I feel lucky that I still see many of my friends going all the way back to our high school years, and a few even before that. I have known Alpay since we were freshmen in Adana Boy’s High School. Even then, I was not very active, but I remember him running around during the breaks chasing someone else or being chased by another guy.
After high school, we lost contact. He went to Ankara to study medicine, and I was in Istanbul studying business. Many years later, in 1991 I got a phone call from Alpay in Rhode Island. He found my phone number from a mutual friend and called to reconnect. I was very pleased, especially to find out that he and his wife Ender were living in nearby Massachusetts. I told him that in a month or so I was going to have cardiac bypass surgery and after that, we should get together.
Sure enough, in due time we had a reunion and met Ender, who was also a doctor in Boston. Since then, we have seen each other either many times, here in Rhode Island or Massachusetts. We enjoyed going out for dinners and talking about the old high school days. In recent years, some health issues interfered, and we could not get together as frequently as we would have liked.
Today, Jan and I drove to visit them at their house. Due to a medical problem, Alpay has to be on supplementary oxygen and I did not want him to drive. At our age, health problems seem to emerge with greater frequency for all of us. Since they are both dog lovers and lost their dog a few years back, we took Karma with us, which they enjoyed very much as you can tell from the photographs. And, Karma enjoyed the visit too and did not have any problem on his first long-distance drive, about 80 miles, 90 minutes each way.
We enjoyed sitting in the sunroom and chatting about a variety of things. But the hot topic was the ongoing mayoral elections in Istanbul. Jan kept searching for news and finally broke the news to us that Imamoglu won the rerun election by a huge margin, and we all celebrated with a nice lunch.
Coffee followed, more conversation about the elections, and eventually the time came for us to head back home, another 90-minute ride for Karma. We hugged, said bye, and headed home. Having a little less traffic, we made it in about 75 minutes after a comfortable drive.
Here are some moments from our nice visit to see our friends, starring Karma!