I'm going to San Francisco today. Well, late this afternoon. Can hardly believe it. Now the essay is done, work is over for a week and a half, and I've decided to flag the swim training session this morning (oohhh naughty), let me tell you about it.
I'm an internet junkie from way back. Bless the Smithsonian for putting pictures of their quilts on the net in 1994, it's all their fault. I'm typical, I'm told, because women like me quickly adapted to email, because of the networking thing. Well, yeah!
In 1996 I was pregnant with Edward (who was supposed to be Emily!). Hoorah! I was working full time, and I had a 2 year old, so I guess I wasn't seeing too much of other mothers. I remember feeling tired and stressed. I got onto a mailing list (nope, don't remember how....) of women who were also pregnant and expecting babies at the same time. We were from all over the world. I often had email conversations with Fiama in Florence, Italy at 9pm my time when she was just finishing breakfast. There was someone from Singapore (Rita?) and a lovely woman who lives in Sydney, but most of my new found correspondents were from USA and Canada. There were some falling outs.....oh, email flaming was rife, but the hurt was genuine, and offshoot groups moved into new lists, eventually finding a home in a Yahoo group. We're still talking, a smaller group of us, and there's a new message on the list just about daily. As you'd expect with a bunch of women, there've been more births and some sad and shocking deaths. We've stuck together through divorce and new marriages, major illness and scary accidents, through tiny triumphs and big milestones. This group of women has been one of the constants through my last 11 years, and they have moved me to laughter and to tears. While the focus of the group was to talk about the kids, as they've grown, the discussion has ranged away from them more and more. Teenagers and men in the lives of these lovely women would be horrified to know some of the topics of conversation!
So, I'm going to San Francisco today, to stay with one of these friends, and tomorrow we'll be joined by a few more. Then on Wednesday, I'm off to New York, to meet up with even more, and some of the 10 year olds too.
There have been some negative and viscious comments made to me about taking this trip. Of course, there are many more sensible things I could be doing with the money I'm spending on making this connection, particularly at this interesting point in my life. But what the hell. Life is short, and difficult. I'm going to celebrate these friendships while I can. New York has been calling to me for many years.....so I'm going to check it out. These people aren't strangers, they've been my friends for 11 years. I've worked hard and saved hard. Nay-sayers be dammed. I've got my credit card and my passport, a list of phone numbers and addresses.......I'm off!
One lovely friend predicts I'll be having adventures with a fireman or policeman in New York. Another reckons I'll be shipped off to Guantanamo Bay and he won't be seeing me for years. Hmmmm. I'm going to a quilt museum in San Francisco, and having a long hard look at the water between the mainland and Alcatraz. There's an ocean swim race there every year.......
There's a new exhibition of antique quilts at the American Folk Art museum, and I've promised Edward photos of Strawberry Fields in Central Park. I'll be the one with the lime green bag and the big grin.
See you in about 11 days.