1+1=3: The Magic of Cobblestone Streets, Real Life Candy Lands & the Ties that Bind

As Springsteen philosophizes, real magic occurs when 1+1=3. “The primary math of the real world is one plus one equals two. The layman/woman swings that every day, going to the job, doing their work, paying the bills and coming home. One plus one equals two. It keeps the world spinning. But artists, musicians, poets, mystics and such are paid to turn that math on its head, to rub two sticks together and bring forth fire. Everybody performs this alchemy somewhere in their life, but it’s hard to hold onto and easy to forget. People don’t come to rock shows to learn something. They come to be reminded of something they already know and feel deep down in their gut. That when the world is at its best, when we are at our best, when life feels fullest, one and one equals three. It’s the essential equation of love, art, rock ‘n roll, and rock ‘n’ roll bands.  It’s the reason the universe will never be fully comprehensible, love will continue to be ecstatic, confounding, and true rock ‘n’ roll will never die.”

That special brand of alchemy was all happening during my college years on the cobblestone streets of Georgetown. The friends I made there became my family, and though time seemingly stood still for those four years, those friendships have withstood the test of time. No matter how long a stretch may pass, we always return right back to where we back then.

I am lucky enough to say that these magical gatherings with my dear friends happened twice this summer – yet again on cobblestone streets in the seaside town of Cape May, NJ and on the island of Nantucket in Massachusetts. Both Cape May (the oldest seaside resort in the country) and Nantucket (an old whaling village) are both characterized by their commitment to the preservation of history and to the natural beauty of the seaside landscape.  Though each place is different in its own way, each share many other common traits that make them magical candy lands out of a fairy tale.  Both are colored by endless charm, childlike pastimes, old-fashioned traditions, colorful villages, and distinctive, whimsical design and design motifs.  Most relevantly, they are also both places where time seemingly stands still.

Congress Hall, Cape May, NJ

How lucky am I to have gathered with my lifelong chums in these extraordinary places to recapture our time together as girls – now finding ourselves as grown women – yet with that same abundant, youthful spirit. Ladies from near and far explored these places together, taking adventures into the unknown as they found themselves in very familiar territory, uncovering the bonds born on the cobblestone streets of the majestic city known as our nation’s capital.  What was born back then was uncovered yet again – the buried treasure that is – as Springsteen says – the tie that binds.

Here’s to my band of sisters (albeit still missing a few who are not pictured here), because whenever I am with you, time stands still, 1+1=3, and the magic always happens.  As it was in the movie St. Elmo’s Fire, we had it all just for a moment, but that moment is now a lifetime of a binding tie that will never die because with you, “I can climb the highest mountain, cross the wildest sea, and feel St. Elmo’s Fire burning in me” – always. 

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