Sometimes two is not better than none. This week marked the passing of two dear friends. It’s funny that we call people who we have not seen on a regular basis for many years, dear friends. But they were always dear to me and it didn’t matter how often we talked or saw one another. They were in my thoughts on many occasions and I remember them beyond fondly.
Nikki MacNamee was in a women’s group we started when, as newly arrived young women – some married with children, some married, some single and one, single and pregnant, which was most unusual in the 70’s. We had moved to or lived in DC, a place where you found an understanding with one another that was comfortable and fun. It was not like a book club, although reading was something often discussed in a casual way. It wasn’t a therapy session, although sometimes that happened by accident – like when our unmarried friend told us she was pregnant and intended to keep the baby. The only question was whether or not she told the father. It was just a group of women who liked one another’s company having a bite, maybe a few drinks, and feeling good about being together. The meeting moved from one house to another, whosever was available—and unencumbered by men and children.
Nikki was a star. She was married to a photojournalist friend. Politics and photographers were mostly what brought us together. And that gave us opportunity to see one another outside the group –- which was also nice. Usually we had a bite at whoever’s house and often go someplace for a drink. (those were not days we worried about drinking and driving because we never drank very much and we all lived within a few miles of one another. There was one night when Nikki made a request of a biker bartender that we all laughed so hard we almost fell off our bar stools. She wanted a Courvoisier and ice. It was hard to imagine that she actually expected them to have it, but it was what she wanted and expected. The bartender looked at her as if she was speaking some foreign language and said, “we don’t have none of that”, and Nikki persevered. “Well you must, it’s cognac and you must have cognac”. It went on for quite sometime, until in frustration she said, “OK we are outta here, and we are not coming back.” We were still laughing when we left. Of course we are not coming back, we didn’t know why we were there.
Nikki was simply a loving, gracious, independent friend, and always up for some kind of adventure. When you are married to a photojournalist, you have to be pretty flexible. The best part for all of us was that she and her husband adored one another. It was wonderful to watch and of which to be a part.
The last time I spoke to Nikki was after I learned that she was sick and wasn’t going to get better. She said she knew I was calling because her illness was fatal, but she was doing ok. Taking pictures, reading and writing some poetry and having great insightful thoughts. Regardless of the reason, she was glad to hear from me, thought about us and the good times we had, and she was comfortable about her impending end—although she wasn’t going without a fight. She didn’t, but this lovely lady lost her fight a few days ago and we are sad, and grateful for having been in her life.
The other loss was Jack Germond, premiere political reporter and food maven. It’s a little to painful to write both of these at one time so there will be a part 2, tomorrow we’re just sayin…Iris
Your comments resonated with me. I was Nikki's roommate and friend in the late 60s. Although I hadn't seen her in years, her death has haunted me ever since I read the notice in The Post. Nikki was smart, funny, and beautiful.
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