“People. People who meet people, are the luckiest people in the world” (1). Not a trite Broadway show tune, but so true. The older I get, the more I enjoy reconnecting with those people I once called friends but have somehow slipped away. You could say it’s a hobby of mine, and a fun one. You never know where a reconnection might come from, and you must always remain vigilant.
My latest reconnection illustrates how twisted this process can become. It started many months ago with me staring at a stack of developed film my late Uncle Jim, Aunt Dorie’s husband, left behind. Jim was always into new gadgets, so he bought himself a disc camera in the early 80s and tried it out. They came out in ’82 and Kodak stopped making them 17 years later. The whole setup, with its 2 1/2 inch diameter 12 exposure film disc was pretty weird.
Since he left behind only 5 developed discs, I figure he didn’t like the system very much. I searched around on the net and found an outfit that would take these disc contents and give me actual pictures. Wasn’t cheap, and took forever, but the product arrived last week: pics on a disc and a thumb drive, 76 JPEGs in 5 folios. Almost were all from our 10/4/86 wedding and Lord Fox reception. Great fun reviewing these. One pic was of a smiling pretty Asian woman sitting alone.
I knew exactly who that was. She was Tom Schnitzer’s post-doc who basically ran his lab and tried to make something of this floundering fellow. I’d picked Tom’s lab as he was applying virology to rheumatologic issues. That was my background, with a masters in microbiology and time spent in 3 previous virology labs. I did not flower here either, saving me from a career grubbing for grants. Not that nothing came from the experience, as Tom’s notion that we should exercise the polymyositis mice I produced led to a meeting with Kinesiology grad student Kathy Clark and the rest is history (2). Back to that post-doc, we grew close and I invited her to our wedding. She gave us a big wok as a wedding present, still in our kitchen armamentarium today and what I cooked tonight’s dinner in. But a name?
I e-mailed Tom that pic and he patiently reminded me that was Diana Huang (of course!) who’d gone with him to Rush from U of M, a shift that occurred about the same time I went to Chicago to learn arthroscopy. Tom later went up to Northwestern, with Diana staying put in Rush, looking mainly at HIV. Tom’s reply included her Rush profile, which included her academic e-mail address, good enough to contact her. These reconnections always run the risk of a “who the hell are you?” response. Not so with Diana. I heard about her travails losing a big HIV contract to Duke, her plans for a major South American trip in September, and her retired lawyer husband, a one time DA. We both agreed that getting together when Kathy and I visited Chicago in October would be a good idea, maybe even roping in Tom and wife Barbara, whom Diana has not seen since they left for Northwestern.
So a nice outcome all the way around, borne out of some dusty film discs.
To keep this from getting too damned sentimental, let’s turn to food. While I usually just throw together my stir fries, I wrote this one down, should you wish to duplicate it.
And here’s what it looked like in Diana’s wok, pretty and colorful, about half way into the process.
As far as old friends, the late Guy Clark had it figured (3).
- Barbra Streisand People 1965. YouTube
- 2. Ike B. How We Met. WordPress 2/5/20. https://theviewfromharbal.com/2020/02/06/how-we-met/
- 3. Guy Clark – “Old Friends” [Live from Austin, TX]. YouTube