Sugarmaples members, and brand new friends, Susan and Suzanne, enjoying a spontaneous gallery hop in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood.
Get Together With Old & New Friends. At The Drop Of A Hat. In Denver & Online.
Whenever you find yourself with some free time — 20 minutes, two hours, an entire afternoon — let me know.
I’ll fill it, by hand, with a member you’ve met before and enjoyed hanging out with, or one I’m confident you’ll like. In Denver or online.
The activity — a hike, food truck run, video chat, gallery hop — is entirely up to the two of you.
“Exactly what I was looking for.”
Retired Mom of Four Grown Daughters
It’s been my favorite hobby for nearly 35 years.
Before I started Sugarmaples this winter, I used to introduce folks strictly by sending them out to lunch together.
All of this comes from my dad.
He ran 4 little lunch conversation clubs that met at New York City Chinese restaurants, every week, like clockwork, from 1973 until 2015.
Starting in 1980, when I was 11 years old, if a day off from school coincided with one of the lunches, dad would bring me along.
It had an indelible effect on me.
If I invite a bunch of old friends to join with me, can you help us get together more often?
Absolutely. This is one of my favorite things about the project. I love helping old friends get together.
How is this free? Why are you really doing this? What are you trying to pull? Are you a serial killer?
Eventually, there will be a membership fee for folks who participate often. I’d love this to be the way that I make my living (this is how I make my living now).
But it’s still early days, with lots of kinks to work out. At this stage, I’m more than delighted if happy participants simply send new ones my way.
Why do you call this ‘sugarmaples’?
My quasi-secret goal, before I kick the bucket, is to seed and nurture 1,000,000 friendships.
The name is an allusion to my favorite film, The Man Who Planted Trees, watchable below on Youtube.
It’s narrated by Christopher Plummer and won the 1988 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
Do I need to live in Denver?
Is your dad still alive?
No. He died in 2015. Pancreatic cancer.
Is there a sugarmaples podcast?
No. But I think one is probably on the way.
This project is dedicated to my adopted aunt, Deena Stutman, or — as my sister and I knew her when we were growing up — ‘Aunt Silly Billy’.
She was the kind of person everybody enjoyed talking to. Over the years, she taught me a lot about the meaning of friendship.
My mom met Deena for the first time, in coach, on a transatlantic flight between New York and Berlin, in 1969.
Mom was returning home to Berlin, solo, with me in tow, after a trip to introduce me to family back in the States. Deena was starting a solo European vacation.
I was only a few months old and apparently crying my head off. Deena, in the row behind us, peeped over the seat, introduced herself, and offered to rock me to sleep. My mom took her up on the offer and, as legend has it, I slept.