Believe in fate and love at first
site? Like faith, it is often an intangible, but we know what we personally
experience. You never know where life takes you, but somehow you get
to where you are supposed to be.
Meeting Andrew, the mad Englishman,
in 1979 on a ferry going from Ireland to England was truly meant to
be. Neither of us intended to be on that ferry at that time, but the
forces that be brought us together and as they say, the rest is history.
I was 18, a poor exchange student
bumming around Europe after spending junior year of college at Hebrew
U in Jerusalem. I traveled solo for 7 weeks through Italy, Germany,
Switzerland, Holland and finally, Ireland with a backpack and an Inter
Rail pass, staying with friends, or often saving money by taking
the overnight train rather than stay in a hostel. I was at the end of
my trip, heading to England to fly Freddie Laker back to New York.
In Ireland I decided to splash
out and take a student flight to England cutting a twelve hour trip
by ferry and train to a one hour flight. I tried for 3 days to get a
flight at the student travel office but there were just no cheap flights
available. I bought a ferry ticket.
Andrew had gone to Ireland to visit
an old friend. He had bought a first class ticket for the ferry portion
of the journey since first class passengers would be the first off the
ferry onto the train and therefore be assured of a seat. Well, they
tore off the wrong portion of his ticket and while they were willing
to let him onto the ferry for the return trip they wouldn't let him
into 1st class.
When I walked onto the ferry there
were a few families sitting around large tables, and one cute guy sitting
by himself at a table for 4. I remember thinking, wow he's cute, probably
with someone, but what the heck, I'm tired of talking to families. Being
the polite English gentleman he jumped up, put my bag overhead and even
had a lighter for my cigarette although he himself did not smoke. I
was impressed. The room began to fill up and shortly two nuns inquired
if anyone was sitting there. That put a damper on our lively conversation
and obvious interest in each other, so we took a stroll up top to watch
the sunset as the boat pulled out.
When we returned, the porter said,
"Sir, now that we have pulled out, I can let you into 1st class."
Andrew looked across the table and said "No, thanks, I'm quite
happy where I am." The porter responded "Oh, you can bring
your friend too," and we went to first class, with its leather
swivel chairs and full bar.
When we boarded the train at Holly
Head we headed to the dining car and got a table just for two. Our first
kiss was as the train was passing through the station in Crewe. Years
later I embroidered a sweatshirt for him saying "Crewe."
Thus began a four year Trans Atlantic
romance. I loved that he was a chef, he loved that I was the first girlfriend
who wasn't too intimidated to cook for him. I was in love, but scared
to admit it, thinking this was a summer romance that wouldn't last.
On his first visit to New York my
hometown, 5 months later, we went on a whirlwind tour. In 12 days we
experienced 14 different cuisines - some of them twice. He may have
been a European trained chef, but I came from a family of foodies and
we both loved exploring restaurants, ethnic areas such as Chinatown
and Little Italy, markets and gourmet shops. On a trip to Balducci's,
he told me about Harrod's food hall and Fortnum and Mason. We had a
He'd come to New York at least once
or twice a year - thank you Freddy Laker - and we'd cook together, making
parties for our friends, and I'd take him to my latest food find. He
taught me formal techniques and kitchen tricks and I exposed him the
wide variety of ethnic foods New York offers.
Then he disappeared.