|A cafe in the tiny village of Plazac, France. On the menu: vegan gaspacho, an assiette vegetarienne (vegetarian plate), fruit smoothies, and Tibetan momo. Not your average French cafe, in other words.|
Jachi didn't mind that, nor did she seem to mind hanging out from time to time in our funky cabin in the woods, where our main water supply was generated from an old-school hand-pump, the bathroom was an outhouse, and all our meals were prepared on a wood-burning stove. Jachi was special in that uniquely non-judgmental way, and on many other levels: She was a talented violinist, a sophisticated world traveler, and she possessed a precocious spiritual maturity for an adolescent (she meditated daily!).
|Flowers in the French garden Jachi's mother planted and continues to nurture|
One of our fellow classmates and Jachi's neighbor down the road was Julianna Margulies (she was a year ahead of us in school), and I can still remember the day we walked to her house to deliver get-well greetings when Julianna was sick with the flu. Her mother, a pre-Raphaelite beauty with long raven ringlets, served us grapefruit halves sprinkled with turbinado sugar, which we ate with special serrated spoons. It was a magic moment! (Even then, Julianna had star quality, and looked like Sleeping Beauty when we sat at her bedside.)
|A village scene, avec velo, wisteria, and wine barrel|
When my family left New Hampshire to return to California, I lost touch with Jachi, who continued her Waldorf education before heading off to Sarah Lawrence, then Yale, while I graduated from high school then became a vagabond in Hawaii and Los Angeles before finally settling down for the long haul in San Francisco. Our trajectories were similar, yet different; she attended good schools, studying literature, creative writing, and finally music (the violin, still), while I went to a public schools and studied writing (journalism) and finally entered a graduate program in English literature.
|On the road in the Dordogne Valley|
|My temporary home in Plazac sat at the end of this slender footpath|
Luba dazzled us with Beethoven, Franck, and Kreisler, each sonata more beautiful than the next. In between and afterward, we drank Champagne and socialized, and I thanked my lucky stars for the chance to experience something so special in a fairytale setting, surrounded by interesting people. Later, we met at a restaurant where 15 of us dined at a big table on the terrace, eating pizza and sipping Italian wines. It was magic.
|The Chateau du Peuch looks much the same today as it does in this vintage photograph.|
|From the chateau's front steps looking out over the valley and nearby hills.|
|Is there any more perfect place for a reunion than an ancient stone house in the South of France?|