Monday, May 16, 2011


When writing a recent blog, in which I remembered Tony and Dale, two barbers whom I would miss more if I were not so content with Nina's work on my hair, I began to think of many other people whom I no longer see. As we age, we become accustomed to the deaths of older (for the most part) family and friends. We may take out an old photograph or postcard, and we almost certainly discuss a loss with loved ones who are close to us. All this is normal and healthy.

Then there are the names of good friends with whom we have lost touch. Looking at a personal phone directory, or checking on a list of contacts, we come across names that we remember, although we have not been in touch for several years, perhaps. Even on Facebook, one needs to take action to stay in contact with those with whom one has not exchanged communication recently.

Barbara and I have found that there are a number of wonderful people we have met on trips abroad, such as when we have taken passage on a ship steaming up the Norwegian coast, or even taken a cruise, folk with whom we have lost touch. Perhaps we exchanged Christmas cards for a year or two, but never met our friends again.

 In this life, there are always new friends to meet, and we should not long grieve over such lost contacts. Once or twice, we have come across old friends whom we had virtually forgotten, and found that the ties of friendship were soon re-established. Even with a fairly recent paring down of numbers, I have 632 names in my email contact list. Of course, some of those are business entries, which brings me to remember a group of people who don't happen to be relatives or personal friends.

Recently, I have become aware of how many people I miss from former days. There was my excellent podiatrist, whom I have not seen since becoming a Kaiser Permanente member. There was a very skillful dentist, who left his practice to concentrate on his hobby,
blowing beautiful glass objects. I was glad when my hygienist moved to another dentist, because we did not like the attitude of her new employer after the glassblower moved on. I was so lucky, because when she chose to retire, I found an excellent replacement. Alas, now the successor has retired.

I used to buy men's clothing from a store on Bancroft Avenue in Berkeley, long out of business. Barbara and I enjoyed being waited on by a young Cal graduate, Stuart. We were delighted to find that Stuart had become the manager of the Walk Shop, where we have purchased many pairs of shoes. I later found another shoe store, which sold the most comfortable shoes I've ever owned, but I miss buying from Stuart.

I used to have many good friends in an organization which I set up for agents representing DPIC (Design Professionals Insurance Company). These friends ran their own businesses in various parts of North America. I miss them all, especially Devon and Sid. We became close friends of the company's president, Peter, and his wife, Ginny. Peter died tragically early, but we are still in touch with his warm and generous widow.

I had many good business friends in England, through my membership of Lloyd's. We often think of Francis, our first Member's Agent, who was adopted into a famous Jewish family as a baby.

I can't leave this list of memorable people without mentioning three really close friends from the business for which I worked for over 40 years, all now deceased. There was Jeanne, so much a part of the business that I named a room after her, at our old office. Then there was Lora, who grew from an effective CSR (Customer Service Representative), into our first and most exuberant Saleswoman. Finally, memories of Sandra, who died while awaiting a liver transplant. She was a wonderful Personal Assistant to me, and became a good friend of us both. We are happy that her widower, Grant, is a frequent dinner companion of ours to this day.

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