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Sunday, July 31, 2005

It's a Small World...

Have you ever gone to a really crowded place such as a shopping mall or amusement park and found yourself constantly bumping into the same people over and over throughout your stay?  If it's someone you know, you tend to laugh and say hello each time your path's cross.  And if it's a stranger, you end up smiling and giving each other knowing nods by the end of the day.

Sometimes life can be like that, with the life-paths of two families constantly criss-crossing... and frequently intertwined. 

Such has been the case with our friends Y & R (I don't know how they'd feel about my using even their first names here, so I'll just use initials for the time being).

Y and I met in the trenches of the New York music business.  We played mostly for different bands, but ended up on the same bandstand frequently enough, and knew so many of the same people, that it was inevitable that we would eventually become friends.

As our relationship developed we discovered many connections including the facts that Y had grown up in the town where I was born... that he was very friendly with a family that had befriended me while I was stationed in Hawaii... and that we shared a love (and disdain) for many of the same kinds of music.

Even after we each got married and started our families, our paths continued to cross. 

We ended up playing a few of the same 'road gigs' (bringing our spouses along where they too became friends), and while playing gigs in Miami Beach at neighboring Hotels (he at the Eden Roc and me at the Fontainbleu), we ended up walking with our infants together on the boardwalk.   

One year we even ran into each other while on vacation at Disney World.  We had planned our vacations independently and had unknowingly booked our stays at the same hotel for the exact same period of time.  It was only too fitting that we should run into each other on the morning of our first day while taking our kids on the 'It's a Small World' ride!

As the years passed, Y and I used many of our bandstand breaks to talk about Israel and our 'someday' plans to move there... but we never talked specifics with one another.  However, neither of us was particularly surprised to discover that our families ended up seated next to one another on the charter El Al flight that brought us all to live in Israel!  It was also fitting that both Zahava and R were at about the same stage in their pregnancies during that flight!

Even our respective choices of where to live in Israel seemed to have similarities, with both families choosing to live in communities that are technically 'settlements'... albeit so well-established and close to the 'green line' as to make the 'settler' title seem ridiculous!

Over the years we have celebrated together at each other's smachot (happy occasions), and mourned together at the graves of mutual friends, and at the funerals of friend's parents.

This past Shabbat our trajectories crossed again (by design for a change), when Y & R came to visit us in Efrat for the weekend with their youngest; a beautiful little girl a few weeks younger than our Yonah (their older kids were visiting relatives in the states).   

Although we have never been the kind of friends that kept in constant touch or made frequent plans together... the weekend was as natural and spontaneous as the pleasant history of our crossing paths.  We ate and drank in the unhurried, relaxed manner of old friends... and sat around on the back mirpesset (balcony) talking about everything ... and nothing at all... late into the night (I rudely nodded off mid-conversation). 

Y and I swapped work stories and talked about my adventures in landscaping, as well as the new home he and R are building.  Zahava and R talked about their own professional lives and aspirations (and I suspect they also found time to jokingly compare notes about husband complaints).

During the weekend we fussed over how proud we all are that R plays for the Israel National Women's Softball Team (she is the only religious woman on the team).  We were deeply impressed with the team's Bronze Medal finish in the recent Maccabiah Games... and hopeful for the upcoming European championship series (this week) in Prague.  R is one of those naturally athletically-gifted people that looks supremely buff and amazingly graceful even when lounging on a couch or pushing a stroller down the street!

As we sat around the table swapping parenting stories and playing 'can you top this' with our many aliyah tales, we realized that, without any forethought, we had ended up getting together exactly on the two-year anniversary of our moving to Israel together... and a nice bottle of chilled white wine from the Golan was retired toasting the occasion.

There are some people that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt... without really trying or making complicated plans... that your paths will continuously cross and re-cross in this great amusement park called life.

I've come to the conclusion that it's not just a small world... but also a much better world because of the way our paths cross with the people who truly matter in our lives. 

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Posted by David Bogner on July 31, 2005 | Permalink

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David, what a nice post for me to wake up to on a Sunday morning.

When one looks hard enough, or even when one doesn't necessarily try to do so, one is apt to find significance in everything that crosses one's path.

Glad that Y & R ("Young & the Restless"?)have crossed yours and Zahava's.

Posted by: Pearl | Jul 31, 2005 3:58:57 PM

thank you once more. Your writing is now read by myself and my husband too.

I just wondered what softball is in Ivrit? perhaps it is a new game brough over by Anglo's and Americans and has no name in Ivrit?!

I love reading all the positive stories you write, am amazed to hear that you are only living in Israel 2 years. How come there are no Olim moans? how come?

savta yaffa

Posted by: savta yaffa | Jul 31, 2005 4:48:27 PM

Pearl... We are well aware of our good fortune in the friends department... and honestly don't know what we did right to deserve people like Y & R in our lives.

Savta Yaffa... There are no (or few, anyway) moans about aliyah for the same reason that you will rarely hear complaints about minor aches and pains from truly happy people as they get older. As you get older it is inevitable that your body will not be as resilient and springy as when you were younger. The price of admission into middle /old age are these small aches and pains. Those who go out of their way to constantly complain about these aches tend to be the people who don't appreciate the gift of longevity. By the same token, making aliyah is full of relatively minor, but frequent emotional aches and pains. They can add up and overwhelm someone who thinks only about the pain and not enough about the gift of being able to live in Israel. We wake up every morning and are thankful for the gift.

Posted by: David | Jul 31, 2005 5:05:52 PM

nice story, but...I love the new country counter on the side, that is cool.

Posted by: ac | Jul 31, 2005 5:29:07 PM

What a beautiful story. It's obvious through your words how much their friendship means to you and your wife.
It really is amazing when paths are constanting crossing like that. I have known Y for almost 20 years and he really is one of those rare and very special souls. We laugh at the odd coinidences that we tend to share, but as I often tell him, it isn't me that holds that cosmic connection, it's him. And your story only reconfirms that. My family is very blessed to have him in our lives too.

Posted by: Rosebud | Jul 31, 2005 6:01:03 PM

Great story! Nice for you (and your friends) that you have each other. I especially liked the way you tied it all together.

How are you enjoying Harry?

Posted by: AmyS | Jul 31, 2005 8:54:14 PM

hi david,pleasant reading the post.

what decided you on making aliyah?
warm wishes

Posted by: richard | Jul 31, 2005 9:17:49 PM

Nice post. When you posted about working at Richie's Pizza I remembered just how many instances I have had with certain people crossing my path.

And I have found it interesting to think about how these meetings have impacted my life because many of them really have changed things for me.

It really is a small world.

Posted by: Jack | Jul 31, 2005 10:23:39 PM

ac... I saw the counter over at Celestial Blue's place (see my Good Readin' List). I don't know how long I'll leave it on the site, but for now I think it's pretty neat too.

Rosebud... I'm very curious about who you are and how you figured our who Y & R are. Please don't reveal either here in the comments section, but I would love to hear from you privately (treppenwitz @ gmail . com)

AmyS... May I assume that you have finally revealed yourself in your latest 'postcard'??? :-) I am enjoying Harry very much, thanks.

Richard... That is a subject that serves a post of it's own (at least), and I wouldn't be able to do it justice here in a short response. However, I will say that there is something wonderful about not standing out like a sore thumb within the workplace and society at large.

Jack... How true. I oftenwonder how many people I've known in recent years who I 'met' while slinging pizzas at Richie's. :-)

Posted by: David | Jul 31, 2005 10:24:26 PM

Jack... How true. I oftenwonder how many people I've known in recent years who I 'met' while slinging pizzas at Richie's. :-)

My gut instinct is to say quite a few. I am confident that you and I must have crossed paths there because the timing is right and I was there all the time and I suspect that there is every reason to think that there are many of us.

I have been to Israel on multiple occasions and have never gone without running into people that I knew from different places and times in my life.

To me it just fits.

Posted by: Jack | Aug 1, 2005 12:24:36 AM

I tend to think that when these folks show up in our lives it is more than simply synchronicity, that there is a real reason you keep coming together, even if you don't know what it is. I really enjoyed this post.

Posted by: JC | Aug 1, 2005 12:34:08 AM

It's so great to have friends like that...enjoy

Posted by: Essie | Aug 1, 2005 12:53:18 AM

I remember Richie's Pizza too, it was fun leaving notes for our friends, we used to practice our Hebrew there. The same guy used to serve us, wavy hair, sleveless undershirt..was that you? In the early 80's there was a popular pub down the street, we used to sit outside, what was it called? I can't remember the name of the pub,(I think it sounded like a male pe..s :o) but I can remember the beer I drank, Maccabiah.

Posted by: ac | Aug 1, 2005 2:59:16 AM

AC

There were several popular bars in Jerusalem in the early-mid 80's. ...Champs, and then around the corner, in a hideaway alley were Lalos, Peni's, and a few others. Funny..I guess you must of been thinking of Peni's. I never put the two together. Was awful niave at 16.

Posted by: ginger | Aug 1, 2005 5:10:26 AM

Wow it really is a small world. You're not going to believe this. I fell out of my chair when I read your post. The amazing thing is that I have never ever met Y & R. Unbelievable, no?! It's even weirder than that, though. I'm almost positive that our kids went to different Orthodox day schools. I know. It gives you a lump in the throat just to think about it.

Anyway, the next time you talk to them, please give them my regards. And let them know that they're total strangers to me.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Aug 1, 2005 6:01:27 AM

David: is that the kind of thing that brings about the "husband complaints" you referred to?

Posted by: ball-and-chain | Aug 1, 2005 6:03:02 AM

We all have those "small world" stories. There's a guy who davens with me every day who - as we discovered by sheer chance one day when talking about former residences - had bought our first house from us when I was transferred 26 years ago.

And there's the parents of one of The Mistress of Sarcasm's little friends in Houston 14 years ago. I had brought the Mistress over to play with their daughter, and we got into a "where are you from" conversation - turns out that the lady's brother was a friend-of-a-friend who had driven with me to Houston in 1974 when I had moved down to begin working for the Great Corporate Salt Mine. And the brother and I had had dinner with this very couple! On the day Nixon resigned, no less! Needless to say, with this background, we all became good friends. It was, one could say, bashert.

Posted by: Elisson | Aug 1, 2005 6:21:03 AM

I tried to blogroll you using your "blogroll me" link but it didn't work. According to ur url is trepp...

You can delete this comment if you choose.

Posted by: Rachel | Aug 1, 2005 8:22:49 AM

Jack... You have to remember that Israel is the size of one of the smaller states... and the density of one of the larger cities in the US. This makes for some frequent 'small world' experiences.

JC... I'd like to think so, but I like 'randomness' of the meetings too. There is something very nice about going into Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and knowing you will almost certainly run into someone you know without really trying.

Essie... We count ourselves very lucky.

ac... They guy you are talking about is named Mike Lawrence. He was one of the managers of the place. The reason I've used his full name here is that I would love to find out where he is these days... and maybe he'll google himself! :-) Ginger seems to have answered your bar questions.

Ginger... You seem to be particularly well versed in the locations and names of the watering holes from that era. I'm assuming you simply heard about these places from friends. :-)

Doctor Bean... Believe it or not, you do have a first degree (or maybe second degree) connection to Y. He played in the same band with Psychotoddler for a while back in the 80s (Y played guitar and PT played bass). You and PT are both doctors and have become friendly here on line... presto! Instant connection. Small world, huh?

Ball and Chain... Yeah... something like that. :-)

Elisson... I have problems with the concept of bashert (that something was meant to be), because it flies in the face of free will. I prefer the 'happy accident' theory of celestial mechanics. Sometimes you end up orbiting in different solar systems... and other times you end up an impact crater. :-)

Rachel... I have never used the 'blogroll me' link so I don't know how it works. You can use any of the following URLs to manually blogroll me if you're so inclined: http://www.treppenwitz.com http://bogieworks.blogs.com http://bogieworks.blogs.com/treppenwitz

Posted by: David | Aug 1, 2005 9:06:54 AM

I actually don't know Doctor Bean.

Sorry Beanie, no connection for you.

I miss all my friends :-(

Posted by: psychotoddler | Aug 1, 2005 10:46:51 PM

Those watering holes were outstanding. I left a lot of change on those counters. I have fond memories of watching the girls order 'screaming orgasms.'

I was so naive and so innocent.

Posted by: Jack | Aug 2, 2005 9:22:13 AM

Psychotoddler.. I know you two don't know eac hother personally... but you have developed a relationship on line. I was just pointing out a connection there. :-)

Jack... Man, the girls were demanding back then! :-)

Posted by: David | Aug 2, 2005 2:55:24 PM

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