Top from left: Tami, Amy, Catherine, Lauren, Maureen,
Bottom from left: Patti, Betty and Me (Jo Ann)
A crackling fire glimmering off the rich mahogany woodwork in a fine, old New York hotel. Outside, a blur of yellow cabs streaming down the street as the brightly shinning sun failed to disguise the
As the group individually arrived from Connecticut, New Jersey and the city itself, there were warm lingering hugs, smiles, and chatter. Simultaneous chatter. Everyone talking at once. The hotel staff in the small Victorian-style lobby stood smiling at the noisy group whose excitement must have seemed evident that it had been a long time between visits. Truth is, most of us had never met.
|Maureen & Lauren, much laughter at this table!|
Yes, we knew that Tami and Betty (my sister) had lost the lives they knew to Hurricane Sandy and the wicked winds of corporate America. And then had to reinvent themselves. Both in real estate. We knew that warm, funny Maureen is living here temporarily in a small corporate apartment with her husband while a new condo is being built in Canada, and terribly missing her grandson who is still there. We knew that Lauren is a fun loving spirit and jewelry designer who scours the shores of the Atlantic Ocean for sea glass. (We also now know that if the two of us hung out more often we could get into a lot of trouble together. Kindred spirits. Who just met!)
|Catherine, Tami, Amy. The happiness was obvious.|
We knew that innovative, hardworking interior designer, Catherine has also had to readjust her career sails while raising a beautiful young daughter. We knew the first names of all of our children and grandchildren, along with whose going to be a grandmother (two of us) or who has a son getting married (me). We knew this all before we got to the hotel...to introduce ourselves.
|Much needed fire in the lobby!|
On Twitter, we are limited to 113 characters so often we jump over to Facebook where we can talk more at length. But Twitter is always the daily starting point. It's our virtual corner cafe. It's also the place were we check in during the day just to catch up. It's the place where if we notice someone is absent for more than a day, we start asking questions. "Have you heard from her?", "Is she travelling?", "Hope everything is okay." It's who we are. Friends.
So many of us have gone through similar life changes, such as a divorce or job loss, that tough issues are the commonality that often bonds us. That is where the private aspects of social media come into play. The ability to DM (direct message) on either site means that you can have a private conversation with someone without others seeing. It is here where you can spill your heart out, vent your anger, or ask advice. Sometimes you're the mouth, sometimes you're the shoulder.
|Tea is about to be served.|
|Gorgeous lobby centerpiece|
I can't even remember how this group started, but I do know how much I would miss them if they weren't there every morning. All of them, even our morning chatters that couldn't make the trip this time. Carol, and her daughter Tara who are in the mountains of New Hampshire, Shelley, our resident weather expert, who scoured the web till she found me the perfect clutch for my son's wedding. And Asta, who chimes in from Lithuania each morning (although it's afternoon for her). A women so kind that this Christmas she sent me a beautiful piano CD that her friend had recorded. I often play it while writing.
There is sure to be another lunch soon, another gathering, another venture. Many of us are hoping to meet up at Brimfield in May. (If you don't know what Brimfield is, I suggest you Goggle it because there is no way to explain it here.) That's our goal anyway. So this week, I got to see some of the faces and hear some of the voices of special ladies that I've consider friends for a long time. We had just never met. But in a lovely old New York hotel, that issue was solved over a cup of tea. They way it should be.
Photos supplied by Catherine Avery and Jo Ann Phelps