If I were to outline the events of 2017 on the blog, it would be longer than anyone’s attention span. However, Marian, my friend of about 65 years, has written, “I am looking forward to a long note on your Christmas card.”
So, Marian, what do you want to hear about? Travel? Changes? Health? Family? Let’s not even think about the tragic president in DC.
For starters, let’s think about getting older, which we all are doing. About 30 years ago I told myself that when I reached 80 I’d begin to think about getting old. The 80s have come and gone and NOW I’m beginning to think about getting old. On Tuesday mornings, I am taking bridge lessons because years ago I promised, “When I get old, I’m going to learn to play bridge and take a cruise, and on the fourth day out, I’ll join a table by the window to deal the cards between the whale sightings.”
In my whole life, I’d never changed addresses in July so in July of this year, I moved. Son Sam came to Friends House to remove the high shelves he’d installed three years ago and bring them over here, still in Santa Rosa, to Spring Lake Village, a senior residence that offers what I need in this last inning. So far I enjoy independent living, a comfortable one-bedroom cottage about half the size of the Capitola Cottage, where I lived at the beach for almost 20 years. I’ve met new interesting people and some from my other lives. Sheila Einhorn, whose son Greg was in Marty Love’s 4th grade at North School; Jane Jackson, whose daughter Jenny was in John Love’s class at Crocker Middle School. Yesterday I talked with Patti Akay as she was here preparing an art exhibit of her work. Occasionally, I have lunch with Susan Chew, who lives in nearby Oakmont. Across the sidewalk lives Ginny Richardson whose husband Len was a friend of Kem Edwards when they were at Yale. Kem, husband of Phoebe, my traveling companion, and father of the four Edwards girls, who, with the four Love boys made the eight children under eight at Capitola for several summers! Long memories, deep connections!
We friends at SLV enjoy dinner together in the dining room, take walks around the 33-acre campus, sign up for one or more of the 37 exercise classes offered. I’ve joined the drumming circle, attend most of the meditation meetings, love the Wednesday evening musical events, and am responsible for sending birthday cards to those in Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing. Not much different from sending post cards to our representatives.
Before I left Friends House, I cleaned out the accumulation of post cards gathered on travels and wondered what to do with them. Too pretty to discard, too dated to use. Then I realized that maybe interns, volunteers, and paid staff of our political representatives might enjoy the pictures so I asked others to add their postcards, to bring addresses, to contribute stamps, and to meet in Commons Room B at 10 o’clock one Saturday. That day we wrote and mailed over 100 messages! And it was fun. We felt better for having done something.
Once in a while I leave Spring Lake Village for the broader world. In January, friend in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico, Joan invited me to stay with her a month. An entire month! My expat life revisited. Dry warm days in which we drank Topo Chico and played canasta in the shade.
In June son Matt and I drove up to Florence, Oregon, to attend the recognition of brother David Rankin and Dianne as the best of Oregon Small Woodlot Owners. Fifty people, most of whom are also small woodlot owners, toured Dave and Dianne’s acreage, had lunch at tables Dave and their grandson Henry made from lumber harvested and milled right there!
A couple of months later, in mid-August, Dave and Dianne drove down to the Bay Area to stay with me and attend the wedding of granddaughter Sarah and Ilya Bendich at the St Francis Yacht Club. The best news about them is that they will continue to live in San Francisco, at least until he finishes his residency at UCSF Medical Center and she remains at Salesforce. See that tallest building? There’s Sarah!
Part of becoming an Ancient is diminishing physical abilities. I still walk unaided, but not up hills and more slowly than in the 1980s peace walks. Residents who have read my book, Walking for Our Lives, grin and ask, “Want to go for a walk up in Annabel Park?” Nice thought if we can stay on flat trails.
After the left hearing aid was lost down a garbage disposal, I listened with cocked head for a while and eventually asked the audiologist for a replacement, but by that time the technology had changed and I had to buy both. I think they cost more than half of what our first house in San Mateo cost! But I hear everything now! And last week granddaughter Katie asked, “Gran, do you always wear glasses?” Well, no, but I forget to take them off. I might sign up for the Memory Enhancement class.
Marian, ask about the family.
They are fine.
On October 9, Sam and Sandra were wakened about two in the morning and told to evacuate immediately. They pulled on shoes, and not much else, and raced out to their horses. Much later, Sam told me he was thinking, “If the horses are spooked and skittish, we won’t have time to lead them to their trailer.” Fortunately, all three horses were lined up at the gate saying, “Quick! Get us outa here!” They drove down to the huge parking lot at the Fair Grounds. Our great gratitude is that the fire, within half a mile of Sam and Sandra’s home, veered away.
Meanwhile, 430 independent residents of Spring Lake Village were evacuated…… also to the Fair Grounds, where Sam and Sandra miraculously found me! SLV was spared fire damage and I, after three weeks shared with Matt & Joan in Aptos and John & Holly in Los Altos, returned to clean air, hugs, and sighs of relief.
I sit here and think about this eventful year and must include the great encouragement I feel when I read about the involvement of the citizens of the world, especially in the USA. Millions of voices clambering for justice and equality and environmental responsibility. Something to think about.
I heard on NPR: “I think, therefore I blog.”*
Happy New Year, Marian.