An Unfortunate Number of Lawn Ornaments
In our search to downsize, we looked at townhouses, small houses, and apartments, but nothing seemed quite right. We eventually decided on a home all on one level in a 55+ co-op on the other side of town. We noticed immediately when we first looked in it that there was more light there than the other places, even though the sun was going down at the time. We have become even more convinced of the importance of this as the year has gone on. All on one level is nice – we are used to the phrase “age in place” by now. Having less lawn and driveway to tend to is good as well. The place is friendly and after seven months we know our neighbors here better than those in our old neighborhood after thirty-three years. It’s a bit like being at summer camp all year. But light in the house has turned out to be of enormous importance. Take note. However, there are an unfortunate number of lawn ornaments in the neighborhood.
Fording the Mighty Connecticut River
We were able to travel a little, remaining in NH and driving deep into the less-populated, and less-infected northern parts of the state and staying at a lakeside cabin in Pittsburg. We took our time, stopping at every covered bridge and historical marker on the way up and back, eating at charming little family places that did not have especially good food. Liver and onions is still on menus up there and David almost sprang for it. We took a good look at intervales and notches and bought local postcards to send to the grandchildren. We weren’t allowed to cross into Quebec but were close enough that Tracy’s phone gave her a sudden “Welcome to Canada” notice. We had heard years ago that the Connecticut River that far up is narrow enough to step over, which is almost true. We did get to a spot between the Second and Third Connecticut Lakes where David could leap from stone to stone and Tracy could wade across, about four hundred miles upriver from New Haven.
Don’t say that! “Retired” is so much older than “semi-retired.”
I (David) retired abruptly one Monday morning after reluctantly concluding that close air-sharing issues were not going to be resolvable in my department. After forty-two years at New Hampshire Hospital you’d think it would be more of a wrench. Nope. Still a little boring. I have added another volunteer gig and am looking for more. Thus far they all involve physical labor, including being one of the trash guys (remember trash guys?) at the co-op. For her part, Tracy is never happier than when driving around for some contest. She wins artwork and t-shirts. She won a year’s supply of organic free range eggs. But mostly, she gets the honor of having won. Update: She just won again. $600+ worth of prizes
We’ve Had a Lot of Zoom Calls
Everyone has a CoVid story, so we won’t tell you ours, because it has not been as difficult as many have experienced. As we made more of an effort, we had more online meetings with all family together – ten time zones from Norway to Alaska - than we likely would have otherwise, so that has been good.
Bella Aria Wyman was born to John-Adrian and Jocie in Nome in January, our fifth granddaughter after having had five sons. Tracy is getting very impatient about getting to hold this baby and seeing Aurora and Quinn after a year. We do get to see Emily and Sarah in town and even read to them, for which we are not often enough grateful.
Also on the impatience list is getting to meet Jen, Ben’s girlfriend down in Houston. She is a children’s librarian who drinks tea and carries around multiple and various types of water, so she seems very promising for us as one who will fit in nicely. She even joined the family fantasy football league this year, though I can’t say she is enjoying the experience. David got to meet Jen in January, when he was down help Ben fix things around the house, and even make a guest appearance on his podcast. Chris’s girlfriend Maria finished her degree in Norway this year and works with teens who are going astray. David has told her this is a terrible idea, but she likes it, and it’s too late now anyway. Kyle finished up his six years in the Army reserve and has a serious girlfriend Amy from his unit to show for it. Works for us.
We Have Done All the Ancestry Work We Are Going to Do
We inherited all the genealogical info from both families and added to it beginning in the 1970s. Our interest waned over the years and disappeared altogether when we adopted sons who were not biologically related but were much closer to our lives than the names on documents in a big box. The internet has made research ten times easier and fortunately cousins on both sides started putting in labors of their own, so we picked things up again a few years ago, in order to put all our records and knowledge out there for others. Our DNA is exactly as expected, and most family legends turned out to be partly true. We did learn a few disquieting things and would remind people to be careful what you wish for. Eventually, we pushed as many lines back across the Atlantic as we could and did not pursue most of them any further. We assembled a family museum for a weekend while Ben was home, displaying old photos, letters, and newspaper clippings. There were a few treasures, such as David’s great-great grandfather’s Seaman’s Book in Swedish and his great-grandfather’s inscribed wedding ring from 1894. The granddaughters were barely interested in any of this, being much more interested in pictures of Tracy at her dance recital in 1960 and the like. We let our online ancestry membership expire and put all the culled and organized records in boxes. We are done.