Janie: Lifelong Friend

I was a freshman at Hunter College for only a few days when I met Janice Kaplan, who called herself Janie. We became lifelong friends.  Janie, an energetic young woman, invited me to join a houseplan with her, and a few others. The houseplan was a rather informal alternative to belonging to a sorority. I don’t remember the “Greeks” having much influence at Hunter, since there was no on campus housing and most of the students commuted.

The houseplan provided a sense of community. Hunter was a women’s school at that time with the exception of a few veterans. The members of the house plans received invitations to functions throughout New York City and beyond, and participated in stimulating intercollegiate activities.

Our house plan, “KUNER 52” was named after a teacher whom I never met. I tended to be friendlier with the members who were from Brooklyn, where I lived, rather than those from the Bronx. After a while I met more of my friends through my classes. I have to admit that Janie was a more serious houseplan member than I was. She has a way of keeping old friends and keeping friends together. I still meet former acquaintances when I visit her.

One summer my wonderful, whacky friend and I were intrigued with the idea of taking a Youth Hostel bike trip through Cape Cod. Since we still had classes we couldn’t start on schedule, but were told that we’d be able to catch up with the group if we left a day or two later.   We started our trip from Provincetown, where we rented our bikes. On the first day we biked to Truro and got as far as Eastham on the second day. It didn’t take us long to realize that we couldn’t meet the rest of the group. We rented a small house between Truro and Provincetown and toured the area for a couple of days.  We spent the last day of our trip in Provincetown, so we returned the bikes and got a room at an inn.  A few of the guests, classmates from Hunter, were decked out in trendy resort wear. My “dress outfit” was a denim skirt with saddle oxfords and “bobbie socks.”

Janie and I might not have been lifelong friends if our families didn’t meld. Her husband, Irving, a physician, and my husband Marty, got along well. We attended each other’s weddings and visited often—they’d come to our farm and we’d travel to New Jersey.  Our children, four in each family, of similar ages, had great times together. The Carno children remember collecting eggs at our farm. The Klein children recall the long Passover Seders at the Carnos.

Irving passed away a year ago; we recently attended the unveiling. It was a nice chance to see Janie and her family and reminisce about a lovely friendship.

Janie, left and me. We were invited to dinner and we had blind dates. We had a lovely time but never saw those men again.

Janie, left and me. We were invited to dinner and we had blind dates. We had a lovely time but never saw those men again.


8 thoughts on “Janie: Lifelong Friend

  1. I still see my best friends from college when I go home to Birmingham. We all try to get together. I always talk to my friend from residency and have lunch once a month because she lives in Montclair. My friend from Medical School lives in Atlanta. She is always there to give me the swift kick I need.

    • We have lots of friends, but only a few lifelong friends. We go in different directins and lose touch. Great that you cans till rely on each other. Enjoyed your comment.

  2. Hi Barbara, Nice memories – and you do have a talent for making these recollections read like a story! Too bad that in our time of life reminiscences of happy times are often evoked by sad events. I hope Janie is doing well in spite of it all. She seems like an energetic and positive woman. Love, Robert

  3. Robert, thank you for your appreciation. Janie is living in a retirement home neaaar Lisa. Getting older like the rest of us. She and Irving were at my mother’s funeral. Don’t know if you remember her beautiful tribute.

  4. Pingback: FEMMES of the FIFTIES | bestofbarbara

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