02/27/12 3:02pm

From the Aug. 1, 2002 Reporter: Dr. Alex Garcia and Barbara Wright at the Mashomack Dinner-Dance.

The friendship began in early 1980, in a snowstorm. I’d recently bought a house on Shelter Island and friends wanted to introduce me to the other islanders they knew — Alex and Helen-Ann Garcia.

We met at the friends’ apartment high above Central Park. A convivial evening and several Negronis later, Alex, Helen-Ann and I waved a cheery goodbye to our hosts and ventured out into what seemed to be a white-out. The streets were still, the snow a foot deep. Not a cab in sight. Even the subway had shut down. Eventually, a crosstown bus hove into view and the three of us boarded. By the time we’d skidded our way to the far side of Central Park, we’d bonded as refugees from the blizzard and vowed to meet again on Shelter Island in the spring.

My future husband, Gordon Potts (DGP), had met Alex years earlier — in 1960, the year he arrived in the U.S. DGP had been recruited to the Neurological Institute at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital. Alex was a top orthopedist at the hospital; the two of them collaborated over difficult spinal injury cases that required both specialties.

Both ultimately bought houses on Shelter Island. Alex and Helen-Ann — also a physician — bought their house on Big Ram in 1958 without ever going inside.

For the full Prose & Comment essay by Islander Janet Roach, see the March 1 edition of the Reporter.