Compiled and photographed by Kate Albright
for Montclair Local
Photographer Kate Albright met with and photographed locals to get their sweet stories on their “true loves.” The following stories celebrate the special bonds between these friendships.
Elodie Morss and Cadence Rotarius
Elodie Morss and Cadence Rotarius met three years ago in the fourth grade when they were seated together for choir. Because they talked too much, they weren’t seated together for long but became fast friends. Despite Rotarius moving away after a year, they’ve remained close with Morss visiting Seattle and flying back to New Jersey for a couple of visits. They text daily and play Game Pigeon (a texting game) together.
What Rotarius loves about Morss: “She’s really sweet. She’s smart and very funny and always knows how to tell good jokes.”
What Morss loves about Rotarius: “I love everything about her. She’s really kind. She makes me feel safe. She’s funny. She makes me laugh. She’s weird with me. She’s fun and silly and smart and all good things.”
Rosemarie Peters and Johanna Warde
Rosemarie Peters and Johanna Warde met through Christ Church Montclair five years ago. They attend the church’s women’s group, Bloom, which meets monthly. One-on-one meetings are encouraged by Bloom to help develop closer friendships. They met one-on-one this past Sunday at Smallcakes in Montclair.
“Her exuberance. She’s always delightful and always helpful,” Warde said.
“I love her calmness, in everything she does,” Peters said.
Georgette Gilmore and Carrie Ingraham
Fourteen years ago, Georgette Gilmore moved upstairs from Carrie Ingraham Being art teachers they bonded instantly over art as well as politics, their love of good food and coffee.
“For me it was so nice to meet a woman friend that wasn’t a mommy friend that I met in a mommy group. We were friends because we actually liked each other,” Gilmore said.
They’ve been walking weekly together for two years, and feel they could solve the world’s problems on their walks. Ingraham appreciates having a friend to motivate her in the summer to get up at 6 a.m. to exercise. “It’s such a great way to start the day.”
Gilmore said, “She’s just a good egg and she’s real.” And she also loves Ingraham’s use of the phrase, “cool beans.”
“You have special friends that just get you and Georgette is that for me. I’m lucky. We’re both lucky,” Ingraham said.
Feline friends Fawnie and Alphie
Brothers Fawnie and Alphie, residents of Montclair Animal Shelter since October, met at birth 10 months ago and have been together ever since. They love having each other to cuddle and to be friends with.
Tess Berland, Owen Berland, and Judy Bereczki
“My grandkids are the love of my life!” Known as Gra to her grandkids and to many of their classmates at the Montclair Cooperative School where they attend and she teaches, Judy Bereczki enjoys caring for Owen and Tess Berland a few days a week after school.
What Tess likes about her Gra: “Everything!”
What Owen likes about his Gra: “That she’s my Grandma.”
What Bereczki loves about her grandkids: “Owen’s unique approach to life and Tess’s fearlessness.”
Ben Colwell and Boomer the dog
Ben Colwell and Boomer met just over a year ago when Boomer the dog was in need of a new home (his caregiver had developed dementia). A mutual love formed at first meeting and Boomer found his new home with Ben.
One thing Boomer loves about Ben is how calm he is.
One thing Ben loves about Boomer is how he sleeps under the blankets and sticks his tongue out when he sleeps.
Patience Ndidi Okewegbe and SheaShea
In April of 2016, Patience Ndidi Okewegbe had recently lost her mother, was depressed and wouldn’t leave the house. She became attached to SheaShea when her son brought her home as a puppy. He knew having a dog would bring his mom out of the house. “It really saved the day,” said Patience.
Ndidi Okewegbe loves SheaShea because, “she loves everybody. She shows me respect, and gives me space or cuddles as needed.”
SheaShea loves Ndidi Okewegbe’s home-cooked dog food (store bought gives SheaShea stomach problems).
Brian Gonzalez and Jeff DeLuca
Brian Gonzalez likes to relax at cafes after work, where he often plays or reads about chess. It was at the Starbucks on Park Street where Jeff DeLuca first met Brian in 2016. DeLuca struck up a conversation after seeing Gonzalez pull out a small magnetic chess set. They played their first game together and have been getting together regularly ever since to play chess in cafes.
Gonzalez said he loves DeLuca’s “ passion for the game, his energy, his drive.”
DeLuca said he loves how Gonzalez applies his theories that he teaches his students to their games. Also, “We feel the same way about a lot of socio-economic issues.”
Trina Paulus and Russell Kahn
Russ Kahn met Trina Paulus eight years ago while visiting her butterfly tent during an open garden tour with his two children. He was happily surprised to find on display copies of the precious book he had carried around with him from childhood to adulthood, “Hope for the Flowers.” He was amazed to find that the woman sitting next to the books was the author herself, Trina Paulus.
“It was the only book that I carried with me from childhood to adulthood… It’s meant different things to me at different points in my life.” Kahn, in search for a place to raise his kids, felt he had found a home in Montclair when he met Paulus.
One thing he loves about Paulus is her wisdom. “Because it’s there in spades. It’s endless.”
Paulus loves Kahn’s gentlemanliness, his care and concern, how he checks in with her regularly, picks food up from the farmer’s market or shovels her walk.