After hearing nothing since last Beltane and seeing no posts for longer in social media, and all the e-mail I forwarded returned undeliverable, I began to fret for my friend, Dick Foy. Our mutual friends long gone, I searched the internet for his obituary and actually found others of the same name but their faces were not his. I summoned up the courage to call the phone number I had for him in Titusville, Pennsylvania, his paternal family home. Chipper as ever he answered the phone and relief washed away all my trepidations.
In the Sino-Soviet studies Master’s Degree program at George Washington University, he lived on 19th Street in a little apartment building on the first floor with a roommate while I was across the street in the Sedgewick off of Dupont Circle early in 1966 where our friends Sachi and Edna who introduced me to Dick also lived. I remember pounding on his door, waking the rumpled grizzly who appeared in the doorway to say I would make breakfast for him if he would go to Mass with me at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, a short walk away. Not one to ever turn down a good meal, he consented and so began our association of many years and assorted events and times.
It was not unusual for me to stop there on my way home from Corcoran School of art where I was a painting student three evenings a week, and over a cup of tea, with his Russian Blue cat, Tobermory slinking around the room, we would talk until I was tired enough to retire to my little studio apartment.
From George Washington Dick went directly into the army as a R.O.T.C. trained lieutenant and as luck would have it he did not get sent to Viet Nam, but spent a good length of time at Fort Meade in Maryland, so we still managed to get together.
When I was given the job of setting up an art show at my new parish out in Friendship Heights (the D.C. side of Bethesda) it was Dick and a friend of his, our mutual friend, Edna and I who hung all of the artwork in the church hall. The next day when I went into the exhibit after Mass, my soul soared as never before, I was so thrilled to see that the place was packed to the doors and selling one of my paintings was a bonus. The lady who put me in charge said it was the best art show they ever had. Then I knew for sure, I belonged in the world of art.
When my parents were going to Europe and I did not go home to see them off (?? Why was this necessary – they went every now and then.) I decided I could see them more easily from New York. Some distant cousins in Yonkers said I could come the day after I had requested staying with them. However, I had an adventurous co-worker from Waterbury, Connecticut, who said, Oh, let’s go tonight and we did just that, riding the subways and walking around on the somewhat seedy side of the lower east side until dawn when we stopped at a deli for bagels and coffee. When it seemed a reasonable time of day I called the cousins in Younkers from the City and they sent their son to pick me up and then I became acquainted with the Queen’s parking lot – or the highway during traffic jam. As a group we went to LaGuardia and surprised my parents and saw them off on their way to Slovakia. I did phone my grandmother to let her know I was in New York and had seen my parents off. She was surprised but pleased.
Climbing into the Greyhound bus heading back to Washington, D.C. just before it left, I found Dick Foy and we were glad to have connected, though our plan to do so was somewhat tenuous.
We attended a party together with his Ft. Meade friends and I wore a short sleeveless electric blue slip dress with silver glitter stars all over it, silver lame stockings and silver cheap but cute shoes. Later Edna told me he was so proud of me in that dress and years later on the phone he asked me if I still had that dress. Yes, in fact, I do.
When I was leaving The District of Columbia to drive with my friend Caroline and her father as far as Colorado on my way to California, I insisted that Dick come to a party Caroline was having, at which I was the bar tender. He protested, but I said I had no idea when I’d see him again as we were heading out the next morning. With some grumbling and great effort he got his car fixed and did show up.
Dick did travel to California to visit one time and from the San Jose airport we flew down to see another long-time friend of mine, Star and her husband Bob, in Redondo Beach for a weekend. Among other highlights of that visit was boating in King’s Harbor.
Once I got married, our friendship was mostly at the correspondence level and though I kept all of his lengthy rants about New Jersey politics I have no idea where that batch of letters has gone today.
While I was in Japan in 1976 meeting my in-laws and tasting the Japanese culture, Dick’s mother died. Sometime after my divorce Dick sent me a beautiful red Chinese jacket that had been her’s.
He drove to Parma to visit briefly after our not seeing each other for thirty-three years and I drove with my friend Cathy to Titusville a couple of years later but since then it has been simply cards or brief notes as we’ve aged and his routine is almost complete involvement with his friends from A.A. and I navigate life one week at a time, trying still to absorb, learn and travel as opportunities arise.