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June 2017

Repartee Report

Last weekend, our son Seth joined us in Connecticut for a cousin’s wedding. I had never been to Guilford or Madison or Branford, all beautiful Connecticut small towns near the seashore.

The weather on Saturday was perfect, blue-skies with a few wispy clouds, and our drive to the farm where the wedding took place was along winding country roads.

“At this stage in our lives,” I said to Seth, “I find myself more in the moment.  I’m noticing the beauty of these trees.”  

Seth turned to his father. “How about you Dad? Noticing trees lately?”

Peter’s response: “I was looking at the forest.”


The Gapification of America

David’s on First, my favorite shoe store, is inconveniently located across the street from a noisy mall that I hate. But David’s always has the shoes I need and, more important, the salespeople are really helpful.

But times are changing, and when I was there recently, my salesman told me that a developer has bought the block on which the store is located to build a huge condo in a community already saturated with condos. There will be retail stores on the ground level, but the rent will be unaffordable.

David’s has to vacate by next spring and they are looking to relocate in a small town center, miles away. My salesman and I bemoaned what I call the Gapification of our nation. Small, independent stores are being replaced by chains like The Gap and Starbucks. One of them is likely to replace David’s.

I offered my email address so that they could let me know where and when they are going. But they don’t have a web presence and they don’t do mailings. I will check in with them in a few months—perhaps I will be able to shop wherever they go.

But it’s a shame.

Father's Day

On Sunday, dads everywhere were kings of their castles. Breakfast in bed, greeting cards, and surprises of all sorts. Every Father’s Day Peter thanks me for making him a dad. I tell him I enjoyed it.

But it’s really about kids and their fathers. Ours never let their father down. Peter opened his cards at breakfast. Loving messages from Jeremy and his family telling him that he’s an awesome dad/grandad. Seth thanked Peter for forty-seven years of service as an outstanding father. He added, “Thanks for having such a great attitude and (seemingly) enjoying life despite its limitations.” That made me weepy for a moment, but that didn’t last because he added, “Note: This should not be seen to imply that you are everything a husband should be. That’s another story.”

Out of the mouths of babes!


Take a look at some pages from the book 70-Something:  Life, Love and Limits on Amazon

Speaking Up

A friend and I have lunch together once a month. We go to the same place, at the same time, have a great conversation in the same booth and order the same thing. I know…it’s pathetic.

My lunch is always a Cobb salad with balsamic vinaigrette. It comes with a huge chunk of avocado fanned out across the top. Heavenly.

The other day, much to my distress, the salad came to the table without the avocado. I stirred the salad around a bit. Bacon—present. Chicken—present. Hard boiled egg—present. Corn kernels—present.

No avocado to be seen.

You may recall that I am a member of the silent generation. But I felt this required noise. I flagged down the waiter and asked if removing the avocado had been a cost decision. “No,” he replied. “It was a mistake in the kitchen.”

Moments later he brought me a plate with beautiful sliced avocado that I tossed into my mostly uneaten salad. It felt great to speak up.

Harvey (con't)

Nine months ago, I wrote about our friend Harvey who was trying to be the first-person-ever to be cured of the cancer that he had been diagnosed with eight months earlier. At that time, he had already survived a brutal course of chemotherapy and still had the uncertainty of a stem cell transplant in his future. But we were cautiously optimistic.

Last Saturday night, more than a hundred people gathered to celebrate Harvey’s and his wife Tina’s 50th wedding anniversary. People came from far and wide. Kids, grandkids, former neighbors, the man who introduced them to each other so long ago and, of course, long-time friends like us. It was a joyful celebration. Harvey was back to being Harvey—full of life, full of joy and optimism. Tina thanked him publicly for obeying her order to survive.

It was a beautiful party, and it was a reminder that even when things look bleak, it doesn’t hurt to hope.

Read the reviews for 70-Something: Life, Love and Limits in the Bonus Years at

The Perfect Wife

The other evening, with a nearly-empty glass of gin in hand, Peter told me that I am the perfect wife. Since I know that that is not true, I asked him what makes a wife perfect.

His answer:

  1. She keeps you from eating things that are bad for you, like Italian sausages.
  1. She shames you into exercising by setting a good example.
  1. She tolerates your imperfections.
  1. She tells you when your fly is unzipped.
  1. She loves you in spite of everything.

Fortunately he didn’t ask me what makes a perfect husband.


Check out the book:  70-Something:  Life, Love and Limits in the Bonus Years, available at Amazon

Perfect Moments

On Sunday morning, life was perfect. The sun was shining, always a good thing. The night before we had been to an 80th birthday party for a wonderful friend of 62 years that was perfect in every way. It was small, but elegant, with her three daughters, her granddaughters and loving friends paying tribute. All planned by her husband and a friend. I don’t remember ever having a better time.

On top of that, I woke up to an email from someone I don’t know, forwarded by someone I do know saying that she couldn’t put my just-published book down. She added, “It was me!!!!!”

But perhaps best of all was that Peter who had been suffering from horrible back pain told me he was feeling better.

In our seventies, more than ever, we have to savor the perfect moments.


Check out the book:   70-Something:  Life, Love and Limits in the Bonus Years  (available at Amazon)

Classical Music--No Gray Hair

On a balmy spring evening last month, we had a wonderful music experience.

It began with a conversation with my helper at the Apple Store Genius Bar who turned out to be a symphony conductor looking for a job in a very competitive symphony world. Matt hopes to become an assistant director of a major symphony and give up his day job at Apple.

Three years ago he founded the Phoenix Orchestra to try to attract a younger generation to classical music. He wanted to “make every effort to create a more engaging concert-going experience”.

That’s how we found ourselves at the Phoenix Orchestra’s last concert of their three-concert season, held in a cavernous room at the Somerville Armory. The floor was set with cocktail tables, with a bar to the side. No one in the orchestra was over thirty-five years old. The conductor wore jeans and the players wore red shirts.

They played Dvorak, Beethoven and Ligeti surprisingly well. During the two intermissions the bar was open and the orchestra members mingled with the guests. We saw one other gray-haired couple—probably someone’s parents. We plan to subscribe to their fourth season.

It's a Book! is now a book. A real book. Honestly, I can’t believe it.

It's called 70-Something: Life, Love and Limits in the Bonus Years and it’s available on Amazon. When I started this blog almost ten years ago, I was writing mostly for myself. But somehow, you found it and you stuck with me. Each year, more of you followed the blog, and your support gave me the courage to turn it into a book. The old-fashioned kind, printed on paper. You can hold it in your hand.

703I have distilled 989 blog posts and selected 253 that I have organized under themes--family, marriage, retirement, legacy and more. I’ve added commentaries on each theme.

I'd like to ask a favor of those of you who have been with me for years. Click here to check out the book on Amazon - even if you don't buy one, I'd appreciate your leaving a review letting people know what you think of the blog. If you know the blog, you know the book. (Though you can't give the blog as a gift, the book might make a good one.)

When I began, I thought my seventies would be a real turning point in my life. And they have been. I know how lucky I am to be able to enjoy my bonus years, and I thank you for letting me share them with you,