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30: Niki buys Redwood Business - and Plesman dies

It was a different story when a letter came from America, offering Niki the chance of buying out the Redwood family lingerie-dress business, and the prospect of making a home in the USA again became a possibility. The plan was not without attraction for Ivan, for if they went they would live at Atlanta, close to some big aircraft construction plants.

It was decided that Niki should go alone, and see whether she thought she would like the idea. Ivan escorted her to Holland and saw her off on the trans-Atlantic flight. She had gone with his blessing, but his heart was heavy as he returned alone to Cala d'Or.

But Ivan was overflowing in happiness, when his old friend Longin Lipsky decided to settle down in Palma. Longin, too, was retired, and he was "unattached", just as Ivan was a grass widover. They felt they really were bachelors again and settled down to a noisy, naughty, nonchalant renewal of their friendship, forty years on from their first meeting in Moscow.

At the Bar Formentor, the Picadilly Circus of Palma, where everybody you know passes by in time if you sit long enough drinking Pernod, Ivan and Longin held court, the centre of an hilarious circle of pals.

Albert Plesman, KLM President
On 31 December 1953 Plesman died. Ivans friend and patron for so long. He had never missed any of the gay reunion parties, had always led the cheers at Ivan's own birthday celebrations.

Birthdays! It made Ivan pause. He could not get used to the idea that "the boss" was dead. He had always regarded Plesman as a patriarch, though a fearsomely fit an vigorous one. But Plesman had not been old, only sixty-four, and here was he, Ivan, almost on the fifty-ninth birthday, almost on the threshold of his sixtieth year. "It is making me think," he told his friends, soberly.



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