Monday, December 29, 2008

A Visit From one of my dearest friends in the world...

My mother always told me growing up that you know you have a true friend when, if a lot of time passes and you don't see or speak and then you do, it was as if no time has passed.
27 years ago, I was in the first year photo program at Rochester Institute of Technology. That first week of school, I met another student-Donna Marino- who would become one of my closest friends in the world. The program was so intense and while most people were having fun, enjoying college life, I was always working-I had to work twice as hard as everyone else. It came easy to them, but not to me. There were so many mega talented students and my teacher made sure to let me know VERY often that I was not one of them, telling me many times "you suck, you're never going to make it, find a new career." Little did I know at the time that he told that to a few students-many were very intimidated by this and left the program. Donna and I spent many hours together shooting until she switched majors after her second year. We were studio partners and I remember our teacher telling us to be careful what we plug in-telling us we may blow something up. The first day in the studio, she tells me to plug in the battery pack for the strobes and I said "I'm not going to plug it in, you plug it in" and this went back and forth until reluctantly, I plugged it in. Thankfully, nothing blew up. We were each others "models," or guinea pigs,for many shoots.
I remember it was my 21st birthday, a Friday in February 1983 and another close friend, Barb Siegfried, took me out to dinner with her parents. We came back to the Sorority and were going to go out but there was Joan Gallagher, a photo major a year younger than me, in the lounge. She asked if I could help her, and I remember being a little annoyed because I wanted to go out. I vividly remember saying "NOW? You want me to help you now? It's a Friday, it can't wait?" and she pleaded. So I followed her into the basement and all of a sudden I hear "SURPRISE." One by one, my sisters came over to hug me and each one would say "look over my shoulder." There were my parents-who drove 360 miles to surprise me, there was Brian Adelstein and David Rosen, there was Barb's mother (I have no idea how she beat us back to campus), there was Robin Krassan, and there was Donna. It was one thing that my parents were able to contact my Sorority sisters, but the non Greek friends (Donna, Robin, Brian and David)-I still don't know how they found them. We partied all night, and it was a blast.
Donna moved off campus, I was in a Sorority and active with campus activities and because we were in different majors and she moved off campus, we rarely saw one another.
Graduation day came and I left RIT and basically never looked back. I always wondered where she was and what she was doing but we completely lost touch. Her name is so common that when I googled her, only a million people with her name came up.
Then, in March I signed up on FaceBook. One by one, I found, or was found, by people from college, high school, old newspaper jobs, etc. I searched her name and there were many, all without photos, all over the country. I kept going back and searching and one day-there was her photo. OH MY! I sent her a message and she responded very fast. Last week, she came to town with her 2 gorgeous children and it was as if we were never apart. There was so much to talk about, and not all stuff from the past. She looks exactly as she did the last time I saw her, 24 years ago. This time, we promised, we are never going to lose contact with one another again.
My mother was right (she always is)-you know you have a true friend when, if a lot of time passes and you don't see or speak and then you do, it was as if no time has passed. Donna definitely is a true friend.


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