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Thursday, June 22, 2017

I PICTURE MYSELF AS AN OCTOGENARIAN ELOISE (2)

Note to visitors:  I spent far too much time trying to combine my records about the move to Linden Ponds, so phooey --  both versions coming up.
Version One
To: Newton High School classmate Aura Kern Kruger
Subject:  LINDEN PONDS
     To answer your question, why did I sign up?  I had received a flyer in the mail, didn't think too much about it until I learned that my old friend, artist Elizabeth Robinson, was on the Priority List and very enthusiastic.  The first hundred people to sign up would be given their choice of available apartments. I hastened to get on the list for $150 un-refundable dollars, joining what the management now calls this early group: Pioneers. Everything else is refundable, including a couple of down payments amounting to $5000.  What I most liked was the management's policy of returning to your family your original payment for your apartment.  My duplicate bridge partner had a question about this deal.  "Do you mean your investment will be returned when you move?"  I said, "Move to heaven, you mean?"    
     I'm not a believer in a heaven. What in the world would you DO for eternity?  It's miracle enough to have had the good luck to be born, thanks to a long line of conceptions in my family tree that had to proceed exactly as they did in order to make way for me.  Not a single hitch such as “No, sorry, but I have a headache," or “No, "I'm going to be away on a business trip.  Sorry I won't be around to fertilize that particular egg.  I'll do all the fertilizing you want after I get back."  These hitches would have side-tracked my actual ancestral tree and a lot of other babies would have been born instead.  As you may have guessed, Aura, I marvel at the series of miraculous conceptions that led to the birth of every one of us. It's a pet subject of mine.
    Linden Ponds is in Hingham in the area of the quarries on Route 53.  We are all invited to a ground-breaking ceremony on October 3rd.
     They expect the complex to be ready by mid-October.  We are promised that the Clubhouse will be open. This includes the Country Store, the Bank Branch, the library, the Creative Arts Studio, the Restaurants (one with formal service and one Cafe) Lounges, Classrooms, Card Rooms, the Medical Center, the Pool and hot tub, the Fitness Complex, etc. 
   Yes, an Adventure is the word for it.  I picture myself as an octogenarian Eloise.  Life will be so easy . . . one meal a day, included in the monthly service fee, means I'll never ever have to cook another dinner!  Tim's response to my anxiety about the stress of moving:  "What're ya worrying about, Mom, you've got two strong sons, we'll give you all the help you need." 
     The arrangement you have with Jo sounds ideal for you.  It's clear that your grandchildren are a bonus in your life.  You have always been adaptable to everything that comes along in life and apparently don't have my need to hang onto my privacy as long as I can.
     About the trembling hands:  Is this a condition you have at all times or could you have simply been nervous?  Back in the 70s I took lessons in a small room in the Braintree Duplicate Bridge Club.  One night a fellow student named Jim showed up, and we found we were the only ones there.  He said, "Let's join the game in the big room."  WITH THE SHARKS??? My hands shook for six months before I gained confidence enough to play calmly. 
     I don't remember Leon's appearance in Newton High School's Pride and Prejudice, but I clearly recall what a downer it was when illness prevented his playing Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Your husband-to-be would have been perfect for the role.  I agree that good movies are rare these days, although A Beautiful Life was one of the best I've ever seen.
     One more coincidence in our lives:  The book Kathie will eventually finish working on is also divided by seasons.  Don't be surprised if your working title is changed by your future editor.  My memoir was formerly called Reconcilable Differences, but the top-notch cover artist the publisher landed said it was too bad a lively, humorous book had such a dull title.   My editor frantically called me, said she had been trying to think of different titles all night, and asked me to come up with some possibilities.  The next day I called her back and began reading my list of ideas.  When I came to "Take My Ex-Husband," she said, "Wait! Go back to that one."
     I consulted Kathie, and between the three of us, we came up with a title we all liked.  I thought the cover artist's illustration was inspired, with its tipsy letters suggesting the author's offbeat personality.
     Many thanks for the exquisitely embroidered hand towels; the chapters in which you have done your best writing are all the gift an editor could ask for. . . .
                                                           

December 14 2013                                        
     My whole apartment reeks of burned Cheese Dreams.  I didn’t have a cookie sheet (still in Weymouthport in the stove drawer), so I heated the Sandwich Thins in a heavy saucepan coated with a little olive oil.  In minutes the kitchen was smoked up, as well as my clothes and hair. 
     Opening the heavy sliding picture windows to let some air in was extremely difficult.  I had to hook my fingers around their edges and lean my entire 115 pounds backwards.  Next came the clean-up of burned cheese cemented to metal.  Then came the tasting.  I said to myself the famous line by the camper whose buddy, after the guys drew lots, was stuck with the cooking chore:  “This tastes like [censored 4-letter word]! But it’s good!”       

Footnote:  I recommend to everyone The Outskirts of Hope, a memoir by Aura Kruger' daughter Jo, available on Amazon via Kathie's blog  http://engagingpeace.com 

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