I had a three-hour lunch on Friday with four old friends. It was a long lunch because three of us haven’t seen each other in about 35 years. That’s a lot of catching up to do! We actually could have spent three more hours, but other obligations beckoned.
All of us worked together in the mid-70s at Norelco, the company that’s well known for its electric shavers. Back then, it also produced a full line of kitchen products, including microwave ovens, coffeemakers, and food processors, as well as personal care products like hair dryers. I was the publicity director; Pat worked for the brilliant but completely crazy president; Diane assisted the sexy, smart and roving-eyed vice president; Alice worked for an adorable, hard-to-understand Dutchman, and Theresa worked for fun and intense me. Theresa and I lost touch for many years, but reconnected a few years ago and have remained pals ever since.
First, we took turns presenting synopses of our lives during the last three-and-a-half decades.
Four of us still live in the New York metropolitan area; the fifth lives on the east coast of Florida.
Four of us have a boy and a girl. One has three boys and a girl.
Two of us are divorced, but remain friendly with our ex-husbands; one is about to be divorced; one lost her husband about 10 years ago because he never took care of himself, and the fifth, Alice, has been married for almost 39 years.
Four of our 12 grown children are married; one is separated. Our children are working at jobs ranging from a fashion textiles designer and senior writer at a brand consultancy to a teacher and a fireman. Two of our daughters had children with African American men; one daughter is gay. We’ve all had our ups and downs with our kids, from estrangement to chronic illness, but have coped with them or worked them out.
We have 7 grandchildren among us.
Four of us are working; the one who isn’t quit her job a few years ago, when she underwent treatment for benign brain tumors. She has periodic MRIs, but she’s in good shape, thank goodness!
Two of us are on estrogen therapy. And, speaking of estrogen, one woman asked: “Do you think it’s possible to feel passion for a man at our age?” We didn’t arrive at an unanimous answer, but another of us said, “I’d be happy just to have companionship now.”
I asked Alice about what attracted her to her husband and the secret to their decades-long marriage.
“Jeff and I believe in the same things. We’re each other’s best friend. We know we can always count on each other. We’ve raised our children together as a united front. We’ve worked hard, together, to acquire what we have now and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished. I like to think we’ve instilled those values in our kids. I’m proud of us.”
IF YOU’VE HAD A LONG MARRIAGE, PERHAPS YOU’D LIKE TO COMMENT BELOW ON WHAT MADE IT STICK!