as i watched team u.s.a. hold their ground tonight against portugal
it reminded me of where i was 20 years ago.
it was 1994
i talked my boss where i was an advertising intern during the day,
and my boss at the hotel where i worked as a cocktail waitress at night,
and my professors where i was taking classes at all hours,
and my ex-husband who i shared my daughter-time with,
into agreeing to work around my special schedule for a few weeks.
i applied to work at the 1994 fifa world cup here in detroit.
4 matches would be played on my turf.
and i told fifa i would love to do it
before i had negotiated any time off
i knew it would be a once in a lifetime extraordinary experience
and that i would find a way to do it.
my job was to work in press operations in the media center.
helping the press with credentials, schedules, seats. access and information.
it became a reality.
we were taught about the nuances of soccer
the role of the press
how to deal with the passionate fans
and the customs and languages of the countries participating
learning helpful things like,
‘if a russian offers you a shot of vodka, it’s an insult to say no, so you’ll have to find a diplomatic way to do so.’
this was our transportation around the pontiac silverdome lot
where we met many enthusiastic fans along the way
interesting press from all around the world.
on my first day,
based in hong kong
working for the french press
of dutch and italian descent
he was smiling
as i gave him his credentials,
answered his questions
and told him to enjoy the games.
later that night
i left the media center
and turned back into
a cocktail waitress.
as i approached a table
and a man at the table turned around
i saw that it was the journalist i had met earlier in the day.
we were surprised to see each other again
and he told me some of the press corps were staying at my hotel.
and i told him that i worked there on some nights.
very, very small world.
and we parted ways when his group left for the night.
each day at the world cup was a new adventure
i was able to see the matches
and enjoy the frenzied air of competition and excitement.
and many times
out of 78,000 people
the journo and i kept crossing paths.
between his schedule and mine
and ever changing locations
and job commitments
and no cell phones
and no computer
we kept trying to set up a time and place
to meet away from the stadium
when neither of us was working
to have a real conversation.
it was his last night here
and the final match in detroit was being played.
i was finished in the media tent for the day
and we planned to meet at a local bar
after he filed his report.
i went to the bar
and found the brazilian fans there celebrating
it was total madness and fun and frolic
the police came
and shut down the bar
for the first time
the brazilians’ exuberant enthusiasm
had somehow overflowed
to the outside
and they were dancing
a samba line
down woodward avenue
a major thoroughfare in the detroit area.
the bar was done for the night
and the crowd dispersed
and we never were able to find each other that night
we had no backup plan
for a place to meet
and we went our separate ways
armed with addresses
and the beginning of a friendship.
and i went back to my jobs/school/life
and he continued on with his assignments
and flew back to hong kong.
mp on assignment in new guinea
and we began to write letters
and we have been pen pals for 20 years now
and we send hand-written letters
back and forth from all over the world
and we’ve gone through life together on paper
and stayed friends
who never dated
and maybe one day
we’ll find ourselves in the same country once more
at the same time.
and we can continue our conversation.
There is no distance too far between friends, for friendship gives wings to the heart.
– author unknown
What a great story! You could have it in the antho if you want to write it in prose form. email me!
LikeLiked by 1 person
thanks cg, sounds like a good option )
Reblogged this on I didn't have my glasses on…. and commented:
having a bit of trouble posting this one, and i apologize in advance if you get this 3 times )
Outstanding story:) I love that you have been pen pals, for 20 years.
yes, it’s kind of unusual. but pretty cool )
Great story and great memories of World Cup 1994…and the Silverdome.
thanks and I’m happy you remember the dome back in its heyday )
What a great story. I feel like there’s going to be a sequel that ends in a “happily ever after.” I don’t have your e mail address so I’ll let you know here that I listed your blog as one of my favorite blogs on my website lesliejochase.com. I’ve also started Pinterest-ing and your blog is there, as well. Just wanted you to know. And, again, this story was really touching and sweet, and I hope you see him again soon.
thanks so much leslie and i’ll send my email your way )
That’s an awesome story Beth. It was fascinating and so real from the first snetence to the last. And so personal and touching that the relationship has lasted 20 years. Thank you for sharing, Beth.
thanks, paul. we sometimes are both surprised that it’s been 20 years too )
Such a great story beth, it could be the basis of a love story. I guess you were meant to be friends.
yes, definitely a friendship. we’ve each gone on to live our lives, separately but still connected through friendship.
It’s a wonderful thing.
I love this story. That you connected so well and so completely after not even being able to connect.
i know, it’s kind of ironic. we tried so hard and couldn’t work it out, and then when we let it go, we easily became lifetime friends.
So many right things about this. I’m glad you guys didn’t let go of “it” just because “it” didn’t turn in to something else.
yes, cm, me too )
Great story Beth!
thanks, dk )
This is a story of a life lived in full, Beth. I love the way you grasped the opportunity then and made the most of the world coming to your table.
I love the way you made friends with the smiling journo at both places of business, and plans to have that off-duty conversation.
And I really love the way you’ve sent letters and cards to and from all parts of the world since. I hope someday you get that next face-to-face. Oh, how you deserve it, Beth.
This is so wonderfully written, I feel like I read it in one second.
The golf cart parking lot Silver Dome photos are precious.
Thank you for brightening my Monday morning.
P.S. Go U.S.A. 2014.
thanks for saying so mark, i worried it was a bit too long and rambling, but all part of the story. and who knows where the story will go from here? i think we’re destined to be long distance friends and i’m okay with that. we’ve swapped stories of families, and relationships, and job changes, and life’s adventures over the years, and it still brings a smile to my face when i pull a letter out of my mailbox. )
Someday, maybe, an unexpected knock on the door …
It happens, Beth, sometimes, wonderfully, to deserving people.
thanks mark, the world is filled with possibilities, that is for sure )
During the ’94 World Cup the Russian team stayed in my hometown during the first round and the Brazilian team stayed about 25 miles away. I don;t recall seeing a single Russian fan, but the Brazilians were everywhere, and they were a very happy group. Many spoke very good English and all seemed to really enjoy being in the US. Of course, their team won that year, which didn’t hurt their mood, either. I’m glad you got to experience that event in a unique way.
yes, cbc, the russians were much more restrained and the brazilians lived every moment to the hilt and then some. yes, it was an amazing adventure to say the least )
You, my dear friend, continue to astound me.
and you, my dear friend, debbie, are ever kind )
There is something magical when pen meets paper. Loved the story. Thanks for sharing it.
you are very welcome, and i love handwritten letters too )
Those rowdy Brazilians…
yes, they have a lot of energy )
I don’t like football, but I love the great story.
thanks, michael )
That’s a phenomenal story… Your life is amazing, Beth! I hope to accumulate this many stories in my whole lifetime!
thanks, and i don’t know if it’s phenomenal, but it’s never dull )
I have always enjoyed writing letters. Just a tad less time for them these days. I hope you and you Pen Pal finally met.
me too, jules, nothing like them. and thanks )
A wonderful real life story Beth! Thanks for sharing.
and thank you for reading and commenting, tiny )
This is fabulous! Wonderful story and what a great friendship 😀
thank you, melanie )
Loved this post!
thanks, jim. somehow i just found you in spam jail.
This is like a movie 🙂 Love it…
thanks, ivy )
hi Beth, I missed this back in June and now I don’t seem to able to look at the photos – but the words tell a really wonderful story and in a way they don’t need pictures. Friendship is a wonderful thing.
thank you so much, and i recently realized that every picture i deleted from my wp media library was being deleted from my past posts. who knew? i’m going to work on filling them back in one day when i have 8 extra hours or so –
i had no idea that deleting from media library had that effect. WordPress need to warn us about such things!
absolutely, lundy. and it’s the perfect storm because i am the worst tech person ever. i thought once pics were posted they were glued to them forever )
Pingback: shared humanity. | I didn't have my glasses on....
Pingback: shared humanity. – Interests Weekly