Phone calls can make a day brighter, make anyone feel a little more special, and when you hang up after a great conversation with an old friend, find yourself yearning for more.
An hour flies by like the snap of my fingers when I get to chatting with one of the special people in my life. The age difference does not make a difference. The political views, religious differences - all of it makes absolutely no difference when two people have love and respect for each other. After a phone call with Connie, all I can think of is the next time I can see her, have a good visit, and be reminded of how lucky I am to have such an incredible woman in my life.
Mrs. Salper, aka Connie, is just someone who can walk into a room and give you the boost you need. Having been taught to never, ever refer to my elders by their first name, I still catch myself wanting to address her as Mrs. Salper, even though she continues to ask that I call her Connie. Old habits die hard.
Connie and Don, whom I have mentioned in a previous blog, are dear friends. Their daughter Elizabeth and I have known each other for 40 years. Looking back to the lazy days of summer, I can still recall how cool their home was. Cool, calm and comfortable. Even with the scorching heat of the San Fernando Valley, the Salper house was the place to be. A wonderful marble entry way, led into a living room, kitchen and views of their colorful backyard. Beautiful and interesting mobiles hung throughout the house. No matter what time it was, or what Don and Connie might be in the middle of, a neighborhood kid just knew that Mr. & Mrs. Salper would stop whatever they might be doing to make time for you. I can still get a grin out of Connie when I mention the two wooden headed dolls that hung in the dining room, near the old rotary phone. Those two dolls - actually they looked like 2 of the wise men - haunted me for years. On my last visit, Connie told me that in her will, I have been bequeathed the dolls. This speaks volumes.
Connie throws clay. No, not on the wall, not to fill cracks on the wall, but to create stunning pieces of art. When the garage door was up, you could usually see Connie, sitting at her potter's wheel, clay in hand, turning pieces of mud into works of beauty. I treasure every piece she has ever given me. Each piece represents a part of my life, a thought or an idea. I create little stories around each piece; and they are displayed through out my home. I don't pretend to be an art aficionado, but Connie is pure, undeniable talent.
During today's conversation, Connie informed me that she had been outside "tackling" the bougainvillea. Now, for those of you from So Cal, there are probably memories of that nasty, prickly, thorny yet breathtaking bush. Delicate pink and deep, mysterious blooms adorn the plant. We had one in our backyard in Northridge. I loved the thing. I hated pruning it though. Connie & Don's backyard was a long, slightly wide lawn, with numerous trees and a great covered patio. A kid could run and run in that yard - and run we did. Neighborhood kids, running and laughing, on summer days, building forts, chasing the dog and playing hide n' seek. I can close my eyes and still recall the great adventures that took place in that yard.
As I prepare to visit California for a month in September, one of the top priorities on my list is to head to the Valley, knock on the front door of my favorite people - and step inside. Just like a walk down memory lane.