Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Friend Bonnie

I'm still having trouble wrapping my mind around Bonnie's death. We had known each other for ever. Bonnie remembered that our mothers used to walk us side by side in our strollers.

We were classmates at Penn and shared many cultural moments - from U of P football games, to Philadelphia Orchestra concerts, to every show that premiered in Philadelphia. And, after the shows, we'd go to the Russian Inn on Locust St. for a snack. One night, Lucille Ball came in with her fellow cast members from Wildcat.

Bonnie moved to New York. She rented an apartment in a 5-story walk up. i remember that Bonnie told me that, no matter what she forgot, nothing was worth the 5flights up and down. And, if it was critical, she'd buy another one.

She married, had two beautiful children, got divorced, got married again, and divorced again. After her second divorce, Bonnie motored across country, to California. She stopped here one morning on her way out West and said that she would call from California when she got settled.

She did, married a wonderful man, and involved herself in San Francisco's many cultural events - from the opera to the art museum, and even to political activities.

We visited her in San Francisco many times. She guided us through all the ins and outs of San Franciso streets - sometimes at slightly less than break-neck speed. When I couldn't remember someone's name, I asked Bonnie and gave her a hint out of left fielde - the same name as Artur Rubenstein's wife. Bonnie didn't even bat an eye or miss a beat "Nella" she said.

Bonnie always made time for us when she came back for her Friends Central reunions and, and of course, we always made time for her.

As strange as it sounds, we introduced Bonnie to a dear friend of ours, Shep Shepherd who lived in San Francisco. His story is in the Smithsonian Oral History of Jazz collection and, unfortunately, Shep was the one who called us to relay the sad news about our dear friend.

It goes without saying that I will miss Bonnie.

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