

June, Long time friendships are so endearing. What a wonderful day you had with your friend. Lovely photos. You should visit Australia someday and then write about it all on your blog. -- barbara