These are the days

And stay right here ’cause these are the good old days”

— Carly Simon

My old friend Kip brought his family to town this week, and tonight we all descended on the Old Spaghetti Factory down at the foot of Broad Street. Marni, who was a buddy of Kip’s even before I met her — she was one of those younger kids, a freshman, when Kip and I were sophomores in high school — jumped through firy hoops to get off work at the book store early so she could be part of the soirée

The Old Spaghetti Factory is a national chain, but it feels local because they've always used spacious old warehouses to serve up their pasta in. This one's been here since the '70s, I believe. (I took this photo a month or so ago.)

There’s not a big story to tell about the evening, or rather, there is a very deep and rich story of why Kip and Ami brought their beautiful children over the mountains but it is their story and I am not at liberty to tell it. Else I would. The smaller story is that Marni and Kip got to reconnect a little bit over plates of pasta after not seeing each other for I think fifteen years. They’ve changed as they must inevitably change — we are all getting older — but it is my experience that both of them are the kind of people with whom, after a decade or so, it is possible to pick right up where you left off.

It went by too fast. A baby and a toddler and the kids and the arrival of plates of food kept us all hopping throughout the dinner, and I don’t think there was a single moment when all of us were seated. But we had fun catching up and just generally being merry, something Angela and I have long recognized that Kip and Marni are both good at. Ami we’re just getting to know, but she married Kip so you know she’s got a wicked sense of humor. Their toddler Claire, two tomorrow (Happy Birthday, little princess!), spent most of the evening in some position of adjacency to Ami (next to, on lap of, on shoulder of, etc.) and they brought along Ami’s niece Abbie, who held a fourteen-year-old’s special whammy charm over their four-year-old son Will. Mara felt honored to be able to sit next to Marni and show her her new shell necklace.

Right to left: Mara, Marni, Ami, and Claire.

So we didn’t talk deep and late into the night — what made me think we would be doing that? — but it was a time I wouldn’t trade for anything. It ended abruptly, too, as gatherings of families with youngsters often do. Time on the kid-clock runs out parabolically and you suddenly have to get them home and started on their routines. We managed to catch the last rays of a sunset from the Sculpture Park across the street and take a few pictures, and then — bizzanggg! — we all drove off in different directions.

My tendency toward melancholy makes me want to rue afresh all the years when we weren’t in touch, Marni and Kip and I, and the “lateness of the hour”, as it were, but it feels right to simply enjoy and savor the time we had tonight, and be grateful that I have great people in my life, right now, today, that I once thought I’d forever lost, along with a new jewel or two, too.

Gettin' wiggly. We walked across the street to pose on a concrete bench that turned out to be a work of art called "Untitled". Note the two reunited pals yukking it up top right.


9 Responses to “These are the days”

  1. 1 Louis September 25, 2010 at 01:41

    I love this group picture. Looks like you had a ball! Nice to see the Spaghetti Factory is still there.

  2. 2 jstwndrng September 25, 2010 at 08:43

    Hey Louis,
    Yes, it was a Grande Tyme. I think we owe it to the OSF that this building is still here. Long before this end of the waterfront was chi-chi property, this old hulk became the OSF and has been an institution ever since. Had this not happened, I’m sure the building would have been razed. And not that it’s a terribly unique or interesting building in itself, but you know how I feel about that. Love the bricks where you can, say I.

  3. 3 Marni September 25, 2010 at 17:11

    I should have known how quickly you’d be on this! A wonderful evening, truly. So good to spend time with everyone and spend a little bit of time getting to know Kippy’s family. Next time, we’ll have to have some sort of slumber party for the kids so the grownups can stay up late talking and laughing! Thanks again Matthew for thinking of the Spaghetti Factory- an inspired choice for families, and my belly was certainly content. And of course, spending time sitting next to my little buddy was the best- she’s pretty special, I have to say.

    • 4 jstwndrng September 26, 2010 at 10:42

      Thanks for moving your schedule around to get there. I’m honored you chose us over the store event. You bring that dash of Marnian wit to the repartee at any good soiree. And I just used two Frenchy words ending in ee two close together.

  4. 6 Kip September 25, 2010 at 21:24

    We had a great time! Kids being kids, Claire all over her mom, good conversations even if some of them were not finished, a trip across to the park for pictures, and then it was over. It is always amazing to me that with kids, when it’s over it is OVER! Marni, I must agree, we’ll have to come up with a way to take the next time long into the night. I have no problem with my kids dropping where they are, unless it’s the OSF…I think that floor is a little to hard! And for the record, I sort of thought we just might talk into the night. But, well, see the above thing about the kid thing.

    • 7 jstwndrng September 26, 2010 at 10:43

      Glad you were able to work the only evening we were available into your busy visit. I think they should take the tables out of the streetcar that’s in every OSF and put bunks in instead. Then the kids can fall asleep in the sleeper car. Unfortch, when the kids go to sleep, daddy starts getting sleepy too.

    • 8 Marni September 26, 2010 at 23:01

      Floor is also a little sticky…and potentially disgusting. I vote for the bunk bed thing, or sleeping bags, or just a big bed with a pig pile in the middle; it worked for all of us so it can work for them! Love you guys.

  5. 9 Kip September 27, 2010 at 13:22

    I’m pretty sure that if we all put our minds to it, a solution will appear!

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