I met Helena 20 years ago. Exactly – almost to the day, 20 years ago.
She and I were just arriving in Tucson, Arizona. Both of us were planning to marry people other than we are currently married to, and we were going to attend grad school at U of A. We met at the Spadefoot Housing Co-op across from Time Market, which Niles and Paul had just started – the basement was still full of frat-boy frat-house filth..
It was just one of those times, you know? I was 22, fresh off the plane from Macau. Helena was 22, fresh from New York City, via Milwaukee. We were young together. We dreamed and talked and drank our lemon-filled diet cokes and talked more. And we fought – explosively! – because we were 22 and young and that’s what can happen, maybe, sometimes? But the love that we’ve always had for each other really kept us through. She’s my sister from another mister.
I wanted to see her again. This trip was largely about that – being able to reconnect with her and her family and get to know her daughter, Belen.
We left Meredith and her clan in New Jersey and took the train to NYC, where Helena’s husband Bryan met us at Penn Station. (I think it was Penn Station?!)
This is the thing: everyone always talks about New York City being this rude, awful place but I’ve never gotten that. Every time I’ve been there, people have been fabulous. This time was no exception. In the 20 minutes at the station in which we were trying to find Bryan, no less than FOUR PEOPLE offered to help me. No kidding. Four.
Another guy helped Bryan carry the stroller down the stairs, and then yet MORE people helped me on the train after Bryan left to go back to work. They heard me tell him that I was nervous because I couldn’t hear the announcements on the train, and when our stop was coming up, they touched my arm and told me. And helped me off. And smiled.
New York City, man…
Moxie cut her hair while I was in the kitchen talking with Helena.
Anyway, here are some more photos from the first couple of days in NYC –