Go East, Single Senior, Go East!


           I went East to visit relatives and friends, a whirlwind ten day trip. The purpose was not sightseeing but to reconnect. I was invited to stay with them rather than in hotels.

My cousin Steven, only eleven days younger than me, picked me up at the Boston airport. He plays A level tennis daily and works full time at his three businesses. He treated me to the best sautéed soft shell crabs I’ve ever had. I spent the night at his place. The next day, after he fixed a fine breakfast, he drove me around as I drank in the greenness. We drove through the DeCordova Sculpture Museum and drank tea on the patio of a restaurant before he dropped me off at cousin Debbie’s house. We shared diet sodas and our lives at her kitchen counter.

Debbie and I picked up her mother, my favorite aunt, Paula. She is ninety-three and a bit frail, needs hearing aids and lost some vision due to macular degeneration but her mind is intact. She is happily ensconced in an independent living community where she has aides come in every day. She’s made friends and remains active. I should be so lucky.

Aunt Paula

Aunt Paula

They took me on a driving tour. I saw Walden Pond, Louisa May Alcott’s house and Emerson’s house.  We met Steven’s daughter Erin and her daughter at the lovely Colonial Inn, established in 1716, for a Ladies Dinner. Great conversation and my lobster roll and Boston Cream Pie were outstanding.

I went back to Aunt Paula’s, where I was to spend the night, and we watched old movies on TCM. The next morning we ate Father’s Day Brunch at my aunt’s place and

Steven took me to the train.

I rode to Bridgeport where my friend from third grade picked me up and took me back to her charming condo complex in Shelton, Connecticut. We spent three days reminiscing, catching each other up on family and friends, and eating well. Linda has let her hair go white and we discussed this at length. I don’t think I’m ready yet.

Her hair looks great in natural white.

Her hair looks great in natural white.

I had made a reservation on Amtrak to go to Manhattan for the next leg of my odyssey. While I was waiting at the Bridgeport station, at least four metro-North trains went by. Then I got a text from Amtrak that my train would be forty-five minutes late. The ticket window was no longer open so I asked a man in uniform who told me I could have taken any of those trains. The next one was arriving in a few minutes. He showed me how to purchase my ticket at the kiosk. I forgot to cancel my reservation on Amtrak so I lost that money and my sister later told me I should have gotten senior fare for the train I took, half of the price.

I arrived at Grand Central Station and walked to Third Avenue. I considered walking from Forty-Second Street to my sister’s place at Eight-Fifth Street. I waited for a bus for fifteen minutes and finally hailed a cab.

My sister and I walked over to a park on the East River and enjoyed the human and dog parade.

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The next day we met a friend of ours I hadn’t seen in many years. We had a four hour lunch at the Oyster Bar Restaurant at Grand Central Station, in the bar where fantastic sandwiches are on the menu.

Karen, me, and my sister at The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station

Karen, me, and my sister at The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station

The next day my sister and I took the train to High Bridge, New Jersey to see my brother and his wife. My sister met up with her boyfriend at my brother’s house and we all enjoyed hamburgers and hot dogs that my brother grilled on his on his charcoal Weber. We reminisced about our childhoods. I didn’t remember one of my father’s adages that my brother lives by. “If it’s not worth doing, it’s not worth doing well.”

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My sister reminded me that when my brother got a horned toad, my father sold her insurance that would pay if the horned toad got in her bed. She paid on it monthly! Twenty years ago my sister visited my brother and his family in Florida. His children had heard the horned toad insurance story. They put Iggy, their pet iguana, in her bed that night.

My sister and her boyfriend went back to NYC and I got to visit with my brother and his wife for another day and a half.

I reconnected with my roots and collected stories and adages for a book for the family.  And I gained five pounds.

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