Recently, I was having a lovely lunch with three close friends, outdoors at The New Leaf Café, in Fort Tryon Park, when one of the women announced that she and her husband were planning to sell their place near us and move into a retirement community down south. We all paused in our eating. There was a moment of silence before we congratulated her and began asking questions. We have been together, the four of us, for almost 15 years, meeting at least monthly to discuss a memoir we had read and to share the intimacies of our lives through writing. We are all headed toward 80 and the topic of retirement communities was not a new one. Still, as I looked across the table at my dear friend, I felt tears welling.
Of Race, Culture, and Age
They were all young, beautiful, vibrant, and clearly multiracial and multicultural. As I walked into the registration lobby of the writing conference, I couldn't help but pick up on their energy. I live in New York City, a place where it is difficult, if not impossible, to miss the changing demographics of the world, but,... Continue Reading →
A Caring Society?
He was probably in his twenties, this young man who was sticking the needle into my arm to draw blood. I was still upset from my earlier visit to my RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) doctor, on the eighth floor. I had seen my doctor (Dr. S), who had said my RA was under control, kept my medications at the same level, sent me for blood tests, and told me to return in three months.
A Caretaker’s Tale: Inequitable Health Care
The first day in the ER was unpleasant, but not horrible. It was Sunday. There were waits, but when we finally were called in, Rosemary was assigned a stretcher and there was a chair where I could sit. We had hoped to avoid the visit, but, after a four-hour stint while the on-call doctor opened his office and confirmed a re-occurrence of her optic neuritis, Rosemary had been sent to the ER for the first of a series of steroid infusions. [To read the rest of the post,click on the title.]
To Virtual Friendship
For several years now, I have started most days with a glance at my friend Scott’s puns of the day: “Pigs are stymied,” or “Beginning campers do it intentionally.” Sometimes, our mutual friend Rick posted a pun in reply and it seemed just like when we used to be in English class together. When Scott wasn’t well enough to post, I missed him, and I guess others did too, because when he showed up on Facebook after an absence, there would be comments, “Glad you’re back!” “Missed you!” “Welcome back!’ I didn’t know, until I read his obituary, that he had published several books of puns. [To read the whole piece, click on the title.]
So Little Time
“How did I ever find time to work?” I often hear friends who no longer spend their hours at a regular job lament. “What did I do when I had to do all this – and work too?” My calendar is filled with regular tasks and events – haircuts, dental cleanings, yoga classes, book group, writing group, errands, social engagements. But I did these when I was working. I thought it would be different without a full-time work assignment. For one thing, I thought I would have more time to write! [Click on Title to Read Full Post]
A Christmas Story
It was Christmas morning, early, and I sat in the sunroom, hoping to watch the sun come up over the marshes, behind the North Cove, out beyond the distant river. The marsh grasses were brownish red and lifeless; in the distance, the leafless trees looked cold and friendless. The sailboats in the cove were all put away for the winter; a single barge stood at the mouth of the cove, its crane extended over the tree line, raised not in defiance, but in supplication. [Click on Title to Read the Whole Post.]
Some Days the Dragon Wins
It’s not easy to be positive. Some days I just want to curl up on the couch and Netflix binge on Gray’s Anatomy and play solitaire on my iPhone. Occasionally, I do just that. On those days, my only other alternative seems to be to sit in front of a blank screen, wishing I could think of something to write about. Since August, when Rosemary’s breast cancer recurred, it has been even more difficult to fight the dragons that life presents. I read blog posts from the past and wonder, “Who was that person who took over my body and wrote all those upbeat things?” It’s not that the person who wrote them isn’t me. It’s just not me on my bleak days. [Click on the title to read the whole post.]
The Things I Didn’t Do
When Shannon was little and I was a single parent, I often wished that I had more time to cuddle and coddle her. She was an adorable and agreeable little girl and eager to please; she often took on adult tasks at an early age. She could read maps and acted as my navigator in the car almost as soon as she could read. She bought her own clothes within a very limited budget by the time she was in middle school. When Rosemary and I started living together and I wanted her daughter, Talmadge, to take on more household tasks, I would tell them how Shannon had assumed those responsibilities at a much earlier age. Rosemary and her daughter still tease me, "We know, we know, Shannon did her laundry when she was in the womb." [To read the whole post, click on the title]