On Thursday morning I took the Megabus to Connecticut, to meet for the first time a friend I’d made through our common experience with breast cancer. A month after I was diagnosed, a friend wrote me to say that Jane, his mother-in-law, had also gotten a similar diagnosis. I wrote her a letter, and soon we were exchanging weekly phone calls. When I was planning my trip to NYC, I realized I could zip over to Connecticut on the Megabus, and I made plans with Jane to see her, if only for a short while.
Jane’s son picked me up and we had a great talk on the thirty minutes to her home south of Hartford. He stayed the afternoon with us as I got the family history and saw all the pictures displayed throughout the 150-year-old house.
We walked across the town green and down the street to see “The House,” now an attorney’s office, the former family home for generations. The current owners graciously gave us a tour as Jane described the family gatherings she attended there.
We had lunch practically next door at a family bistro. More history, everywhere I looked. I grew up in Florida, where history only begins in the ‘20s, after businessmen figured out how to carve civilization from the swamps. Families there are transient, locals being the rarity. Roots do not go deep in Florida; what a contrast in Connecticut!
Jane was described to me as unconditionally loving, and I have to agree. She was sweet and funny and attentive; but that was no surprise to me. Our friendship had grown over the months, and this was just a continuation of our phone calls and letters. She and I were quite the pair: both of us with excruciatingly short hairstyles—hers white, mine light brown. She did not need the mastectomy I had, but she was still recovering from radiation treatment, as apparently am I. Still, we laughed a lot, and the day ended too soon. (In our next phone call, Jane pointed out that we never talked at all about cancer, treatment or recovery. I guess we were having too much fun.)
I had to get up early the next morning to get a ride back to LaGuardia, where I would fly down to meet Abe and Ben in Asheville, North Carolina.