So I ask you, “ How do an ordinary LA couple like Susan and Martin Kaplan end up at a “Cata de chocolate” at La Cuchara Mágica in Valencia, Spain?” I guess that’s a long story that shows you never know just what will happen next. In 1965, Marty and I got married in Salem, Massachusetts. He was a graduate student at the University of Maryland and I took a job teaching Spanish at Hine Junior High School in Washington, DC. As the completion of his studies neared, Marty received 2 job offers, one from Mount Holyoke College and one from Boston University. While Mount Holyoke was the more prestigious school, we had both graduated from Boston University and both our families lived nearby. Marty accepted the offer from Boston University. To our dismay several weeks later the offer was withdrawn and the job search began anew. We ended up in what I can only call “the armpit of the universe”, Buffalo, New York.
Marty accepted a position at the State College of New York at Buffalo and I began my graduate studies at the University of Buffalo. After the birth of our daughter, Rachel, and a stay-at-home year, I was itching to get back to work, if only part time. I accepted a job at Buffalo Seminary for girls. (Yes, this all really does lead us to where we are today.) At the end of 6 years with far too much snow and no tenure at the State College in sight, Marty was again looking for a position. On the bulletin board at the Buffalo Seminary there was a listing of openings at private school. We saw an opening at Foxcroft School for Girls in Virginia and Marty applied. To our delight, 2 months later, we packed our bags and moved to 800 acres of Virginia heaven.
To be honest, almost anywhere would have been heaven after Buffalo. However, Foxcroft in Middleburg, Virginia is really quite wonderful. http://www.foxcroft.org/ Several years later Biff Smith, the new head of the English department arrived. As it turned out Biff is an amazing pianist and magician. Biff invited Marty to learn some magic. Marty, of course, was interested. I suspect you can see where this is going.
Ten years after our arrival at Foxcroft, we decided to move to California. I came out first to do some job interviewing and look for a place to live. One requirement, suggested in humor, was that we needed to live near a magic shop. Well, “Would You Believe” a costume and magic shop turned out to be a 10-minute walk from our South Pasadena apartment. Marty soon became a regular and met the local magicians. Through them he was scheduled to audition for The Magic Castle membership. magiccastle.com Needless to say, the audition went well. There he met a magician, Neil Lester, who produced magic cards. Neil received an order from none other than our friend Pepe Monfort of Valencia. Neil put Pepe in touch with Marty. Thus a long friendship began. Trips to Valencia became frequent and more extended. We eventually decided to apply for residency. Marty is now an active participant in the magic scene of Valencia. This has given us the opportunity to enjoy several of the wonderful events at La Cuchara Mágica such as the Cata de Chocolate.
So I have two messages. Thank you, Boston University for setting us on a different path. And, enjoy each new event in your life. You have no idea what unexpected experiences they may lead you to.