Archive for the ‘general’ Category


July 12, 2017

“Are you on your [family trip]?” Maga asked. 

“Yup. All 14 of us are in one house!”

“Wow. How did we get such a big family?”

“You and Jobo started it off right.”

“I suppose we did. I am jealous of you all there together but I guess my traveling days are done.”

“You sure made good use of them when you were able to travel.”

“What’s the weather like there?”

“Scorching hot and one million percent humidity.”

“The beach is good then?”

“Perfect,” I said. “What have you been up to lately?”

“I’m watching Wimbeldon. There’s a TV in a main room so we went down there to watch a match.”

“I love Wimbledon! Did you see the marathon match that Nadal lost?”

“It was on more than yesterday?”

“Oh, yes. It’s at least a week. There are many rounds.”

“Have you been watching?”

“Normally yes but this year I’ve just been reading articles. Did you and Jobo ever make it there during your travel years?”

“You know, we didn’t. It’s one of the few places we didn’t get to go and I would have loved it. It’s so interesting watching all those professional players and seeing what they’re capable of. Or not.”

My mind immediately traveled to the daily beach/pool games + nightly board/card games and thought that amateurs playing games is pretty fun to experience too. 



January 17, 2017

“Wait one second, Abby dear. It’s the changing of the guard.”

I always try to call after that happens, but her beloved caregiver M stayed a little later today, so I eavesdropped while they said goodbye with tenderness. When Maga got back on the phone, she was all business. “What did you do for your birthday?”

“Oh, well, some friends came down to visit and we battled the snow on Saturday night. Then on Sunday, I invited some friends over and we did brunch. I learned I don’t have enough plates.”

“Oh no! What did you do?”

“Two of my friends are married, so they shared a plate and then the rest of us worked in shifts. The early arrivers ate first and then we washed the plates for the later arrivals. Next time, paper plates.”

Maga let out a peal of laughter at my hosting ineptitude.

“Did you host a lot of parties?” I asked.

“Not really. More often than not, we’d take friends out to the country club. It was easier all around.”

“True. But what about when your kids were growing up. How about then?”

“When my kids were growing up? That was a long time ago! But yes, I guess we did. For special occasions and things like that. Neighbors and friends we’d invite over. Do you have any business trips planned?”

“You know what? I don’t. After all that travel this summer/fall, I don’t have anything definite yet. I do not like that.”

“Do you take pictures?”

“With my phone.”

“Oh, so you don’t have any photo albums?”

“Nope. The last album I have is one my mom made for me.”

“Your mom is very good at that. She’s put some together for me and I have them here in this funny little place. She’s also good at postcards. I’m very fond of your mother. You can tell anyone.”

“I’ll make sure to.”

“Don’t you have a lot of winter birthdays in your family?”

“Especially in January.” I listed off my siblings’ birthdays ending with Brother G’s, whose was today.

“Oh, yes,” Maga said. “I talked to him last night. His family is doing well.”

“A stomach bug took them down, but yes, they’ve recovered and are doing quite well now.”

“He didn’t mention anything of that sort to me. I guess one doesn’t really talk about unfortunate things like that. But you and I can talk about it privately.”

I let out a peal of laughter at being able to override her manners and decorum.

Like grandmother, like granddaughter, I suppose.


January 10, 2017

“Hi Maga. It’s Abby.”

“Oh, Abby dear. I wasn’t sure you’d call since we spoke yesterday.”

“Well, today’s Tuesday. I like sticking to schedule.”

“Yes. It’s true. We can’t let a Tuesday go by without a good phone call.”


“Is today [Sister J]’s birthday?”

“It is.”

“I see here on my pad of paper that today is her birthday. And yours was on Sunday. And I forgot to call or send a card.”

“No worries. We talked yesterday. And today. I can feel the birthday love. Even if it’s [Sister J]’s big day today.”

“Your birthday was on Sunday. [Sister J]’s is today. When is [Brother G]’s?”

“A week from today, the 17th. And then [Sister E]’s is the 28th.”

“You are…?”


“And [Sister J] is…?”


“And [Brother G] is…?”


“And [Sister E] is…?”


“Oh my how time flies. It’s also sort of funny that all your birthdays happen to come at the same time, but I guess that’s the way of things.”

“It’s a big month of celebrating that’s for sure,” I said trying not to think of further about that specific ‘way of things.’

“I suppose it’s too late to call [Sister J]? They must have left for dinner by now.”

“I got off the phone with her a little bit ago. She was about to put [Mac3] to bed, so it’s just about a perfect time for you to call her. She’ll love that.”

From a Tuesday call to a birthday call, Maga’s dance card sure was full tonight.


January 10, 2017

“Yesterday was your birthday and I completely forgot to call or send a card,” Maga said. “But do you know how I remembered?”

“It’s yours and Jobo’s anniversary today,” I said.

“Our 73rd.”

“I always remember because it’s the day between my birthday and Sister J’s.”

“Why, yes, you’re right.”

“73 years is an impressive feat. Did you do any celebrating while my mom and dad were there this weekend?”

“Not really, no, because the most important person wasn’t there.”

Her voice was raw with love lost and so I did the only thing I could. “Tell me more about why you chose January to get married. It’s kind of an unusual month.”

“Jobo graduated MIT in 1941. I graduated Wellesley in 1942 so we couldn’t do any of those years. And then in December of 1942, Pearl Harbor happened and Joe decided to enlist. It was awful. We got married January 9, 1943 and he left for the Navy a couple of weeks later. He got an assignment in Alaska and I moved to California so in case he got leave, it would be easier for him to get to California than New Jersey.”

“Did you like California?”

“Oh, yes. I lived in a home with other service wives. I got a job. And then Jobo got reassigned to DC which was good because that meant I could be with him.”

And for 64 more years, they remained together. A love story of epic proportions.


January 3, 2017

“Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?” I said.

“No,” Maga said. “I didn’t. Did you?”


“What’s a good resolution to make?” And before I could answer, she did. “Good health. Although that’s not always under our control.”

Another thing not under my control was the rest of the conversation. It careened from Christmas vacation to how I found my new living situation to if I’d met my neighbors to what my new address is to what my phone number is and wound back around to how I found my place.

“The internet,” I said, trying to slow the barrage of questions.

“The internet? That’s a good place to find things.”

“It sure is.”

“When you get settled into your new place, you’ll have kiddies running around soon.”

I’m not sure which previously stated advice to follow: some things are not under our control, or, the internet is a good place to find things.