Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Two divas in one day

Diva #1
On a perfect August day, I basked in the presence of two divas.

The first was a longtime friend, Dorothy, who sent me an e-mail after finding some letters I'd written over 20 years ago. We had not been in touch for years; the exigencies of family and business, plus distance between my former city and hers had deep-stored a fond friendship.

Dorth is a "diva" not because of any imperious star behaviour, but because of her accomplishments, which include three books and numerous publications, and an acclaimed consulting practice, all accomplished while rearing two vibrant children. 

There we sat, surveying one another on a terrasse, 30 years since we last had that luxury. We looked older (neither of us has undertaken injections, etc.), but as we talked—a flood of stories, memories and gossip—she looked more radiant by the minute. I saw once again the 20-something firebrand who kick-started her monster Honda bike and flew past any barrier that prevented her from fully living.

Diva #2
The second diva of the day was one in the literal sense, a "celebrated female singer": Brazilian soprano Luisa Kurtz Dos Santos, for the opera "Rigoletto" was performed that evening below our window, staged on the final night of Montreal's Italian Festival. 

Lightening flashed to the west, the orchestra swelled and a crowd of all ages was engrossed by the tale of 15th century honour, deception and revenge. 

Rigoletto's bravura aria, a tour de force for tenors, is the Duke's cynical La donna è mobile (Woman is fickle). I looked for the translation:
This woman is flighty
Like a feather in the wind,
She changes in voice—and in thought.

But my friend had not changed "in voice and thought"; she had only become more forthright, funny and searching. "You remember everything I ever said to you!" she exclaimed. But that is because her observations and adventures, thirty years ago, were remarkable.

Our reunion was initiated by those old letters; in those days people wrote,  their friends sometimes saved the letters. Would old e-mails have reunited us? I doubt it. I'm grateful Dorothy made the 2-hour trip to spend the afternoon, and won't let the years separate us so again.

Have you rediscovered an old friend? What was it like?

9 comments:

coffeeaddict said...

You both look very chic :-)

frugalscholar said...

I have recovered a few lost friends...nice meetings, but not kept up, unfortunately. (Reminding me to get back in touch w/ one or two).

I really regret not keeping more letters--seeing the handwriting of my grandmother and great-aunt (I do have a few cards) is wonderful.

LPC said...

I have not. Except at my 25th college reunion, which was much nicer than I expected:).

Susan Tiner said...

What a lovely story. You both look happy to be together.

I did recently reunite with my college roommate, after 30 years. We lost track of each other, then found each other on facebook of all places. She traveled to the San Francisco Bay Area with her daughter this Spring, and we had a lovely day visiting together.

She wondered if I still pick my finger cuticles when I'm nervous. I do!

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

Looks like so much fun! When I think of old letters...worn books..important newspapers...I have to wonder how much help computers have been...may we never completely lose the hand held written word!

Duchesse said...

coffeeaddict: It was over 30C that day, don't know about her but I was striving for comfort.

frugal: Keeping up is the way to not let it revert to lost again. I plan to see Dorth, and it is something that I need to pay attention to.

LPC: Reunions are so different, at least for me- a mix of friends and "who exactly is that"? Some have been fun, others just weirdly fascinating.

Susan Tiner: Yes, Facebook has been a boon to reuniting friends!

Pam: I had saved cards from her, among other friends, too. When I moved I did major winnowing but could not pitch all of them.

materfamilias said...

How fun to re-connect after so many years.

déjà pseu said...

Re-connecting with old friends is one of my very favorite things. A few years ago, I spotted a profile in a local grocery store that looked searingly familiar. I realized it was one of my best friends from elementary and middle school, whom I hadn't seen since we were both 18. She had a bleach blonde crew cut (her hair had been long and dark when I knew her), but I recognized her. We had lunch soon after and were amazed at the similar and dis-similar routes our lives had taken. We still stay in touch.

Mardel said...

A few years ago I met an old friend from high school whom I hadn't seen in over 20 years. The reunion was a joy, in that we connected as if there had merely been days since we last met rather than decades. We have managed to remain in touch since although at the moment we don't manage to meet much, living on opposite coasts.

I found an old box of letters from my early twenties cleaning out the attic. I hope to take some time to read them in the near future, and your post reminds me how important it is to make the effort to keep in touch.