In 1988 I rented an apartment in the city. Shortly after moving in I opened the back door and encountered the dazzling and eternally photogenic smile of my just met friend, Susan. Although a truly talented fine artist, she was caught up in selling her soul to the advertising world and had little free time for friendship. But still, we made the connection that held out for a later date.

We bonded over our mutually muscular calves that were not made to fit into the average American boot. We called them our “East German olympic calves” and named each other Helga and Olga. Okay, a thousand apologies to any German ladies with slender legs that might  randomly stumble on this post! Feel free to rip on us with horrible American stereotypes to your heart’s delight but try to sympathize. We were bitter over all those cute boots we would never wear!

In the beginning our friendship existed as part of a big group made up of girlfriends with husbands and brothers and boyfriends that would become husbands. We were a tight clan until two by two, destiny divorce disbanded us and from those ruins ,our bond emerged strong and victorious. We became roommates, travel buddies, work colleagues and despite the sometimes over exposure, we prevailed. At the end of the day, we reckoned ourselves life partners. It’s a joke that’s also a truth.

Psychics have said we’ve been traveling the past life trail together. Remember the Mayflower but let’s forget Atlantis, okay? (I promise to never let you drown again) While traveling in Spain we formed an unofficial girl band ” The Underwater Fräuleins” with the fabulous, skinny calves and all, Inga.  Sadly, we three mermaids never made it big as none of us can play an instrument and only Olga can sing. A lounge singer at heart, she remembers the lyrics of songs and commercial jingles, that I would choose to forget.

She has a laugh that cannot be tamed and for that matter, so do I and I’m sure we’ve disturbed some peace over the years. We’ve taken that laughter on the road many times and like a Harley, loud yet beautiful, we’ve managed to make friends! Our adventures have included ghostly encounters,  premonitions (Don’t go into the dark tunnel) too much Grappa, too much wine, dead saint in glass coffin, and the miraculous healing of St. Biagio, patron saint of sore throats: Rub a little holy water on the throat, take two aspirin with a big glass of wine and go to bed immediately!

Beyond all the silly and fun qualities, is the solid and dependable support of a friend that is devoted, honest, caring, giving,thoughtful and inspiring. We have found ourselves struggling down the same path many a time and one long phone call has the healing power equal to any Saint’s. She helps me to see the light and believe in myself when I am deep in doubt and any conversation that begins with tears always ends in laughter.

Today the world has had the pleasure of knowing my friend for 50 years! Happy birthday girlfriend and cheers to a brilliant future sprinkled with prosperity and filled with love and more loud laughter!



6 Responses to “Olga”

  1. 1 Olga September 16, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Thanks for the sweet words and wishes!! I love you too Helga!

  2. 2 John Young September 16, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    What a great post about my beautiful wife and her best friend. How lucky am I!

  3. 3 Una September 16, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    What a lovely post and what a great friendship!

  4. 4 Inga September 17, 2012 at 12:50 am

    I absoluetly LOVE that photo of the ” The Underwater Fräuleins” …I am graced by both of your life long friendships. Happy Birthday Olga!!!
    (yes, I said life long, incase you ever wondered ;-} )

  5. 5 Startare September 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Happy belated birthday Olga, and I’m sorry I can’t drink to your health this year like you drank to mine last year.

    A bientôt, les sirènes sous-marines….

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