Last year at this time, it would have been a huge stretch of imagination to think that my dear friend Janet would be my upstairs neighbor. Janet was part of the creative staff in our art department at Victoria. She worked three days a week and I always looked forward to those days. It was my habit to check in the art department first thing after arriving at the office. It was the place where there was most early day activity. When Janet was there, it was an even happier place.
As it happened in 2009, Janet's husband changed positions and they were looking for a new abode in my neck of the woods. Of course, I suggested that they look in my building. The chances of them settling here even then seemed quite remote. However, to sweeten the possibilities, I introduced Janet to my favorite real estate agent, Laureen Paul. With the patience of Job, Laureen worked to find the right place for them and their two beloved dogs, Dixie and Willy. The latter not being lap dogs at all, but nice big hefty ones.
I never tried to influence Janet, other than to tell her how much we loved living on the Hudson River when in residence in New York. When we are in Ames, it's a nice walk to the banks of the Skunk River, but even Iowa proud folks can't compare it to the mighty Hudson. This summer was the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the river and it didn't hurt to have boats from around the world and a replica of Henry Hudson's own ship, The Half Moon, often drifting graceful by our building. Additionally, we have "our own" train station at the foot of our building with "our own" post office in the 19th-century station. A few years ago we were able to go from the building directly to the train platforms. Now, we have to take an extra step or two, but it is still mighty convenient. One can leave our station and be in midtown Manhattan in 35 minutes. We have even taken the train north, and with one transfer gone all the way to Canada.
My new neighbor Janet and I call ourselves "Ethel and Lucy" because of our madcap adventures--like getting lost in the parking garage at the Westchester Mall this holiday season. We were laden with shopping bags...and Janet even had a small tree! I guess we had some explaining to do to our husbands who couldn't understand how we managed it. It is truly the best to have Janet so close, even though she still does spend time in her country house. It's like the magazine days; I look forward to the time she's here. I'm more content knowing that upstairs is a bright, funny, talented and beloved friend ready to lend a hand or a pinch of nutmeg! And my Kitty Foyle has tender, loving care when I'm away. It's just the best! And now it's your turn to share a best with a friend from 2009....