To Massachusetts and Home Again

Eileen, Dad and Mary

Eileen, Dad and Mary

Class of 65...the "ins" and the "outs"!

Class of 65…the “ins” and the “outs”!

As I said in the last blog, I was going to the Golden Jubilee celebration for the six women in my entrance class (God only knows why we called it our “party”…it was NOT a party)  Oh my, I just loved every single minute of the day.  Some of us have stayed in touch over the years but there were so many people I hadn’t seen since they left the convent (back in the late sixties and early seventies) and since I left in 1974.  I saw high school teachers and sisters I worked with in different schools in the diocese…old friends from Pittsfield who were still “in”…a dear, dear friend (Natalie) who I’ve known since we went to summer camp way back when I was in fifth grade.  We ALL looked a lot older (duh) and most of us had had challenges in our lives….health challenges, divorces, deaths of spouses, the death of  a child…It was so very good to have time to sit and share and listen and laugh and learn from these amazing women.  I found myself almost in tears all day.

Smiley (Ceil) was there.

“How are you feeling?” says I.

“I’m having a lot of trouble breathing today, ” she admits. (She has congestive heart failure and seemed pretty fragile) “But otherwise, I’m fine.”

“How about the arthritis? I ask.   “Hows’ the pain?”

“Oh, yeah,” she says. “That too.  I forgot.”

Forgot about pain???  Who IS this woman???   93 years old, in a wheelchair when she goes out and she still makes supper every night.

What can I say?  Part of the trip nearly drained every bit of energy out of me.  My poor mom is in rough shape.  Also 93 but confused and frightened and angry and frustrated.  My sister, Eileen and I saw her almost every day we were in town and she never remembered from one day to the other that we had been there the day before.  That part was hard. And I know this…I do not want to end my days this way.  Will I have a choice?  Do any of us?  Lord, it’s scary to think of becoming really, really, really old (as opposed to just “old”)  Scary?  Nope, it’s terrifying!  (Just breathe, Mary, just breathe)

But my dad and stepmom were such fun.  We went to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge (that place never gets old) and besides the great Rockwell paintings, Eileen and I collapsed laughing over the Roz Chast exhibit.  That is one very funny lady.   And Eileen’s grandchildren were down for the weekend from Vermont..two sweet little ones that we need to get together with my Texans.  And I got together with friends several different evenings…amazing how I could head out to meet them feeling totally exhausted and be complete rejuvenated after a few minutes of talking and laughing and a glass of wine.  And the siblings got together…had a lot of laughs.  We are a crazy crew.

So now I’m home but on Thursday, Jerry and I are off again…this time to Texas to babysit for the Littles while their mom and dad go to a wedding in New England and have a quick trip to NYC.  Can’t wait.  I’m reading stories to each of their classes (kindergarten, second and fourth) and doing a mini-lesson in fourth on writing a personal narrative (I think I know how to do that)  The biggest challenge will be making sure the kids get to soccer and baseball practices and games, swim team practice, piano lessons and CCD –oh and to school with everything they need.   It’s a bit (a bit??) intimidating but hey, we’ll give it our best shot.  How hard can it be?  Erin does it every day.  Just give me the schedule and a GPS (and pray the kids can roll with it if we make a few mistakes) and we’ll be fine.  (I’ll let you know how it goes!)

Annette with her great-grandchild picking smelly stuff (rosemary) in the garden

Annette with her great-grandchild picking smelly stuff (rosemary) in the garden



8 thoughts on “To Massachusetts and Home Again

  1. Miss you! You’re so right about aging! We are kinder to dogs than each other.

  2. Rest up tomorrow….u r going to need it! See u when u get back.

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Deirdre Christman

    So glad to finally get this blog! I was worried when you didn’t write. Seems like your trip had tremendous highs and lows, just like your life, and if anyone can make those transitions gracefully, you can. (I know you’ll disagree, but if there’s such a thing as grace, you have it.) Don’t worry about getting old and senile. I have a pillow all ready …

  4. Fun to see the women in the picture of our “party” after so many years. But I have no idea who two of them are! Who are the two women standing to the (picture) left of Marie? You look wonderful!

  5. Sounds like you had a marvelous time in Mass. Always great to see “old” friends! So nice to see family too. I’m sure you’ll have a fun time with your grandkids. Wil probably exhaust you but it will be a wonderful tired! Miss you at turtles….got 113 from 2 nests to the water today!🐢 have a safe flight my friend

  6. I love how you love life. I think the new buzzword for being in touch with life’s moments is “mindful.” You do that quite naturally. I just think we have to let go of the fears of aging and stay closer to the present because we don’t know. You may inherit your dad’s clarity and longevity. So continue your life journey knowing you have many more mindful moments to share.

  7. Mary, so glad you got to see your mom, dad, step-mom and classmates at the convent.Then off to Texas. WOW, you sure get around, but that’s great.Your vacation sounded awesome. “OLD”; no we aren’t getting old, just “more mature” as I tell everyone. I cannot believe I am 76. It’s even hard to say. Sure arthritis along with spurs has set in along with bad knees, but I keep pushing and running.

    Len and I are still working, so this part is not fun anymore.

    So, enjoy every minute travelling and being with your children and grandchildren.

    Do you remember our grandson Zach when I use to bring him to Center a few times. He had beautiful ringlets and big blue eyes. Well, his hair is dark brown now and still quite curly. He is 19 and at the University of Miami studying Bio Medical Engineering. Such a wonderful young man.

    Our very best to you and Jerry, Carole King Cohen

  8. Mary, you’ve been so busy….and all this following that wonderful traveling that you and Jerry did!
    You are full of life and full of love; keep on truckin’!!!

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