Libraries ~

Beverly Library, Beverly, Mass.

I mentioned recently that I began reading at 5 years old. To be honest,  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t read. I vividly recall at 4 years old holding my mom’s hand and walking up what seemed to me a million steps to enter the Beverly Library.  We lived in the downtown area of Beverly in the early 50’s so it was an easy walk from our house.   My mother was an avid reader and I loved going with her to the library. I can still remember my sense of pride on leaving as I clutched my books to my chest.

bookmobile

And then at age 7, my dad got transferred with GE to Ohio. We lived in a suburb of Cincinnati in Reading. It was 1954. There was probably a brick and mortar library building in town, but I don’t recall it.  What I do remember fondly was the Bookmobile that came through our neighborhood. I believe it came once a week. I can still recall giggling when I first saw it. When I eyed this bus, I felt a sense of disappointment after my visits to the massive Beverly Library. But once I entered…….I was immediately lost in the world of books. The aisle was filled with shelves from top to bottom….with books of fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, etc.   And all of a sudden the physical structure of the library didn’t matter. I was able to browse and get lost in books.

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Salem Library – Salem, Mass.

And then at age 13 we moved back to Salem, Massachusetts.  We again lived in the downtown area where I could walk everywhere and it didn’t take me long to find the library.  I immediately resonated with the building itself.  Built it 1855, it had been the mansion of sea captain, John Bertram and I fell in love. Even then I was captivated with old, antique homes and buildings. But walking inside I felt I was truly transported to another world. The dark wood, the moulding, the elaborate staircase leading up to even more aisles of books, little nooks and crannies with sunlight streaming through the old windows. I frequented the library a lot and devoured many a book.

And then by the time I remarried and moved to Peabody, I didn’t visit the library quite as often. I discovered small bookshops and began to purchase books. And eventually, many years later, along came Kindle and ebooks. But now I feel as if I’ve come full circle to a certain degree. I discovered OverDrive, an app where one can borrow library books (ebook or audio) and read them on your device. So I went to the Ormond Beach library when I first moved here and got my library card and last year I decided to use the app. I borrowed a few books but then resorted back to Amazon. However, over the past month I found my way back to the OverDrive app and I’m truly loving it. 

I have bookcases and bookshelves filled with print books. At this stage of the game, it seems downright silly to purchase more books. To be read only once. For me, borrowing the ebooks from the library seems the more practical route to take. 

And besides, it’s just another thing I’ve discovered in my journey on arriving full circle.

See you here next time………….

 

The First 100 Days ~

Today marks the 100th day of trump’s Presidency. And the drama continues. I can’t help but feel what a waste of such an esteemed position in our country and the world. 

And how does he greet this momentous day? With fear and with astonishment at HOW hard the job is! 

He instilled fear throughout his campaign and in an interview with Reuters two days ago, he did it again. “A major, major conflict with North Korea is possible. Absolutely.” Sure, stir up that fear in the people. He can’t govern, but he IS a master at diversionary tactics. While his house of cards is collapsing around him with the investigation of Russian ties heating up, lets take the focus off this topic.

I believe nothing he says. Ever. EXcept…….I do believe he had NO clue HOW hard being President is. Because it was all about the winning for him! Only the winning! He doesn’t NOT win. Becoming President had nothing to do with governing our country, protecting the American people, and working to make it even better. It had everything to do with winning. Getting those accolades. Praise. Pats on the back.  That’s how his entire life has been. 

At the very least, he should have surrounded himself with the best and the brightest. Possibly then his governing might have had a chance. But instead he chose people who ALSO didn’t have one ounce of political experience. Billionaires. People he owed favors to. Family. Family who had never worked in public service, politics or anything to do with government. Well, we can see how well that’s turning out.

I had to smile when I heard him say he didn’t know the job would be this hard. His other life was much easier. Big surprise! He reminded me of many people I’ve met over the years at book events. Oh, THEY could write and be an author. That’s great. Except either they never pursued it or if they had made an attempt they quickly found out…….it’s hard! It’s damn hard. Coming up with a coherent plot, fleshing out realistic characters, pacing your story and bringing it all to a satisfactory ending. And most of these people can criticize, they can be downright mean and snarky toward other authors and their novels and the whole time they are convinced (sometimes secretly) that THEY could do better. And yet…………they never do.

But there’s a huge difference between an author and being President of the United States. However, if the ego is strong enough, one doesn’t realize that. One thinks THEY can do the job. Not only do the job but do it better than anyone else had. 

And so…..100 days later, we’re seeing that’s not true. Far from it. He has accomplished nothing. Nothing of substance. And lets not forget the corruption and conflicts that are being investigated. April Doss, a former NSA Counsel, will join the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday to investigate Russia and our election. 

During that interview with three Reuters reporters the other night, in the middle of discussing an important topic trump pulls out three maps to give them. Maps of the United States with the electoral numbers from the election! Yeah, that election almost SIX months ago! He told them, “Here, you can take that. That’s the final map of the numbers.”

For me……….THAT says it all! It was never, ever about governing. About learning. Listening. Protecting this country and the people. About growing. About leaving this country a better place than when he took office. No. It was all about winning! 

And where his ego and his winning leaves this country will remain to be seen. 

See you here next time………………..

Grateful ~

2014

Millefeuille – A slice of my birthday cake from 60th birthday at La Rotonde in Paris

As I mentioned recently, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting since turning 70.  I’m not sure everyone does this, but I’m enjoying it.  A lot.  It makes me feel that yes, a page has been turned and I’ve started a new chapter.  And I like that.  I like evolving and learning and looking back and also looking forward. So recently I began thinking about being grateful.  No, I mean really, really grateful for the life I’ve been given, the life I built with my own choices and the life still in front of me. 

Although I think we’re grateful when we’re younger raising a family, pursuing jobs and a career, I don’t think we actually take the time to understand why we’re grateful. We just are.

But looking back I’m very grateful for the type of parents I had. They were strict with my discipline…..family meal time, getting homework done, regular bedtime, where I went and who I went with…… but they were also liberal in their thinking. They were always compassionate to those to who had less. They didn’t judge. They knew how to forgive.

They also had high hopes for their daughter. Their only child. So I can only imagine their disappointment when that daughter got pregnant her senior year in high school. Despite their sadness, they gave me choices. I could get married. Or I could continue to live with them and be a single mother and they would help me financially and emotionally. In today’s world this might not be so astounding. But in 1964 it wasn’t the norm. One particular classmate comes to mind…..the whispers circulated and suddenly she disappeared from high school. I found out she had been sent to a home for unwed mothers in Maine. She gave her baby up for adoption. How very sad. That was never an option that my parents forced on me. But many girls my age were faced with exactly this situation. I ended up choosing marriage….and that’s a whole other story because it did end in divorce. But looking back, I’m so very grateful that my parents never put me in the difficult position of parting with my child.

Another incident comes to mind where I learned that good people do the wrong thing for the right reasons. Above many lessons I learned from my parents, I think this one is the one that taught me to never judge. I was about 15, my mother had sent me to the small, local grocery for a few things. While I was in there, I heard a commotion in the next aisle and when I peaked around the corner I saw a customer being confronted by the owner and within minutes the Salem Police arrived. I asked another customer what had happened and she explained that he had been caught stealing a few jars of baby food and the owner called the police.  I saw him, a young fellow, taken away in handcuffs. I was shaken by the incident, raced home and told my parents what happened.  I still remember my dad being angry at the owner. He said there were other ways to handle the situation because someone who was stealing a few jars of baby food wasn’t a bad person. That stuck with me. Both the way the owner chose to handle it but more importantly, my father’s reaction. I’m very grateful for that.

I’m grateful that I grew up in a home where I was taught a love for animals, a love for books, and a love for others. I’m grateful for my heritage….Polish and French. It enabled me to learn my ethnic cultures with food, history and a sense of pride. 

Maybe I’m most grateful for when, precisely, I entered the world. Two years post WWII………a time of hope when the middle class was growing, jobs were becoming plentiful, infrastructure grew, a sense of family was important, neighbors knew and helped neighbors, and America was living up to the dream that so many aspired to.

And yes….all of this was a different time, a different place. However, now at age 70, I’m still grateful.  I’m so grateful that I got to be a part of all of it.

See you here next time…………

Binge Reading ~

I’ve been a reader since age 5.  I have always loved reading! Always.  And of course from age five until now, my reading tastes have varied.  I have loved many different authors, many different genres.  I enjoy a good mystery.  And also a fair amount of literary fiction. I have never liked sci-fi, horror or romance.  Since my late teens/early 20’s, women’s fiction became my favorite genre.  I approached adulthood reading Rona Jaffe, Barbara Taylor Bradford (A Woman of Substance STILL remains at the top of my favorite list!) Danielle Steele, Maeve Binchy, Belva Plain and many others.  My mother also read these authors and I’m sure I borrowed her books, but the reason I devoured them was because I could relate to them. I loved family sagas. (You seldom see those published today)  I loved reading about relationships, good times, bad times, friendships, family and always love.  Not a bodice ripping romance (And those were quite popular in the 60’s and 70’s, but I felt they had no substance, kinda like the reality shows on TV today) …..but a love story woven into the main plot. And……I have never lost my love for women’s fiction. So I guess when I decided to get serious about my own writing, it was the genre of women’s fiction that I chose.  

About 8 years ago, I discovered a novel by Elin Hilderbrand called Barefoot.  The setting was Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. That drew me in but when I read the synopsis, I knew this was my kind of book.  And it was.  I loved it! But the strange part is that instead of going in search of more books by this author, I never returned to her until about a month ago.  Many things might account for this. I did keep reading even when I was busy developing my own writing career, but I also tended to focus more on mysteries or literary fiction or non-fiction.  Purposely.  I didn’t want to be influenced by another writers style.  And as a result, over these 8 years Elin kept writing but I hadn’t read those novels.  I was browsing Amazon recently and saw The Rumor by her.  After reading the synopsis, I got the book.  And I was hooked. Big time! I loved it.  It reminded me of those novels I loved so much years ago.  A good plot.  A descriptive setting. But most important, great characters. Compelling characters. Characters I felt I knew and wanted to know better. And I have now gone on to read a few more.

I chose her debut novel, The Beach Club next. It was good. I liked it a lot for the same reasons. Although compared to her later ones, it was a bit weak in parts. However, there was a surprise ending and overall it was enjoyable.  Enjoyable enough to make me want to keep reading her.  Next I got The Love Season. However, I decided to get this one in audio version. This would allow me to knit and listen at the same time.  That was a mistake.  The story is great! But the narrator was beyond annoying.  She had a very exaggerated voice. Phony. And it truly distracted from the story. So I returned it (I’ve been borrowing them from the digital library) and I’ve now gotten the ebook version to finish it.

I just finished Beautiful Day and I have to say, so far this one is my all time favorite by her. The story takes place over one weekend with a wedding.  But with Hilderbrand’s skilled writing, the reader learns all the back story on the characters. It had an uplifting and satisfying ending and was everything I admire and enjoy in a novel.  I just got The Island, have only read the first chapter, but…..yes, I’m hooked already. 

So I’ve been doing some serious binge reading.  And I love getting lost in Hilderbrand’s stories.  I’m a member on Goodreads and about a month ago, I signed up to try and win an ARC. (Advanced Readers Copy)  This is a debut novel called The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas.  It will be released in September by MacMillan Publishers.  I was really excited to be chosen to read and review this book.  It’s over 500 pages.  I took a peek at the first chapter and oh, yes! I’m sure this will be a blockbuster novel! But I plan to finish the Hilderbrand ones I’m currently reading. And then……I can look forward to devouring this brand new novel.  I’ve thanked my mom a million times for passing on her love of reading to me.  And I still will never understand people who say they don’t read.  Such a sad loss……….

See you here next time…………

 

2 Weeks . . . And Counting ~

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After a year of planning, Alice and I leave two weeks from tomorrow for our birthday/best friend trip together! When I think back to last April when I came up with this idea and Alice and I began discussing it, I’m convinced even more just how quickly time seems to pass. All the more reason to truly enjoy these precious moments!

And so this got me thinking……I’ve been doing a lot of this since turning the magical age of 70. Thinking about what sustains a friendship. What is it that allows two women to meet at some point in their life and quite simply…..connect. I think it’s a combination of things. 

One thing that Alice and I share is a sense of place.  We were both raised in Salem, Massachusetts. We met in high school so we have a sense of teen age history together. We like a lot of the same things. But we’re also different on many of our likes.

I love seafood! (But only seafood from the cold Atlantic!) Alice never eats any seafood, no matter WHERE it’s from. We both enjoy wine. But I like a dry wine. A Cabernet or Pinot Grigio. Alice prefers a Riesling. However, we both love champagne! And we do both enjoy our coffee the same way…..no sugar or sweetener, just some half and half.  We both love Paris and claim the City of Light as our favorite in the world. We are both avid knitters. (Although she IS the expert knitter and my go-to guru when I have a problem) We both enjoy reading. A lot. However, although we do enjoy a lot of the same novels, we also differ on a fair amount. 

Something else that sustains a friendship is just being there.  Alice has been there for me when I lost my mom, my dad, my aunt and during the sad and difficult period when I lost my son. She was there when many of my cats and dogs passed over to the Rainbow Bridge. She was always a phone call, an email or a text away. Always. 

And she was there to have fun with, to visit with, to travel with. She was the first phone call when I FINALLY got a book contract with a NY publisher. She was the one I chose and wanted there when I began to travel for book events, conferences, and signings.  We traveled to Dallas for my first Romance Writers Conference when I attended that career-changing session with Kensington.  And when we traveled to Cleveland for a writers conference. And again when I had been invited to the Spokane area for a week of book events.  And it was Alice I wanted to be with me in Atlanta for the Stitches knitting convention. 

And every single one of these travels forged wonderful memories. Alice is a joy to travel with. (Not everyone is!)  She’s easy.  Comfortable.  We laugh.  A lot. We sip wine and catch up.  We laugh some more.  We explore new areas, new things, and we form more memories.

And from the moment she picks me up at Logan Airport two weeks from tomorrow and we drive to Lenox, Mass. in the Berkshires……that’s exactly what we’ll be doing.  Again.  Enjoying the moments together.  Building more memories on this journey we call life.

See you here next time…………

Successful Women ~

What defines a successful woman?  I’ve always had my own thoughts on this and I’d have to say, they haven’t changed all that much over the years.  I think at age 70 I define successful women much the same as I did at age 30.

But I admit I may not have tagged them with that title back then.  I simply admired them. I looked up to them. And yes, maybe in some cases I hoped to be like them.  And as I reflect back from this point in my life, I think I surprised myself when I came to understand that the first women in my life that I admired were my mother and her sister, my Aunt Marie.  In all honesty, I’m not sure I ever gave this much thought until recently.

My mother only completed 8th grade and wasn’t an academic, but she was a very intelligent woman. In so many ways. She read a lot. She loved learning new things.  And at age 16, she left the family farm in NH to join her sister, Marie, in Salem, Mass.  Marie was 18 and determined to do something with her life. She waited tables in the private dining room for doctors at Salem Hospital to earn money and this money is what paid her tuition to attend Wilfred’s Beauty Academy in Boston to become a cosmetologist. My mother arrived in Salem and shared a room with her sister at a lovely boarding house in South Salem, run by a delightful French woman. (I grew up hearing these stories) My mom had worked at the Navy Yard in Portsmouth, NH and now had a job at Sylvania in Salem. Within two years, she would meet my father, have me and settle in Salem permanently.  So why do I consider her successful? Because first and foremost……….she took a risk.  Leaving her home town, relocating to a new area, marrying at age 18 to a man she’d only known 3 months. (I still marvel at that! And that marriage lasted till my dad passed away 57 years later) She was successful because she never, not once, spoiled her only child. Instead she taught that child the value of not always getting what you want when you want it. She taught that daughter that although she was never able to complete her own education, education was vitally important! She was successful because she shared her love of reading with that child and told her that if you have a good book…..you’ll never be alone. She was successful in so many other ways and I treasure all of them.

My aunt was successful in a similar way. She also married but was unable to have children. But she opened her own beauty salon in Salem, she traveled the world, like my mother she was an expert knitter, and also like my mother she was a giver. She gave because it was something she simply enjoyed doing. 

So no, these two women didn’t solve a medical cure, or start up a Fortune 500 business, or become a celebrity……….but in their own right? They were successful. 

And yes, I also consider many other women successful…….like Princess Diana, Jackie Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Meryl Streep and the list goes on. But what do all of these women have in common? Including my mother and my aunt? They have confidence. They speak up when a wrong is being done. They protect the underdog. They’re authentic. 

With all of this said, I also believe it’s a fine line between successful and control freak. (Think:  The Devil Wears Prada) Unfortunately, I feel many times the two blur together but when they don’t? It leads to success.

I heard a quote recently which ties in with my post title: Girls compete with each other…………Women empower each other! And THAT, to me, is the epitome of a truly successful woman. 

See you here next time……………

Bee Gees ~

This past Sunday evening I was scrolling through TV channels and saw that a tribute to the Bee Gees was airing on CBS.  It was called “Staying Alive” and I didn’t know it was going to be on.  Since I was a huge Bee Gees fan in the early 70’s, I decided to watch. And I’m so glad I did!  Their music instantly transported me back to another time, another place.

In 1972 I was age 25, I was divorced, had 3 young children and I was enrolled in my first semester of college. I had been a high school drop out in my senior year of high school to get married. But with 3 kids to raise on my own, I knew education was the key. So I obtained my GED and got accepted into college.

It was a time when women were really coming into their own. Becoming independent and coming to realize that depending on a man had been a myth.  We were becoming empowered to grow and form our own life. We were encouraged to take risks, speak up, develop confidence and eventually become the person we were meant to be.

It was a time of passion with politics and current events. The war in Vietnam was finally coming to an end, women were attempting to make strides with equality, social mores were changing and it was an exhilarating time to be a twenty-five year old.  Much of the music of the day resonated with the changes taking place.

I loved the early songs of the Bee Gees.  How could I not love Massachusetts! A song with my native state as the title! And having just gone through a divorce, How Do You Mend a Broken Heart certainly resonated with me. And To Love Somebody gave me hope for the future. Words was another ballad that touched my soul.  Jive Talkin’ perked me up and made me feel good. 

I heard these tunes on the car radio as I drove to college for my classes. I heard them in the evening after I put my kids to bed. I’d settle down at the kitchen table, turn on the radio on top of the fridge and dig in for a few hours of study. It was the Bee Gees who helped me through all of it.

Watching their special Sunday evening made me think about the circle of life. I was sad that Barry Gibb is the only remaining brother. The other three were gone too soon. But that is the circle of life. We have the ups, the downs, the joys and the sorrows. And the music from one era can instantly bring it all back in a flash. Both the good and the bad.

It restores the memories. It makes us realize that time does indeed march on. At a very fast clip. But I feel fortunate. I feel its been an incredible journey! It brought me to where I am right now and I’m happy.  But every now and again……..its nice to step back and realize where I came from. So thanks Bee Gees for recently allowing me to do that!

See you here next time………………

Tax March~

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Like so many across the country, my friend Sherry and I joined our local Indivisible group this past Saturday to march and protest for Trump to show his tax returns.  We had an excellent turn out and the weather was perfect.

Did it work? Well, he still hasn’t shown his tax returns. And based on what they probably contain, he probably won’t.  However, I’d say we touched a nerve. He tweeted an accusation that the protesters were paid. Yeah, right. Well, I’m not waiting for that check to arrive any time soon.

Is it worth it to protest and march? I’d say, yes, it is. For me.  It makes me feel like I’m DOING something.  I’m making my voice heard and as a citizen of this country and a voter, that is my right. We had a victory with the repeal of health care based on contacting our Reps and Senators. So I’ve always felt its small steps forward. But none of it is futile. 

So whatever I protest, yes, I do it for me. But I also do it for those who can’t. For those who feel as I do but for whatever reasons, they can’t physically join us. 

I will continue to call and fax my Rep and Senator, I will continue to march and protest, I will continue to stand up and speak out.

Because we never know………maybe it WILL have an impact.

See you here next time…………….

Friendship vs Acquaintance

I had an incident occur recently that has made me ponder the difference between a friend and an acquaintance.  Now at age 70, I have evolved over the years and feel differently about the two relationships than I did in grade school.  Actually, I seriously doubt that until about age 40 I gave much thought to the distinction between the two. But I have grown to feel there is a big distinction.

In grade school I wanted almost everyone to be my friend. I wanted to be liked. Maybe that’s natural. So probably like most other young kids I accepted, and most likely gave back, some not very nice behavior. But we squabbled, made up, fought again, etc. By the time I reached high school, I began to understand and welcome the true meaning of friendship………someone you simply connect with in some way, someone you grow closer to, laugh, cry, and most important, build a history with.

And my scope of friends grew. Depending on my likes, interests, etc. So by the time I reached age 40, I could look back and see that one of those childhood friendships still endured. I met Mary Ann in second grade. We lived in Ohio at that time and I was devastated to have to leave my best friend at age 13 to move back to the Boston area. But…….we stayed connected. We wrote letters via snail mail. All through high school, through marriage, births of children, divorce, new careers, etc. And now over 60 years later, we’re still friends. No, we’re not in touch all the time. But once you’ve built a history with somebody, that doesn’t matter. 

And by age 50 or so I found that instead of increasing friendships, I was doing the opposite. Sometimes nothing significant happened.  We just drifted apart for various reasons.  And that’s okay. It’s part of life. But I was also coming to see that “I” had changed! I became much more choosy WHO I called “friend.” I began to understand the difference between “friend” and “acquaintance.” I also began to see that some people might initially start off as a friend but they’re only meant to briefly cross your path.  Something is lacking. That true connection, that closeness. It’s missing. I’ve also felt that friendship is most definitely a two-way street. It cannot be one-sided. It must be nurtured if it is to not only grow, but to endure.

About 15 years ago I reconnected with a high school friend, Alice. We weren’t all that close or chummy in high school. But we knew each other, we shared mutual friends, knew the same people, had a sense of place and history together. That was the seed. If the seed grew or not was up to us. Despite almost 1,200 miles difference, we initially worked at our friendship………we emailed, we called each other, we made plans to visit, to stay in touch, to give updates on our lives. We also shared our love for knitting, for books and that very special teen age high school history. Sometimes we go a few days without being in touch. Some days we’re in touch throughout the day with texts, phone calls, Facebook, etc. Which proves once a friendship reaches a certain level, it just IS. Nothing is forced. It’s authentic. And it’s highly valued. 

And I recently made a new friend who lives locally. Sherry and I were brought together by our mutual passion for this past election. This was the stimulus for the beginning of a friendship.  This shared interest. But it didn’t take long before I realized we had a lot more in common. A shared love for social events…..the beach, movies, metaphysical, travel, etc. So while our friendship is still in the formative stages, it feels right.  And hopefully, it will grow and endure.

Many of us consider people we’ve never even met in person our friends. Like on Facebook. I absolutely feel this possible. However, and THIS is the point of my entire post here………..the reason I feel this is possible is because these friends allow you to get to “know” them via the medium of social media. They posts photos and commentary of their children, grandchildren, dogs, cats, craft projects, travels, etc. etc. And they visit your page and get to know you in the very same way and through the comment section, a dialogue transpires.  In other words…..despite a very different way of making new friends from grade school, this DOES work! You make this connection, this shared interest, something that brings you to like this person. To WANT to get to know them better. 

And THAT, to me, is the key. The difference between a “friend” and an “acquaintance.” According to my trusty Webster, a friend is: Known by oneself and for whom one has regard or affection. The word is frequently used of very close or deep associations. And it goes on to say: One’s feelings for an acquaintance are less warm than for a friend and have more of courtesy than of affection.

That sounds right to me. And I’ll take it a step further by saying, I also firmly believe there are different levels of friendship. I have a few, very few, what I consider best friends. And although they’re dwindling through my own choice, I still maintain a fair amount of regular friends. Who I enjoy being with. Who I enjoy sharing things with. Who I enjoy hearing what’s going on in their life.  Who I would definitely miss if they weren’t in my life. They might not be what I consider best friends, but they are very important to me. And I love them dearly.

Maybe it’s because I’m an only child, but friends have always been important to me. I value how they enrich my life. Make it better. Make me think. Make me laugh. How they share their life with me and let me be a part of theirs. All of that, to me, is what a friend is all about.

So yes, at age 70, I’ve come to define a friend much differently than I do an acquaintance. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just my thoughts………….

See you here next time………..

 

 

Continuing the Celebration of 70 ~

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My BFF, Alice, turned 70 this past October and as you know, my milestone birthday was two weeks ago. So last April we decided to take a trip together….girlfriend time…to celebrate this special birthday.  We wanted to go to Europe.  So we tossed around various places and ideas…..Paris (OF course! Our favorite place!) Prague, Germany, Italy, etc.  And we finally decided on Florence, Italy. Although I’d been to Milan, Venice and Tuscany, I had never spent time in Florence to visit the museums, etc. Birthplace of the Renaissance. Sounded perfect! We sent a deposit to rent a lovely penthouse two bedroom, two bath apartment for early May, right in Florence and an easy walk everywhere. Sounded great, right? HOWever….there was one caveat on my part. IF trump won the election, I wanted to cancel. So Alice agreed we’d wait until November 9 to actually book the flight.

And…..the rest is history because we all know what happened on that morning of November 9! And my reasoning for wanting to cancel? I strongly felt that if trump was in that White House, I absolutely did NOT feel safe flying an International flight. Nor, did I want to be IN a foreign country with him in that White House. Call me silly. Call me foolish. But no, it had nothing to do with “sour grapes” and everything to do with my own sense of safety and security. As many of you know, I’ve traveled around the world and never felt unsafe being in a foreign country due to who our President was. But yes, I do now.

And so……..After I got over my anger, my profound sadness, my grieving and uncertainty for the future of our country, I picked up the phone, called Alice and said, “Girlfriend, lets regroup and plan a trip domestic.” Which is exactly what we did. Again, we tossed around various places in this country……..and we decided on the Berkshires in the western part of Massachusetts. The village of Lenox, to be precise.  I had visited this area at age 14 with my parents and I never forgot it! To me, it was the quintessential New England villages and towns. White steeples on churches, historic old homes, beautiful countryside and picturesque little towns. Alice agreed…………lets explore it together at age 70!

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And so we’ve booked the Cornell Inn in Lenox. A historic inn in the downtown area where we can walk to restaurants, coffee shops, a delightful yarn shop (Colorful Stitches) AND a short drive to visit the Norman Rockwell Museum and yes, WEBS. (If you’re a knitter, you’ve probably purchased yarn from them online) They’re located in Northhampton and we’re really looking forward to actually visiting their large shop in person. We’re looking forward to chilling out, lots of laughing, good food, great wine and most of all……..making special memories together.

I’m booked to fly to Boston on Monday, May 8, arriving at 3 pm.  Alice will pick me up at Logan and we’ll drive 3 hours west to Lenox.  We’re booked for four nights at the Inn and I fly back to Florida on Friday. We booked the Truman Suite in the Carriage House. The Harry and Bess rooms, which are connecting and look beautiful.

All of the original planning began about a year ago……….and now I leave 5 weeks from today.  We jokingly refer to each other as Lucy and Ethel…….and yes, I’m Lucy, because “Ethel” always keeps me straight.  And who knows…..we could end up in a chocolate factory. Or maybe even a winery stomping grapes.  But no matter what we do…..I know we’ll build a lot of memories. 

I’ll be sharing updates of our trip on my personal page on Facebook. And I’ll share photos and commentary here after I return.

See you here next time………….