Sunday, December 6, 2015

Five O Seven

The other day while driving, I looked down at my watch and it was 5:07 pm which brought back a flood of memories.

Before moving to LA, before working on Long Island, before commuting by car to work, I used to commute to and from Manhattan via the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road). I don't remember the schedule of the trains I took in the morning, but I will always remember the 5:07 from Penn Station to Hempstead. When I lived further east, I used to take a train to Northport; that ride was special but not as special as the 5:07.

I worked at 42nd and Madison and everyday without fail I would leave work at 4:45, maybe even 4:50. The subway station was in my building, so I'd take the elevator down, walk through the turnstile and make a brisk walk to the downtown platform. I would take the train one stop to Penn Station and then head for the track and board the train. It was always a madhouse, but everyone had the same objective. It was rush hour.

I don't know who would be first, but they were six or seven of us ladies who would sit in the same spot everyday. This was no mean feat during rush hour, but we were able to do it. We would commiserate about work, but more often than not, talk about our lives - relationships, children, weddings, birthdays, fun. Most times we laughed and when one of us was down we made a special effort to cheer that person up. By the time the train pulled in to Hempstead at 5:53, all was right with the world and I had 7 minutes to get to the babysitter so that I wouldn't have to pay overtime rates. Overtime kicks in at 6:00 pm for working mothers and it's usually exorbitant - $10.00 for every 10 minutes past 6.  Everyday I briskly walked to my car, got in and drove quite fast to get there by 6. Most times I made it with only a minute to spare; I was so pressed for time that I appeared rude - I picked up my children and left. When I got home I could breathe (for a second) then jump in to evening duties.

The 5:07 train ride was the highlight of my day. We were all at various stages of life - some like me young and just starting out, and some older with more life experience. Because of those ladies I got a real slice of life; my social life was enriched - I attended baby showers and other social events; we had a special bond that was cemented on that train ride. We kept in touch during that time, but as life sometimes goes, we eventually drifted apart. It was a special time and I cherish those memories.

“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” - CS Lewis

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” - CS Lewis

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20

Whenever it is 5:07, I always smile.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a beautiful post. Life and its circumstances has a way of bringing people together for a season. There was likely something you needed from that group of women or something that you needed to learn from that group of women. I love how orchestrates.

    My 'number' is 841. Whenever I see it, I can't help but smile. That was the number of my college mailbox. On the first day of school, my future husband helped me open it. Of course, I had no idea (at all) that I would one day marry the skinny, big afro'd nice guy. But more than 30 years later, we are telling that story to our kids and anyone else who asks.

    I'm loving the 5:07 story. Smile on, my friend,smile on.


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