"Enduring Friendship / Parallel Lives, Part 2" posted November 7, 2005 at 04:23 PM
In May of 2003 my wife retired, and in July of 2003 I retired. That October we relocated to Wilmington, North Carolina, to spend our retirement years in a warmer climate, and to be near the ocean. In my previous story, I spoke of our friends Anthony and Judy Piana, and about how we kept in touch only with phone calls and Christmas cards. With the exception of one brief visit with only Anthony as he passed through our home town in Ohio while on a business trip, we had not all been together for almost 39 years.
Upon our move to Wilmington, Marie and I were renting an ocean-front apartment as we waited for our new home to be completed. And in order to minimize the possibility of not receiving our mail, we were temporarily using Marie's sister's address for our mail. And so our Christmas cards that year went out to all our friends with that return address. The Pianas sent us a card to our old Ohio address, and it was returned to them. In the meantime they received our card with the DaSilva return address. Anthony, assuming that we lived at that address, called information and asked for the phone number for Marco Zaza in Wilmington, NC. When told there was no listing in that name, he gave the operator the address on our card, and was told that address was listed to Eugene DaSilva, and gave Anthony the phone number. When he called the DaSilva house, Anthony said he was trying to locate Marco Zaza, and my brother-in-law explained that we were staying in a rental unit at Carolina Beach and he gave Anthony our phone number at the rental. When Tony called, Marie answered, though I guessed from Marie's side of the conversation that it was him. I remember it was December 16, Marie's birthday, and although I was perplexed as to how he figured out where we were, I assumed this was the yearly Christmas call. He explained to me how he knew we had moved, and how he obtained our phone number. Preparing to rub it in about the cold northern weather he and Judy were having in New York while Marie and I were walking on the beach, I asked about the weather up north. He replied it was pretty good, but changed the subject by asking me if I was sitting down, because he had some news to give me.
He and Judy had also retired in July of 2003, and moved to Little River, South Carolina. They too had temporarily rented a beach-front apartment, and they had just moved into their new home in October. Little River happens to be exactly 55 miles from Wilmington! After all these years, we were about one hour's drive away from each other. We were astounded. As we immediately started planning a get-together, we suddenly realized that as retired people, we could do it anytime. Anthony's exact words were, "why not today?" Marie and I couldn't think of one good reason why we shouldn't, and so we got in our car and headed for Little River.
The coincidental details of our parallel lives range from the big things, like our wedding and retirement dates, to the small. I was not surprised when we pulled into Anthony and Judy's drive in our black Toyota Camry that afternoon in December 2003, to see a black Toyota Camry parked in their garage too. Our lives truly have run on a parallel course!
Our reunion was a joyous occasion, filled with hugs and tears of happiness to again be with our dear friends. And since that first reunion we have visited many times, and even celebrated our anniversaries together--last year with a trip to Charleston, and this year with a dinner together here in Wilmington. The early years of our lives, filled with child rearing, making ends meet, moving to disparate places, and the distance this put between us, had separated us. But the bonds of friendship we had formed in 1962 were strong indeed. And it seems we have picked up right where we had left off in 1964.