On Saturday mornings Betty and Jon like to go to Kopi Café on Clark. They started doing this a number of years ago and now it has become a tradition to go and see everyone and catch up. Not everyone goes every week. Sometimes there are ten of us, sometimes four, sometimes just two. This past summer the four of us (Sonia, Myra, Betty, and me) were there on the same Saturday morning and took a photo I have titled “the four muses.” This photo turned out to be the last one we would take with Sonia.
In 2006, fifteen of us traveled to Greece to celebrate Sonia’s 60th birthday. It was her idea; she organized and planned everything down to the last detail. We all flew separately and met in Athens, then rode in two vans to Olympia. My mother and hers came too. We stopped at a winery along the way where she had organized a tour and luncheon. In Olympia we checked in the Best Western – a marvelous hotel – and ran around like teenagers looking at each other’s rooms. In the evening we sat in the garden restaurant and had drinks, ate supper. The next day we took a tour of the ruins of the place where the Olympics were born and took another photo on the same spot.
Sonia, Myra, and I met in the theater We were actresses. Sort of. We joined a Greek director who had just arrived in Chicago in the early 1970s and wanted to perform plays for the Greek community. It must have been 1972 or 73 when I went for an audition after hearing a radio announcement calling for anyone who was interested, no experience necessary.
In this way we spent every Saturday together, rehearsing, going out to dinner, drinking late into the night. We were a big hit with the Greeks and performed our plays – modern Greek comedies mostly – at the Lane Tech auditorium, the Davis Theater, North Park College auditorium, and even went on tour to Northern Indiana in the summers. This was the beginning.
Since then, others have joined our family. A few new friends – Betty, Claire, Richard, Margie, Sandy – and a few husbands as well. There have been college graduations, weddings, divorces, illnesses, big events and small, quotidian occasions. Through them all we have remained close. And for me who had no real family to speak of in Chicago, they have been my rock, my support, everything, especially Sonia.
(TO BE CONTINUED)