Seventies Journal: 1996   >


December 31, 1996

Bob is home from the hospital, Paul has come and gone back to Boston, and now our quiet routines are back in place here at home. Took Paul to the airport on Sunday, and as always got a little choked up when I said good-bye, knowing I probably wouldn't see him again until next Christmas. But I know he is happy in his job there at Massachusetts General Hospital. He told me in detail about his work routines one afternoon as I fiddled with the jigsaw puzzle, so now I can imagine him going about his job and home environments. Now, too, he is winding up his final year at Harvard, so he is looking forward to more leisure time — and perhaps a move to the suburbs, he thinks.

When Paul arrived I picked him up at the airport about 9:00 p.m. When I first anticipated getting him at the airport I wondered how it would work out for me to drive to the airport, since I have done very little driving in the dark lately. But I had plenty of practice going back and forth to see Bob in the hospital in the evenings, so it all worked out fine. I even got to the airport early, and had a Snickers Bar to celebrate. My eating habits have deteriorated since Bob has been in the hospital, and I've lost two or three pounds. But now I'll have some leeway to eat more at Christmas!

Paul and I brought Bob home on Sunday around noon. Bob was set to go when we walked in his hospital room, all dressed and sitting in a chair waiting for us to spring him. He looked pale and anxious, and we picked up yet one more prescription on the way home. But he has recovered remarkably well, I think, considering the extent of the surgery and his age. He turned 75 on Christmas Day.

On Christmas Day I went to Mass by myself, then we opened our multitude of presents. I was delighted with my Mozart book, and a music book from Bob, a classy green chenille hat and white sweater from Bob (ordered from Orvis), three CDs from Paul, plus a Japanese art calendar, and a Chagall jigsaw puzzle. I surprised Paul with a book by Tovey on the Beethoven Sonatas, which I had ordered from a New York book-search company. I was also pleased that he liked his new Camel Hair sport jacket so well, and that it fit him perfectly. Bob had his usual plethora of books, plus a portable phone. There were many other gifts too, including a red cardigan sweater which I bought for myself from Esther.

Our Christmas week was wonderful, with the sorts of activities we always do when Paul is here. He and I listened to the discs he brought me--two contemporary discs by Mahler (The 9th Symphony), and by Bartok, and five of Beethoven's piano sonatas. We also put together a puzzle, a Circus puzzle by Tissot, and most of the Chagall puzzle. One day he and I went for a long walk east of Lake Drive. Of course we talked and talked. And we ate, but I had to be careful to fix things that Bob could eat. So much of the time I had two or even three meals going!! So much for my cooking skills. I enjoy it somewhat more when I can expand my menus a little — but still, there must be 1002 things I enjoy more than cooking of any kind.

This is the last day of the year. Let me think of the major happenings or themes:

1) My trip to Philadelphia this summer, including the Cezanne Show and the Barnes Museum, and being with Peter and Cherin;

2) Bob's gradually declining health, and our many trips to a variety of doctors;

3) My beautiful gardens this summer, and all the major pruning I did, especially of the hated Buckthorn;

4) My volunteer work — teaching the art lessons at St. Francis, and working with primary grades at St. Rose's during the first part of the year, and working with Bev Myeroff and upper-grade kids in writing in the last part of the year;

5) Many nice lunches with Bob, including our 50th anniversary at Main Street Cafe in Hartford, and others at The Fish Shanty in Port Washington, Bakers's Square, Heinemann's, The North Shore Bistro, The Art Museum cafeteria, and so on;

6) Outings with Nancy, Joan Whipp, and Jeanne, including seeing Jeanne's grandson Alec. I especially enjoy renewing my friendship with Jeanne; she is such a joy to be around ... sort of like my dear Bess. You always feel good after being with them;

7) Music played a big part in our lives this year. Early in the year I began "studying'' music, and in the summer I got the CD player, and began listening to classical selections. Then in late fall we got our new digital piano. Both give us great pleasure;

8) This year I haven't taken art classes, but instead have worked by myself, a painting completed about every six weeks. They are mostly flowers, in the impressionist style, but each time I try some new technique;

9) Many phone calls back and forth from Paul, Peter, Janice, Jerry, and Bob's family;

10) Esther's visit at Thanksgiving, and our phone calls and letters. She is sometimes irritating, but a long-time good friend. Had a call from her today, expressing her concern about Bob;

11) Our ongoing anxiety about Peter's relationship with Cherin, and the lack of contact with Peter in the early part of the year, which has changed dramatically since he moved to his own apartment, and calls often;

12) My continued good health, especially my almost complete recovery from the arthritic knee of last fall, and my continuing to keep slim with my healthy carbohydrate arid vegetable/fruit diet (around 127-132 pounds);

13) A new priest at St. Eugene's that we finally like—Father Ken Knippel. He is reverent, and sticks to one point in the sermon. The music has improved but still …

14) Finally, but certainly not least, Bob's and my life together, all the things we do and talk about, and the pleasure we get from each other's company. I always know that he loves me, and I love him. The little glitches are few and short-lived. Our books, music, and art help fill out our satisfying daily life. I couldn't wish for more in 1997.

But — maybe I'll make some new year's resolutions. We'll see.