A Funny Thing Happened at the Coffee Shop


This is a little story of coincidences, if you believe in them.

On Monday, I did a quick trip up to LA to get my new and improved glasses, and stopped at Betsy’s on the way back south, to spend a couple of days with her. Yesterday morning, she went to a yoga class and I went to get the bugs cleaned off my car.

When I picked her up from her class, we had a couple of hours to kill while the cleaning service was at the house, so took advantage of Taco Tuesday down at the harbor with a side trip to the new wine tasting bar close by.

By the time we left, we expected the cleaners to be gone, but that wasn’t the case, so Betsy’s said, “Let’s go down to the coffee shop,” which is at the bottom of the hill from the house.

JCBeans is really cute place, definitely not a Charbucks, and after we ordered, old 60’s music filtered in and we started singing along! Next thing we know, another lady, in our age group, started singing as well, and then she and Betsy tried to “name that tune!”

Meantime, I’m looking at this lady thinking, “Who is this? I know her.”

Out loud, I whispered to Betsy, “I recognize her,” which is not something that happens very often! She said her name was MaryBeth and that she had flown for Air California. “So did I!” I shrieked.

When I said my old married name, it was “Om my god! Suki, you’re Suki, married to Randy!” She remembered me but my white hair had thrown her off!

Turns out, MaryBeth and I go way, way back to Monday Night football at Bill Deane’s house on Balboa Island in the early 70s’. We did fly for Air Cal at the same time and knew all the same people.

Such fun, we chatted for about an hour and it brought back lots of memories of those days, 50 some years ago!

Do I Believe in Coincidences?

After we left, I started to wonder why this had happened.

Betsy thinks it’s the start of my new life, with the prospect of reconnecting with all the old school friends in South Africa. With all the rush of memories. So many thoughts and feelings surfacing, bubbling up after being buried by time, circumstances and events of the last 50+ years.

Maybe she’s right, I have no idea. But I do know that these memories need to be recorded and I hope to have a chance to talk to Randy about the times we spent sailing and traveling, to get his point of view. I think it’s so important to have a record of all this for the boys, both big and little.

My mum didn’t leave any sort of history as she was always very reticent - about everything. Stiff upper lip! We have a short document from Auntie Nel, Mum’s younger sister, about their life. But we really know very little and I don’t want that to be my legacy.

Some of it will be difficult to write about, especially those intervening years spent mainly in Washington with the second ex. But if I am going to write this thing, it will have to be complete - or as complete as I can make it.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been writing down my memories and recollections, all very piecemeal and random. These are at least a start on something that I hope will enlighten the boys about their mum’s tumultuous life. And help me make sense of it, too.

Oh and the name of the song that started this all? The Rain, the Park and Other Things by the Cowsills.