Jan. 20, 2010
Mayrene Bates is such an inspiration. She opened up my cache of memories past the “Third Chapter” of life. Most of the time, I just go on with everyday living never thinking of the number of years I have bridged...One day at a time is enough for me.
However, her article has awakened thoughts of “fourth chapter” events.
My late seventies were “sit back and enjoy the days.” I basked in the joy of adventure-filled trips with Dolly. (You do remember the motorhome, don't you?). From 1987 through 1996, all of the road trips were focused on filling in state and province maps of Canada and the USA. Each state/province was pasted on as explored.
I will never forget the celebration in an overnight park in Vermont when I plugged in the very last bit of plastic...Vermont. I hadn't intended a party...but as soon as the other campers realized what I was celebrating, they had to join in. One camper donated a bottle of wine which was passed around to chug-a-lug. Oh, to be young.
Sorry...I digress...but it is a major memory...a mega-memory.
Dolly hit the road for many trips to favorite places in the ensuing years.
A major celebration came along in 2002...the sixtieth reunion of my graduation from Townville High School...that's Pennsylvania, in case you've forgotten. On commencement night, twenty-seven students received the diplomas confirming their accomplishments.
For the dinner, I took decorations from California,..bars of soap from a local company and baskets of candied almonds for each celebrant. There were eight members of my class along with their friends and relatives at the tables. I knew it was the last time I would see them...and I believe most of them were at a similar place in their thoughts.
We gathered together at the one restaurant in Townville...remember only about 350 people live in that small town and environs. Just being there evoked pools of memories. Most of my classmates had never strayed far from home. The men had served in the military forces during World War II and returned to farms and factory jobs. Wesley carved out a business building bridges hither and yon and became the class millionaire. Ellen became a teacher in a high school in central Pennsylvania. Then there was me...the maverick...but that is another story.
I knew it was the last time I would drive Dolly across this magnificent country...the last time to visit many favorite places. I knew it was probably my last drop-in at the Amana Colonies and relatives in Iowa. In the future, folks would come to California to visit me.
It seemed like my activities gradually narrowed. The Ballroom Dance at the Fairfield Senior Center ran out of money and had to be abandoned. The volunteers who had served so faithfully were bid adieu. Now my closet houses fancy clothes and sparkly shoes that have no place to go.
I have maintained my membership in the TOPS Club...since 1986...where I currently maintain my goal weight. They allow my son to sit in because he brings me. I can and do drive my KIA but Bryan prefers to go with me...especially at night. He knows we will have dinner at a restaurant...Dynasty, Red Lobster, LaCabana, Johnny Carino's, ...perhaps we'll cash in a Christmas gift certificate at Mimi's which we must use soon.... or drive by Wendy's to pick up baked potatoes garnished with sour cream and onions, cartons of chili, and salads to eat at home. Tuesday nights are splurge times.
Ever since my son moved in, my life has narrowed. He has plans. I can live with his taking over the kitchen. He is very knowledgeable when it comes to cooking.
I am aware that there are many things requiring strong limbs which are out of the question for me at this time. Somehow I think I can still do everything...until I try to get a heavy box off a high shelf and I cannot reach it or lift it down.
I walk with two canes...one my father's which keeps him walking beside me. There were so many years when were a team...then more years far apart...countries and oceans apart...but there was always a connection...one that continues across the veil of the River Styx. I was always “Arch Hanna's daughter” and when I am through here, I will be with him again.
In the meantime, I am living my “Fourth Chapter” a day at a time...highlighted by trips to the Pet Store...[we enjoy the antics of Buddy and Baby... kittens that were rescued from under our house nearly two years ago], Costco, TOPS, and the Solano College Theatre.
It's not over...yet.