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December 2021

Harvard Square's Loss

Those of us who have been hanging out in Harvard Square for years got some very sad news on Monday.   Another landmark is closing.  This time we are losing Brattle Square Florists after a run of 104 years.  Long ago lost were Woolworth’s, Joe and Nemo’s, Design Research, the Harvard Square Movie Theatre, Casablanca and many more.  More recently, Dickson’s Hardware and the Curious George Bookstore have disappeared. 

Brattle Square Florists outlasted them all.

Over the years, Peter has surprised me with countless bouquets of daisies from there.  When he was still able to, he pushed his red Rollator up to the Square and walked back clutching a bouquet from Brattle Square to surprise me. 

Having lived or worked in Cambridge since 1965, I have watched many establishments close their doors.  Usually, empty spaces are quickly nabbed.

But times have changed; rents have sky-rocketed.  The pandemic was the final blow for Brattle Square Florists.

The news of their closing made the front page of The Boston Globe, and local social media has responded.  But the owners can’t work any harder. 

We’ve worn them out.


Years ago, I would stop at my local Bay Bank branch after work every Friday. I would cash a check for $75 that would usually get me through a week.

Times have changed.  Now $75 would never get me through a week, and I never cash a check.  In fact, I only write checks for some contributions and holiday tips. I use Venmo to pay small amounts to a neighbor who picks up something for me at the grocery store and charge whatever I can on my cash-back credit card.

None-the-less, I finally ran out of checks and ordered more with my new apartment number.  When they arrived, I checked that all the numbers on the bottom were correct and stashed them away.

I had to write a check the other day, and I noticed that I forgot to take Peter’s name off my new supply. I will probably write checks with his name on them for the rest of my life.

And that’s OK with me.

                                Best wishes to all for a healthy, happy 2022.

It's the Little Things...

My apartment has floor to ceiling-windows in the living room.  The window coverings are three-inch-wide plastic vertical panels.  In the almost four months since moving here, I had not closed the shades until last night when even our double-glazed windows couldn’t keep out the cold.

Alas, I saw that there was a gap, a missing panel, right in the middle of the window.

I had a feeling that when the shade people replaced similar shades in our former apartment down the hall, they left me one or two extra panels.  Sure enough, I had tucked one into a closet corner and forgotten about it. 

I couldn’t reach high enough with my small step stool to attach the panel, but my three-step ladder was perfect. I was able to slide the panel into the empty holder where it fit perfectly.

Made my day.

Where Did the Morning Go?

I stayed home Thursday morning to wait for a delivery.  I put on an old sweatshirt of Peter’s and a pair of  jeans. I decided to be an “energizer bunny” and check some things off my long “to-do” list.

The next thing I knew it was 1:00 pm and I had accomplished nothing that was on that list because:

  1. My Internet provider emailed to inform me that the credit card to which my account is automatically billed was expiring.  First, I tried unsuccessfully to update it online.  Then I called.  Without ever talking to a human, I was able to complete the change.  It was not a speedy transaction.
  1. My condo fee is paid automatically from my checking account, but the fee is increasing in January.  It wasn’t obvious how to adjust it, but I succeeded (I hope) without anyone’s help.
  1. An email from Amazon informed me that the new phone case I ordered had been “delivered to the mailroom.”  Normally, the mailroom informs me of packages in a timely manner.  It turns out they had an Amazon package with no name on it.  It had only an apartment number, and it was the apartment we moved out of!  But it did contain my phone case.
  1. The attorney who is helping me process Peter’s “estate” emailed to tell me I needed to set up a "secure" account that would allow me to sign documents online.  I do what he tells me.

Suddenly, it was 1:00 and I hadn't completed a single thing that was on my list.  I also had not eaten lunch.

I asked myself, “How did I do all this when I had a husband, two children, and a more-than-full-time job?”

Unfortunately, the answer is pretty obvious.


I was a 5’10” tall teenager. I towered over my female classmates (and quite a few  males).  My mother’s three brothers were all tall, and my older brother was 6’2” so my height was not surprising. 

Mother was always reminding me to stand up straight.  Her constant “shoulders back” (or her whispering “SB” if we weren’t alone) was very annoying.  Honestly, I tried.

In 1989, my mother died.  I wish I could tell her the following: 

In 2002, I bought a very expensive gown in a boutique shop on Fifth Avenue in New York City for Jeremy’s wedding. It was elegant and I felt beautiful in it. 

It needed a bit of alteration because there was a gap between the dress and the back of my shoulders, probably due to my poor posture.  I guess that I hadn’t done enough SB-ing.

Nineteen years later, while replacing a framed photo of Jeremy and Katrina at their 2002 wedding, I noticed a bit of a gap between Jeremy’s tuxedo jacket and the back of his neck.

The genes have spoken.

Falling Objects

The other day I knocked a quart of blueberries off the kitchen counter. Approximately one-third of the berries stayed in their original container.  The other two-thirds rolled under the stove, the dishwasher, the refrigerator or just randomly distributed themselves on the kitchen rug.  I had to leave them or be late meeting a friend. They were still there when I came home.

It seems that I am dropping or knocking things over more often lately. At Thanksgiving, I knocked a wine glass off the arm of my chair, breaking it AND spilling the wine. 

My hands just aren’t as steady as they used to be.  My handwriting, formerly  legible, sometimes can’t even be read by me.

I do not have a remedy for these new deficits.  However, I do know that if I made a list of the things I can do, it would be much longer than this one.                                                   

What's for Dinner

I miss Peter. 

However, I think it is OK that there are a few things I don’t miss about him:

  1. I get the front page of the newspaper first now. It’s true that I like the Business and Arts and Sports sections, but I LOVE starting with the first section and my coffee.
  2. For fifty-six years, I could not cook with olives of any type, green, red or yellow peppers and more. However, the jar of red pepper flakes was almost always requested by Peter, unless it was more of a Tabasco sauce meal. I add neither.
  3. Eggplant was not permitted in the house.
  4. Most people add butter to food. Peter preferred adding food to butter. 

In heaven, Peter is probably having a lot of lima beans, spaghetti with clam sauce, drugstore jellybeans and other things I avoid. 

And that’s fine with me.

What? Me Compulsive?

I slept perfectly for the six nights I was with the kids for Thanksgiving. I was out “like a light” as soon as my head touched the pillow, and I never slept less than eight hours.  It was partly relief from the stress of the last several months and partly the pure mountain air.  But mostly it was that I had no responsibilities.  No pills to manage, no pharmacy runs, no doctor appointments, no classes.   “Just put your feet up,” my daughter-in-law Katrina said, and I did.

I have always been a “busy” person.  As a child, I would be the first to leave  playing in the street after dinner because I had “things” to do.  My college roommate swears that I would turn down a movie with friends because I owed a letter to my parents! I never stayed up all night to cram for an exam.  One could call me “disciplined,” but “compulsive” might be more accurate.

That may explain why since January, 2008, I have published 1,449 “70-Something”, now “80-Something.” blog posts.

Every Thursday and every Sunday.


There were two cars at Deep Creek Lake for the post-Thanksgiving trip back to Silver Spring, Maryland.  I went with Leo—his longest driving since he got his license a few months ago.  His father was in the front seat next to him in case he needed advice, and Seth and I were in the back.  Occupants’ ages ranged from sixteen to 80-something. Subjects discussed follow:


I had never heard a single song on Leo’s playlist.  But music was a big part of the trip as Jeremy quizzed Seth on the artists of the best hits of the 80’s. Seth knew them all.   I knew none of them. I asked Seth to quiz me on top hits of the 50’s.  I recognized every single song even though I couldn’t name any of the artists except Patti Page. Classical music was not discussed.


Me:  Long down coat zipped to my chin.  Jeremy and Seth:  normal winter jackets, unzipped.  Leo: shorts and a sweatshirt


A very, very short discussion on possible online dating sites.


Two large plastic bags containing approximately thirty-five brands of what used to be called “penny candy".  Bought by Seth at a nearby candy store to be shared upon his return to Brazil, we each were allowed samples.  I chomped on Hot Tamales and Turkish Taffy.


Not long enough.