Sunday, February 19, 2006

That Time Thing Again

Yesterday I watched this cooking show I’d heard about on PBS, simple recipes, five chefs, one of them this girl I went to grade school with, Margot Olshan. I suppose woman might be the correct term to use, since she’s a year older than me, if I recall correctly. Anyway, watching this show was interesting because she was a girl I barely knew except that she was super cute and wore “mod” minidresses – she had a really nice wardrobe, I remember thinking of her as one of those girls who has the perfect, popular life – in any case, all I could think, watching her make pancakes was, How could you not still be eight? It’s different when you stay in touch with people from your childhood – Nina and I for example are friends from age twelve, so we’ve been there to witness physical growth. But the people who remain in my childhood, it’s startling to me to see that they’re not actually still children in mod dresses. It makes me wonder all about every moment of her life from the time she graduated P.S. 166 on. I guess this is why we have things like high school reunions.


Matt said...

Aside from the initial shock of seeing someone on t.v., news, street, etc, do you think it more or less disconcerting to deal with rediscovered individuals one on one or in a group setting? Personally, I'm o.k. and have been pleasantly surprised whenever I have run into people from the past in unexpected surroundings. You have a moment of flush, the brain compensates, and things go back to relative normal. It's as if your noggin fills in gaps with broad impressionistic strokes within miliseconds. Very adaptive trait, that....

Now contrast that with going to a reunion of some sort or the other. What works on the individual level gets thrown on its head in a large group with shared experiences, regardless of how positive those experiences might have been. Your ears might be hearing "mortgage banker", "rotary club", "third wife, Mitzi", but your brain is saying (insert long forgotten episode in which the statute of limitations may or may not have lapsed). Add some stale h'or duerves, well drinks, paunches, wrinkles, gray hair, no hair...well, you get the picture and it's more Goya than Cassatt.

On the whole, give me my mortality reminders unadorned without a side of nostalgia.

Betsy said...

Yes, one on one for sure. It doesn't happen nearly as often now as it did when I was still in NY. In Chicago "the past" is only up to ten years ago. Weirdly enough I've never been to any of my HS reunions for this reason or that (er, working at a video store/shame, literal grief), but I cracked up at your description thereof. Do you do any writing for your job? You're so good at it!

chefmo said...

Hi there. It's Margot here.
So funny to see your recollections of me from ps 166. The fact that someone (especially someone a grade younger) would remember me without knowing me. I was so shy back then. Plus, I was being terrorized by some really mean girls for all of fifth grade.

Betsy said...

Omigod! You were easy to remember because you were so pretty and wore such cute clothes and I just felt so awkward and shy myself, it didn't occur to me that anyone else was shy, much less someone I imagined was perfect! Congrats on your success. I've been watching the show since then. It's great. Makes me feel like I could actually cook some of those things... anyway, that's awful about being terrorized - I got picked on by bigger kids at PS 166 too - you might be interested in reading my second book, ALL THIS HEAVENLY GLORY, there are a couple of PS 166 stories in there. If you do, let me know what you think!

chefmo said...

I will have to look for the book and see if it is familiar territory.
So much for success- had a falling out with my partner in the bakery/cafe (my co-cast member John)and sold him my share of the business because I don't believe in having partnerships personal or business with dishonest people. So now I am starting over trying to get my own cafe opened. It was a horrendous experience to go through.
Glad you like EveryDay Food- it's something I kind of fell in to.
I'll let you know when I read the book.
Best wishes,

Betsy said...

Margot - that's all too bad - I'm sure it was a difficult situation. Keep me posted about your new cafe and I'll stop by next time I'm back in NY. I'm at mabyers18 @