“I’ll go if you’re going.”
“Well I’ll go if you’re going.”
And so our college reunion weekend begins. Sandra Lee Nash Hamilton from Rockwell NC and I, Sandra Leigh Jett Ball from (then) Rockville MD, roomies for life. Different as day and night on the surface but eternally bonded kindred spirits in the soul where all love lives.
I pick Sandy up at the Richmond airport midday Friday and we proceed to our not to be believed loft apartment for the weekend. It is a dream place for our reuniting. We have not seen each other for over twenty years. We have always kept up with Christmas cards including the requisite family update notes and pictures but that’s all. In trying to locate a place to stay for our last minute decision we find ourselves invited by Outer Banks good friends and neighbors Al, Steve, Wally & Jagger to rest our heads at their Richmond loft apartment in refurbished Lee School. They have decorated the downstairs like a 50’s diner complete with jukebox, pay phone, popcorn machine, menus, a seating booth. And lighting. Ah, the lighting. Stunning. We are immediately time warped back to our college years.
We wrestle Sandy’s big blue suitcase up to the elevator and inside. (I have a small carry on size). She has big blue and a carry on size. In her defense, she is going on to a family funeral after the reunion. Still she would have had more luggage than me in a heart beat.
We semi-unpack. Our loft bedroom is another story. We are in a palace. King size bed, posh pillows, plush throws, rich fabric drapes for closet doors, a loft over our loft (reached via a tiny wooden ladder beside the bed) big enough to sit in and read while looking at street life going by through the huge arch window.
We change to walking clothes and head to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts just around the corner. We want to check out the restaurant Amuse for lunch potential with the rest of the gals the next day. It looks perfect. We move on to Carytown where we find a plethora of fun restaurants for another lunch option. Funky shops are everywhere. We sip some tea at 10 Italian Cafe and chat. We head back to the loft. It’s time to prep for dinner.
We have reservations at Millie’s Diner on Main Street in Shockhoe Bottom. Friend Linda Lauby and her husband Paul Keevil own this and others in Richmond. It’s a quick trip and we find a parking place just down the block. It has started to rain. By the time we reach the door we are close to being drenched. But it’s a diner, we are fine. And not too wet to dry off quickly. We are seated in a booth across from a small pre-wedding celebration. The hostess apologizes for the noise. We don’t mind. We try to pick out the bride and groom.
The next day we have time before the rest of our group arrive for lunch. We decide to walk the dozen+ blocks to school down Monument Avenue. Sandy has brought walking clothes. I have brought everything but. I live in running/walking clothes. I pull something together out of sleep wear and get my emergency running shoes from the car. We set off. It’s beautiful. Trees are in full bloom. We happen upon an estate sale. Pause a moment for those who do not know Monument Avenue. It’s a boulevard style street with a huge tree lined grass medium strip in the middle. If you walk on one side you can see the other but it’s pretty much way over there. Back to the narrative. We decide to go inside this happened upon piece of luck. “Maybe we can find a host gift for the guys,” Sandy reasons. We don’t need an excuse to browse but I agree.
We do find something but don’t want to carry it. Besides everything is marked down the next day. We chance it and go on. We do go back on Sunday and get the piece. We are going our separate ways after that. Sandy has a ride to her funeral with the gals. I am headed home. I decide to wander through the sale and impressive house designed (I later read) by William Lawrence Bottomley (sold for 2.2 million in minutes) some more. It is stunning. I take pictures and post one of me on the nude sunbathing roof on Instagram. Friend Linda (Millie’s) sees it and messages me. “Wait. You were at the 2315 Monument estate sale?” I tell her yes. “The son of the owners was at Millie’s Friday night for his pre-wedding party. Paul & I went to their wedding yesterday. We have been to dinner at that house.”
Like the song no one ever wants to hear says, “It’s A Small World.”