About thirty years ago I was biking down the street when a man stopped and asked me to teach his daughter how to ride. I don’t know if I ever did teach her (and my kids think it comic that someone with such poor driving and biking skills ever be called upon to instruct), but the daughter and I became friends until I moved a few years later.
She popped into my head a year ago and I found my friend on Facebook. I learned that she was an actor and a writer and that her father had just passed away. I remembered that her father was Greek, and as a child I ignorantly assumed this meant he wasn’t Jewish. Not only was he Jewish, but he survived Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen while the rest of his family did not.
I learned this because my friend wrote and performed in a spectacular one woman show, Do This One Thing For Me, and on Saturday night M and I went to see it.
M and I have been on a bit of a theater bender since we moved to NYC in September. We’ve seen quite a bit, some of it excellent — but truly, nothing as powerful as this, and nothing as well acted. The play was about one man’s harrowing tale, but it was also about fathers and daughters– and it was as funny as it was sad.
After the play I went and talked to my friend (and her mum who has been at every show), some thirty years after I last saw her. She said, “Wait! I have something for you!” And she ran backstage and returned with a wrapped object.
I opened it and saw a book that I’d apparently leant her when I was ten, and that she apparently forgot to return.
A lot of people knock Facebook, and with some good reason. But I know a Facebook success story when I’m in one.
As much as I love this story, and I do, my kids love it even more. Moving certainly means leaving people behind, but it doesn’t have to mean you won’t find yourselves in the same place again one day, and in a world of newness, there really is nothing like an old friend.