Friday, October 11, 2013

Mark Time Mark ~My Night with an Old Friend


Mark Time Mark
My Night with an Old Friend

Now that time has passed, I think it’s ok to tell a story about an amazing time I had this summer with a cherished childhood friend.


While paroozing my Facebook newsfeed one day this summer a photo of my friend Mark came up. His wife Inga had tagged him in the photo. But the amazing thing was he was standing along one of the canals in Amsterdam. I quickly clicked the like button and asked if he was in Amsterdam.

Mark and I were introduced to each other at the early age of birth. Our parents were best and dear friends. They had all gone to high school together and along with their friends, were raising their children together in the beautiful little town of Plymouth, Michigan.


As our beloved parents would have dinners together or get together to play Bridge, Mark and I would play. I fondly remember having to play some sort of “boy” game… legos, blocks or building or some sort of chase game. My dollies and tea parties were not invited. But as we grew up we both became interested in music. Being the gifted musician I am (hahha this is totally a joke!), I faked my way through middle school and high school band. Practicing only when forced because of some sort of try out or challenge for a 1st chair spot that always scared me to death. I was plenty happy hiding in the third row but for some reason had enough God given talent that sent me to the 1st chair more than I care to remember.

I played Clarinet and Mark played Saxophone. By high school I had my hiding technique pretty well mastered and had discovered, I was there for the love of the friends. Mark was there for the love of his music and his friends. My favorite time was in marching band hearing the sounds of our drum major yelling “Mark Time Mark” that would send us into a magical few minutes of music, precision and designs that told a story of the music.  Mark was in many different bands…. Symphony band, Jazz Band, Marching Band… the list goes on. We were surrounded by wonderful musicians and it was an incredible experience to be a part of. But it became quite apparent that Mark was a truly gifted musician.


My parents have both passed, so as the years went on I had lost connection with Mark. There was no way I was going to let an opportunity like him being in Amsterdam pass without making sure we got to see each other. I had heard that he had headed to New York and was enjoying life as a musician in New York City. As Facebook came along I saw that he was playing in the pit in many Broadway shows. Looked like he was having a fabulous time doing something he not only loved but had such a talent for. As we made plans to meet for lunch I had no idea what he was doing in Amsterdam… just figured he was touring with a show.


My husband and I met Mark and his wife Inga at Hard Rock in Amsterdam. Embracing, catching up on life and chatting the afternoon away … we all were having so much fun that my husband and I invited them back to our home for the night.



 Overnight bags packed quickly we decided we would take the short drive to Belgium for dinner at my favorite abbey in Postel.


Even Amy got in on the fun. Inga is the essence of cool! She works for Saturday Night Live as a hair and wig designer and stylist for cast members and also guests. Inga offered to cut her hair after she heard Amy asking if I would take her to get her hair cut. Haircut by a SNL pro… you bet!

Sometime during the day Mark asked me…. “Is there a chance that you would have time to come back to Amsterdam tomorrow for the concert?” Knowing now why he was there.. I tried to contain my excitement by not jumping up and down but beamed out an elated YES!!! Quickly I cleared anything that would possibly be on my calendar and made a reservation at the hotel they were staying at. Ready to see the concert of all concerts!

Mark and Inga left early in the morning from our house so that he could get back to work. I took the train in to Amsterdam later that afternoon, only getting lost once on the tram. But I was so giddy I didn’t even care!! Inga and I met up and taxied our way to the Ziggo Dome.


Tickets in hand ready to see
Barbra Streisand!


Yes, Mark was one of a handful of lucky people asked to travel and tour with Barbra Streisand around Europe.





I have loved Barbra since I was about 6 years old and saw Funny Girl for the first time.  I couldn’t even tell you my favorite Barbra song… People, My Man, Yentl, The Way We Were, Gypsy, Don’t Rain on My Parade… the list goes on and on. My admiration for this woman with the voice has lasted for years. To see and hear her in person was beyond a dream come true. She was beautiful, classy, humble and beyond pitch perfect! As described before about Ms. Streisand… her voice is smooth as budder and crystal clear.
But I do have to admit the highlight of my night was getting to see Mark perform with her. As intermission came I saw him standing looking into the audience. I stood and waved wildly at him. 



We both beamed with excitement knowing what a special time it was for us. Mark played 6 different instruments that night! I am so ever proud of my friend Mark and thank him and his beautiful wife Inga for a weekend I’ll never forget. A big hug to your parents Marge and Ted, I know mine… Dick and Nadine, are smiling knowing we got to see each other.

Getting to see Barbra Streisand in concert… perfection!

Getting to see my childhood friend Mark perform with her… priceless!!



3 comments:

  1. Love your stories Lisa and this is a very touching one! And beside: Barbara Streisand is one of my favourites, too...I´m a little jeaulous ;)!
    Berit

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  2. Thank you so much Berit!! Trust me there were a bunch of people jealous I got to see Barbara but more that I got to see my friend Mark. :)

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  3. Thanks for the memory Lisa! That trip was awesome! I loved Amsterdam and I especially loved meeting you and your family! The beer in Belgium was fantastic and being welcomed into your home was truly special.
    Inga xo

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