Awe, you're such a good writer. <3 This is why I love/hate the internet it can be a great way to meet like-minded people, then finally arrange in person meetups!

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Apr 10, 2023Liked by Erica Manfred

I lived in Halifax , Nova Scotia in the the early ‘70’s. My former husband was a medical student. I had no real friends-friends like the 2 back in NY with whom I grew up . I was lonely as hell. We moved back and forth-to NY, back to Halifax, and Philadelphia, and finally Albany. I made some new friends after my divorce but they weren’t my old friends with the tolerance to accept some of my off the wall behaviors. I was “locally” friendless again. As time passed I made new friends when I went back to work, and reestablished my closeness with my original two. That is due to cell phones and no long distance charges.

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Hey! It’s Gay Bob! Love that you mentioned me. We are old friends from 1970. I lived around the corner from our shrink on West 11th Street and after group I drove you home way up on the Upper West Side so that we could decipher the goings-on that just transpired. There was always a lot to discuss so sometimes we would have to go to a diner and continue the critical analysis of our diverse and quite interesting fellow groupers. It was fun. Great fun.

I loved working with you on my book which was a personal history with a memoir-ish feel. It was an extension of our long-term friendship and simply a joy to do together. I am forever grateful; without you it would have never been published.

I, too, am aware of how so many of my family and friends have left the planet. Those remaining are more precious. Some days I am aware that my days are running out and that one day I will have spent them all and that day will be my last. Gloria, my sister-in-law, died recently and she knew me since I was 8. My friend Babs died, my pal Liz died, a neighbor Irwin died, and an old voice from the past died suddenly. I went to a funeral two Fridays ago; I have another this coming Saturday. All these deaths add to the catalogue of my departed: my parents, my three older brothers, favorite Aunts and Uncles, and the love of my life, my husband Beryl. I know we were never meant to survive.

And I know I shall go to. It’s the way of life. It’s the bargain we made, the contract we signed when, in my belief system, we decided to come back and leave home. Whatever is the ultimate Truth, we’re here NOW, and we shall go later on. I write an invoice for a patient and wonder if this will be the last one I’ll send. As a holiday passes and fewer of my contemporaries are not present, I ask myself will I be around next Thanksgiving, next Christmas? It’s a disconcerting thought and upsetting to think that the world will go on without me. It’s a sobering thought, a realization that one day the party will be over and it’s time to go.

My cousin Rob in a nursing home and I were talking that when he and I go, since we’re the patriarchs of our family, the richness of our lives and experiences will go with us as it did with the vital generations that preceded us. I’m glad you helped me write BOBBY. At least some of what took place will live on. From Nomadland, “What’s remembered, lives.”

I’ve run out of words. I’ll use the words of another who articulates my thoughts and feelings and hopes and fears.

Can you imagine us

Years from today

Sharing a park bench quietly?

How terribly strange

To be seventy.

Old friends,

Memory brushes the same years,

Silently sharing the same fear…

—-Paul Simon

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No they’re not, but they help to maintain that friendship.

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