“Do you have the tennis matches on?” Maga asked.

“Oh, no. I don’t. I just walked in the door.”

“Tennis was my game. I loved to play. Look at those girls. Are they ever good. Serena seems to be ahead, so that’s good to see. Boy that was a good shot. Right down the alley.”

“They do know what they’re doing! My mom, dad, Aunt J and Uncle P are going to the games this weekend.”

“Oh, yes. I saw J today. She leaves tomorrow.”

“I went to the US Open once and man was it fun. I had a blast!”

“Now they’ve got some men on. Boy are they fast. Oh he just hit it out.”

“How long did you play tennis for?”

“I started in college and then …. that shot was out. I shouldn’t be talking to you and watching this at the same time….My goodness, these men are efficient.”

“How is the game different than when you played?”

“It’s so different. We just played on outside courts. Now they have kind of inside courts that are open on the top but…Now we’re back with the ladies. Serena Williams vs. the Russian.”

“You’re clearly enjoying the games. I’ll let you go so you can watch them.”

“Oh, no. I so look forward to our Tuesday chats. I’m glad we have them in common.”

“How was your day today? What did you do?”

“I went to the doctor because I fell this weekend and had to get an x-ray taken.”

“Oh no! Are you okay? What did you hurt? Are you in much pain? Can you walk?”

“I sit in a wheelchair most of the day. Other times I use a walker. I don’t lay around in bed all day, so that’s something. I get out and around…My these girls are good at tennis. I wish I could do that. But at my age, I guess it’s not an option.”

She sure was running circles around me.



Maga: How’s work?

Me: Crazy busy. And I could do with a little less drama.

Maga: Don’t you publish books?

Me: Yes, but I have to deal with people to get those books made.

Maga: Oh, well, that could make things difficult. How’s the weather where you are?

Me: Today’s forecast was ‘sunny and delightful’ and you know what? That was spot on.

Maga: It was cloudy where I am today. But I guess it’s a changeable time of year.

The cooling temperatures. The evening hours creeping closer every day. And yet, it always feels like time for a fresh beginning.

Maga: Look at that man. He sort of blew up over the lake.

Me: What are you watching?

Maga: Channel 4.

Me: Oh. Okay. Did you watch the Olympics?

Maga: Yes! I loved them. What was your favorite sport?

Me: Gymnastics.

Maga: Aren’t all those young people so impressive?

Me: Totally. It sort of makes me feel like I need to do more with my life.

Maga: Oh, I think you’ve done quite a bit with yours.

Me: Well, thanks.

Maga: It’s not quite as colorful now that the Olympics are over.

Me: True. But the trees outside will be changing color soon. So there’s that.

Maga: And your mother is coming to visit me.

Me: What’s your favorite thing about her?

Maga: She’s so dependable and you can ask her things and she gives you a good answer. She just has good sense. She knows what’s what. I appreciate that very much. I guess anyone would. You’ve known her a long time. You must understand all this by now.

Me: I do. Very well. I’m lucky to have known her my whole life.

Maga: You’re such a dear to call. I love to hear your cheery voice. And sometimes you surprise me because I forget it’s Tuesday.

It is a changeable time of year after all, but our Tuesday phone calls are consistent. Two ladies each wishing they had more company than the newspaper, a book, the TV, memories of days previously sunny and delightful. But our blood connects us and the telephone ties us together and we move forward one season at a time.



An only child who grew up living with just her mother, it’s not hard to see why Maga treasures her large family.

“Why didn’t Nana ever get re-married?” I ask.

“She knew a few men, dated a little, but nothing ever took. I wished she had gotten married again because I think she was lonely for a lot of her life.”

Is Maga reminiscing or am I looking in the mirror?

“She moved out to Colorado later in life. She lived in a care center about halfway between our house and downtown. I think she enjoyed those four years very much. We took her out to dinner and on trips and up to Dillon. Plus, she kept busy over there and had many friends.”

“How is her center different than yours?”

“I lived so long in my own house and could come and go as I wanted. Here, I have to wait for someone to come get me. I was younger at my house. Plus I always had someone around. Now I’m alone from 6pm until bedtime. It’s terribly lonely.”

She makes valid points, though she misses the angle I’m aiming for.

“How’s your foot?” Maga asks, switching the topic with a dexterity born from her days of hosting parties.

“It’s getting much better, thanks.”

“Do you have any upcoming travel?”

“I’m going to Nashville in a couple of weeks.”

“I don’t think my footsteps have ever crossed that state.”

It’s one of the few places in the world she hasn’t been, and after learning that my loneliness is genetic, an erratic thrill zips through me. Maybe genetics are more flexible than I thought and maybe just maybe me and my bionic toe will leave a unique set of footprints.


21st century technology

Me: Sorry I’m calling so late.

Maga: Were you out somewhere?

Me: Actually, I was. On a date.

Maga: How did you meet him?

Me: Online. It’s what everyone does these days.

Maga: *gasps* Goodness gracious. Technology. I had no idea. How did you get his phone number?

Me: Email.

Maga: Email on the internet. *statement of fact, tone of wonder*

Me: How did you and Jobo meet?

Maga: We met on a blind date. He had a friend at MIT who knew a girl at Wellesley. Jobo loved to dance, but he was from California so didn’t know anyone to invite to the Junior Prom. His friend asked my friend if she knew anyone. She asked me. And that’s how it all started.

Me: What was your first impression of him?

Maga: I thought he was very nice. He was as you know. He came to Wellesley to pick me up even though the dance was in Cambridge. I came to the swinging doors of the corridor I lived on and there was a tall, nice looking man. Taller than me. I was quite a bit taller then. And we hit it off. And that started all these children and grandchildren. My oh my that was a long time ago. So you had a nice time tonight?

Me: I did.

Maga: It’s sort of fun to meet new people, isn’t it?

Me: It can be, yes. How about you? Met anyone new at your new place?

Maga: Oh. No. The only place to meet people is in the dining room. They’re weird. I shouldn’t complain, but… Oh, Abby dear. I sure hope when you’re 95 things have smoothed out a bit.

Me: With the way technology is going, I’ll probably be a robot by that point.

Maga: *laughs* I sure wish you lived closer.

Me: Me too.

Maga: But at least we have the telephone.

Score one for today’s technology.