Birth, Death & Friendship

Tara, Augie, me and Scout

When my daughter Augie and I left St. Johns to visit the first of her friends from the Palisades to have a baby she said to me, “ You and your friends are like the mafia, mom.  You’re such a close group and you always have each other’s back and the backs of each other’s kids.  It’s amazing.  I like it.”

The remark stunned me.  She’s right.  We are a tight group.   This is not something that was role-modeled, as my own mother had very few friends.  On the other hand, my father had more associates than Don Corleone.

Kimme and David

Kimme and David

On this day, it was Matthew, my friend Kimme’s son, having his first child.   Matt is married to a close, childhood friend of Augie’s, Tara.  Matt and Tara were high school sweethearts.    And, incidentally, Kimme was the first in our group to give birth over 30 years ago.

But it was a death in Kimme’s family that I’m flashing on right now.   Kimme’s husband of over thirty years was at Cedars having  surgery to remove a tumor.   We all converged and waited with Kimme.  A whole group of us.  Her support team.  Her actual family, sons Daniel and Matthew, and daughter Micah, and the close friends that are now just like family.  At least thirty of us were in the waiting room that day.   The mafia.  And after that, when the diagnosis was grim, stage 4 stomach cancer — we rode it out with her.  One day I picked up David, Kimme’s husband to take him to his radiation appointment.  We rode so quietly in the car.  I just wanted to help.  Kimberly, another member of the “family,” did plenty to help out.  Sometimes, David would be in St. Johns, the hospital where his future granddaughter would be born, the one he would not live to see.  There would be critical and terrifying medical experiences one goes through in the fight to survive.   One day, Kimberly, Kimme’s best friend, was visiting David at the hospital.   They were decorating rocks.  This is a very creative family.   Artistic talent runs in their blood.    Kimberly urged David to write words on one to Kimme.  On it, he wrote the words he wasn’t always forthcoming with,  “You are my rock.”  Kimme is a rock.

In the years following David’s death, Kimme would see symbolism in everything including an elderly man who had fallen in a park that Kimme was running in.  She stopped to save him, and they spent the rest of the day together.  Kimme got him back to his apartment, making future plans with him, so she could be sure he was all right.  Turns out, his name was David.

One day, as Kimme’s husband David was in his final weeks, Augie and I went to visit him.  We walked into their bedroom where he was resting.   He had complained of having very cold feet, so Kimberly had brought him cozy socks.  He was wearing them along with his trademark 501 jeans and a fitted white T-shirt.  Augie and I stood at the foot of the bed and offered a foot massage.  He accepted.  The room was dark, even though it was bright and sunny outside.  Just as it was getting too quiet and awkward Augie broke the Grim Reaper’s silence by saying in her best Thai masseuse impression, “You want happy ending?”  To which all of us ended up laughing until we were in tears.

When David died, his son Matthew purchased the wood and wrought iron hardware and spent two long days with his brother Daniel in the garage building a coffin for their father.  He had learned the skill of craftsmanship from both his mother and father.  David Winter was cremated in the tricked out coffin his sons had lovingly built.

Coffin the Winter kids made for their dad

Coffin the Winter kids made for their dad

Oh, there is a happy ending.

A year ago, Kimme got remarried to my childhood friend Michael.  They met at a party or I should say remet in my home a few years ago.

Daniel married his longtime girlfriend Kelsey.  He is a very talented artist who has his own tattoo studio in Venice.

Matt Winter has turned his sense of style into a hugely successful design business.  He has created the interiors of bars, clubs and businesses all over the world.  He and his wife Tara named their new baby daughter Scout.

Micah is a brilliant hair stylist at the Joseph Martin salon in Beverly Hills.

Kimme on left, me in center and Kimberly

Kimme on left, me in center and Kimberly

Food:  When the Winter house was filled with people in the days following David’s funeral I ordered a huge platter of Chinese Chicken Salad and dumplings from Feast from the East on Westwood Blvd. to be delivered.

Kimberly on left, Kimme and me at Kimme's recent wedding

Kimberly on left, Kimme and me at Kimme’s recent wedding



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5 Responses to “Birth, Death & Friendship”

  1. Pauli says:

    Wow. Like a knife cutting away everything unnecessary. You are so fortunate to have such a tight posse. So happy that Kim found another chance at love.

  2. Libbie lane says:

    An incredibly moving tribute to a beautiful women and her family that I love so much.

  3. Laura Plotkin says:

    Another lovely piece, Fredde! Ain’t nothin’ like great girlfriends–a family of choice!

  4. Hoov says:

    Your timing is ucanning wakko !! 9 years ago today 3/28/2005 Sheila was murder but her heart did not know to stop. 4/19/2005 at 1200 hour mom my wife of 25 check out while I watch her take her last breath. Odd about this story timing .. Aloha wakko and stay casual hoov

  5. Bonnie Raphael says:

    Dear Feddie How are you feeling? PS I want to go to your show 2/7/15 please send me the name of the theatre or the link menotechno lost it (I’m so f…ING predictable) you are a terrific writer!

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