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September 2016

August 2016

What Makes Me Cry

I seem to shed tears more often than the average person. I’ve been known to cry over TV commercials. So it was a given that, when Michelle Obama spoke at the Democratic convention about living as a black woman in a White House built by slaves, my eyes would fill up.

And our kids know that it doesn’t take a lot to make me cry, so they write things on birthday cards and mother’s day cards and notes that go into our Thanksgiving Day grateful jar that require me to have a tissue handy.

At our son Jeremy’s wedding fourteen years ago, Seth as his brother’s best man, made a wedding toast. He said his toast had three goals. I forget the first two, but the third was to make his mother cry.

Not a problem.

Eight Days in August

It started on a Friday morning when cousin Gerry and his son arrived from Connecticut for a weekend of Boston Red Sox games. Our daughter-in-law Katrina arrived from Maryland late that afternoon, having dropped her husband Jeremy and brother-in-law Seth off in Western Massachusetts for Camp Becket’s Dad’s Weekend. On Sunday, we drove a round-trip to Becket to spend an hour or so with our grandsons just as I had thirty-some years ago when Seth and Jeremy were campers there.

Jeremy, Katrina and Seth came back here for the week between Dad’s Weekend and the end of camp rather than drive back and forth to Maryland again. Gerry and son had left while we were away. (A good thing because we needed their beds!)

Tuesday, we all drove to Cape Cod for a reunion with former neighbors, Seth, Peter and me just for the day, but Jeremy and Katrina to stay on the Cape for two days. Everyone was back here for dinner on Thursday night. On Friday, the kids left—Seth to go back to New York, Jeremy and Katrina to pick up the boys at camp.

From chaos to quiet...

That is until the next day when friends from California arrived. Needless to say, we were exhausted from all this fun. So was our washing machine.

It died during the third load of sheets and towels.

Leo's Voice

When our son Seth wrote an article about kids planning their family vacations, he offered his nephew (our grandson) Leo as an example.

Leo, age twelve, had planned a school vacation trip in March for his younger brother Grady, his parents, his grandmother (yours truly) and his Aunt Nancy. He chose the destination (New Orleans), the hotel and most of the activities.

Shortly after Seth’s article appeared, National Public Radio (NPR) asked if they could interview Leo for Morning Edition. Leo, away at summer camp, agreed. The phone interview took place in the camp’s business office during “siesta”.

It aired last Saturday morning and for 3:05 minutes, we heard our twelve-year- old grandson answering questions from Scott Simon, host of Morning Edition. Leo was articulate and funny and he didn’t sound nervous (although he said he was).

His mother listened to it “live” at home, then “live” in Chicago and finally “live” in San Francisco on her smartphone. His grandmother downloaded it to her computer and has listened countless times.

It was fun to hear from several friends and colleagues who were listening to Morning Edition and just happened to hear our grandson being interviewed.

There is one person, however, who has refused to listen. His name is Leo.

Kissin' Cousins

I love my cousin Gerry who lives in Connecticut. He is energetic, funny, and smart. He also is good at getting the family together.

Last weekend he and his son David stayed with us while they binged on three Red Sox baseball games. Except for when they were at the games, it was non-stop re-living our past. He had some great stories about our family that I had long forgotten. We talked a lot about our parents and what it would be like to have them here today.

My memories of Gerry (who is six years younger than I) are of a curly-haired, sweet and rather shy kid, maybe the quietest of all our cousins. But he didn’t stay that way. He’s coming to the end of a successful career as a divorce attorney, in love with a wonderful woman, has two terrific children and remarkably, still has all that curly hair.

Daisy, Purple, Church

Lately, I have been going with Peter to appointments with his neurologist. She is an excellent, thorough, and caring physician.

I go because:

  1. Experts say it is good to take a family member with you to medical appointments, and I like to support Peter and listen with him.
  2. If we bring his doctor a problem she has a solution, or at least some helpful suggestions, to deal with it.
  3. I leave feeling happy that Peter is in her capable hands.

The appointments are long because she is very thorough. Early on, she always asks him where we are and what day and year it is. Then she gives him three words to remember. This time they were daisy, purple, and church.

When, near the end of his appointment, she asked him to repeat them, he remembered what they were.

Thankfully, so did I.


We had a busy couple of weeks coming up with two overlapping sets of overnight guests on our agenda, so Monday was my day to get organized. Because we were having friends for dinner that evening, that gave me only the morning. So when I got an email telling me that some books I had reserved were waiting at the local library, I hurried out of the house for the short walk to pick them up.

I couldn’t help but notice the crystal clear, intensely-blue August sky. I remarked on it to the librarian who was taking the weekend book returns out of the drop-off box in front of the library. She was also impressed.

I also couldn’t help but notice that she was dealing with a huge stack of books that people had returned over the weekend. So I helped her carry several armloads into the library. She thanked me and told me they are lucky to have such lovely patrons. When I left with my three reserved books, another “lovely patron” was helping her carry in still more books.

As the days are beginning to shorten and my favorite season draws to an end, I want to appreciate each precious day.

There's No Place Like Home

We’d been away quite a bit this summer, thanks to the generosity of friends with vacation homes and our own (slightly flagging) spirit of adventure.

There were weeks and weekends of no bread-like products (for gluten-intolerant me), no home delivered newspapers and in some cases, no cell-phone reception. Of course, we were more than compensated for all that by interesting people, new learning, and beautiful settings.

However, our own bed, our early morning newspapers, not having to ask if food is gluten-free and the return to our normal (for us) routine are comforting.

As travel dates approach, there’s always a part of me that wishes we were home safe after a great trip. Once we get into the rhythm of being away, I don’t think about that at all. But when we come home and my gluten-free bagel and my newspaper are on my breakfast table, I am relieved.

And grateful.


I love coincidences. Like the time we found ourselves sitting across the table from a young woman at an 80th birthday party who turned out to have worked with our son Jeremy two decades ago.

Or the time when a woman saw me at an airport and recognized me from 45 years ago when I had helped her get a job that (according to her) launched her wonderful career.

This past weekend, the coincidence fairy struck twice.

We were staying at an Airbnb in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The owner, a retired professor had published a book about the now defunct Windsor Mountain School of nearby Lenox. For the book, she had interviewed the founder’s great niece. Since the niece lives in Boston, she asked if we knew her. Our answer: “Actually, we’re going to her house for dinner on Tuesday.”

The next day we went to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra playing at Tanglewood, its Berkshire summer home. The concert was in the“Shed” which seats 5,100 people, and it was sold out. Sitting in the seats next to us were the parents of our son Seth’s co-star from his 9th grade school production of “Anything Goes.”

Good work by the coincidence fairy.