It's the season to be thankful. I've been thinking about such things lately. Being back in the bosom of my family, and catching up with and visiting friends I haven't seen in 2 years, will make a person thank her lucky stars for the people who populate her Venn diagram. There have been some that got lost from my view, and some I wish never to see again, but I do count myself very fortunate on the friend front.
I have often thought that I should have been more aware of "the friend factor" long ago. A person who has 1 friend in their world should probably be avoided (and that shouldn't include their mother), along with those who have so many that they flit from one to another. I've got a friend who went to nursery school with me. I care not to count how many years that represents. Don't let me get on the subject of my SummerCamp buds. We even have reunions, and I remember all the words to the songs. When I drove back from New York I saw pals I had in college, and when we sat down together the conversations and laughs started right off from where we had left them. God, I am blessed with good luck. Well, I will take some credit for these blessings. I do have a delightful personality (if you can't poke fun at yourself, you are doomed).
When I left for NYC, there were parties and dinners and get togethers to speed me away and to wish me well. Had I been blogging then, you wouldn't have seen words about loss. There would have been little worry on my part about not seeing those faces again. I love my friends. Frankly, also, I never even gave one nano second of thought to the fact that I really only had 1 friend when I landed at Kennedy Airport in October of 2010. I did know that I wasn't going to hang on my friend Susan's coat tails and rely on her for my introduction to real life in The City. That's an ugly way to treat people. She wasn't going to baby me. I did, however, rely on her for restaurant tips. SHE NEVER GAVE ME A BAD RECOMMENDATION. The girl knows her food!
Anyway, back to having zero friends in a new town...Rush Lines! Yes, that was where I started to build up my friend base. I talk. I talk a lot, and it proved to be very useful. I made pals in Rush Lines and at Stage Doors all over. Downtown, Midtown, even in Queens, wherever there were theater people, we talked. I actually started the process the previous September in LA, at the Leap of Faith SD, where I casually said to this nice young woman standing around waiting for Raul E, while I was waiting for Kendra K, "I'm moving to New York to do this very thing 24/7." That was Elisa, and we have been best buds ever since. Oh, have we been around the town, and does she know EVERYBODY! (some adventures to tell another time)
WICKED lottery was another place where conversations led to friendships. People of all ages, waiting in Schwartz Alley, trying to please the Lottery Gods and smile at Joel, the tight lipped man who pulls the names. By the end of my 2 years, we were on first name basis, and I can guarantee you, he NEVER gave me a break. (insert bad word here that rhymes with truck) I even have a picture of him smiling with my daughter, a major win!
Then there was the magic of having visitors. When people came to stay with me, they introduced me to other people and actors and singers who broadened my world. Jacqueline (queen of the TWickies) dragged me to a fund raising concert early on in my adventure, and that's where I got into the world of the sweet singer/songwriters. The list of these Divas is too long to include. I have mentioned them before. I can truthfully say that in following these gifted women, they have been appreciative of the support and nice friendships have evolved. I'm not stupid enough to think these stars are my close friends, but they know I care and a friendliness has resulted. You see how fast I get a group together when they venture out to California in the near future. Morgan James is coming to Modesto in December...we will be there!
Can't leave out my Internet pals. There is a group of women I hang with on-line, who come to NYC to gather a few times a year to celebrate certain extraordinary actors from TV. Great fun. Great dinners and great times wandering New York. A few of them have welcomed me into their homes, and we are like family. Long walks around Central Park or visiting hometowns, a mere bus ride away, make for great conversations and resultant closeness. I cherish these new friends. They are solid gold to me, and I like that they value me. They didn't have to befriend me. Their lives were already full. How lucky am I? Very.
The culmination of the friendship circle was the Welcome Back Party the TWickies had for me 2 weeks ago. Did we laugh? Did we eat? Did we embody the true spirit of friendship? Yes, indeed!
None of these people knew each other before February of 2009. Total strangers. Yet we have bonded and are friends. We worry about each other. We are happy when someone succeeds. We rejoice in the evolution of this group. That they wanted to have a party for me was a bit overwhelming, but I got over that real fast. It wasn't really about me. It was about the group and it was beautiful. They are beautiful. Life is beautiful. You are beautiful. "Thank you for being my friend!"