Amid all the ugliness last week, I did get some glimpses of sunshine; and I’m not talking about the weather. Twice, I spent time with people I haven’t seen in years, and I do mean years, reminiscing about all the good times we shared.
The last several years I lived in Montreal I was doing advertising and PR in the fashion industry; and, after a couple of years at a tiny agency that specialized in the fur industry, I ended up working for a manufacturer and importer of high-priced women’s clothing.
Although they had multiple collections from many designers throughout the world, I’d been hired to work with Leo Chevalier, one of Canada’s top fashion designers and certainly my favourite. I’d known him for years and years and years and adored him and his esthetic. Needless to say it was my dream job.
He, his wife (who I’d also known for years and adored) and I not only worked together, we became very good friends and spent almost as many hours together outside of the office, as in it. We formed friendships with so many of the people we worked with — the make up artists, hairdressers, models, photographers and buyers who were such an integral part of our world. Among that crew was the design director of Holt Renfrew.
And it was with him I had dinner last Wednesday night. He and I tried to figure out how long it had been since we’d last seen each other and decided it had to be close to 30 years. We did re-connect once we had both moved to Toronto and then, after a couple of years, lost touch — only to happily re-connect again, not long ago, through Facebook.
Which is why I love Facebook, and even though their recent transgressions really piss me off, I’m loath to disconnect. Because of all the friends and colleagues from long ago I’ve found (and who’ve found me) and also because it’s such an easy and fun way to keep in touch with family, who now live all over the place.
Anyway, back to last Wednesday’s dinner. It was as if time had stood still and all we had to do, to continue where we’d left off, was click the “pause” button. Those really were the days. It was pre the separatist movement that sucked the life out of Montreal and caused hundreds of thousands of Montrealers to leave and start their lives all over again elsewhere. The city was gorgeous and vibrant and my God, we had fun! It seems like we were always laughing and dancing and having fabulous dinners.
Before we knew it, we’d been at the restaurant for almost four hours and were one of only two tables left. We literally closed the place and, as I walked home, it really hit me how lucky we’d all been, to have been in Montreal at that moment in time, and to be part of each others’ lives.
Made me wish I could turn back the clock. Because as much as I may have appreciated the life I had and the people I shared it with at the time, I know I’d appreciate it that much more now.
But alas …
Lucky me, though, I had another chance last week to meet up with people from my past. This time, it was a retirement party for an art director I’d worked with not long after I moved here. We’re talking decades ago.
Again, with a different group of people, I got to re-live the glory days — only this time it was the glory days of advertising we were remembering. Back in the ’80s, before holding companies and bean counters ruled the world. When good work mattered, when people were trained properly and mentored. When we worked our asses off, into the wee small hours and weekends much of the time, but always managed to laugh a lot, party a lot and share great times.
Don’t answer that, I know what happened. But last week taught me something. We can’t wallow in this misery we’re faced with every day. We have to change the channel, literally. There are still good times to be had and enjoyed. And I’m committed to doing just that. Care to join me?
“Time” by Michel Curi, on Flickr, through Creative Commons