< Seventies Journal: 2006
The Seventies Journal ends the middle of 2006. I am showing below the final passage, which indeed remarks – prophetically – that it may be the last entry. – Paul
SEPTEMBER 1, 2006
September rolls over, and on the 17th I’ll have my 80th birthday. Perhaps it will be my last entry for the closing of my "Ten Year Journal" begun on September 2, 1996. This tenth year has been a hard year, with random entries, sometimes written not too clearly. Mostly that was because of my knee surgery on October 8, when I didn't feel well much of the time, and didn't think very well after that anesthetic. Now, almost a full year later I’m getting better and better with my physical condition, but my memories still slip and slide.
My last entry was July 23, more than a month ago. One of my problems in the last weeks has been a mixed up computer problem, with margins that are off the page, confusing my sense of what I am writing. even more than usual. Barbara came over and helped me get that partly right, but still with lopsided right and left margins. Finally I began a complete new section, and will see if I can get the paging right.
On the whole my social life has dwindled these last months, nor do I have the records and memory from that much of the time. I know that Barbara has been in my life many times through those days, with dinners, impromptu visits, and a couple of well-planned excursions. She often comes walking up the driveway with Midnight, and we sit down for a good talk, sometimes in the back yard. She has been trying to find a teaching job, but so far hasn't succeed, and we have talked a lot about that. Sometimes I go walking in her back yard with her, looking at all the planting she has done in her gardens and the and in the wilder back yard behind their house. We walk in my yard sometimes, but not often or too thoroughly. She usually finds a few weeds to pluck I am often invited to their house for supper on the spur of the moment. She is such a good cook with great vegetables and grilled salmon or chicken. We don't linger over meals though, because they eat so fast and I go more slowly. I’d rather enjoy the food and talk more.
We had two bigger excursions though. On July 28 we flew to Boston together, her to go to a family wedding and I to go see Paul. We got to Boston about five o'clock, and Paul picked us up there to drive us home. Soon after we started it began to rain, and then began to just pour down. Paul, with Barbara in the front seat beside him to help with directions, drove on that four-lane road with his usual skill, in practically black dark and the other cars just inches away. We got to Barbara's sister Debra’s house, where we she had supper all ready for us. After the meal and a visit, Paul and I went home to his house, where we talked a while then went to bed soon because we were both tired.
For the next three days Paul and I has such a warm visit together. We had decided that we didn't want to go on a lot of excursions, but just be together and enjoy each other. The first day we spent around his house, talking and seeing his house and yard, and then getting groceries. We spent some time looking at the metal art he was working on, a new venture for him, continuing the visit we had at Christmas time in our adventure for materials in Burlington. He has some beautiful pieces of shining metals, with abstract designs. Such talent he has, in so many things.
His meals were his usual gems, with sword fish the first night and chicken breasts the second, and lots of good vegetables and salads. Paul's cooking is simple but always with a flair that has that added touch. Ipswich was having its annual Ipswich Days celebration, so on Sunday we wandered around seeing some of the sights, and having a lunch downtown at the same restaurant we had in another year. We walked around seeing the downtown and the Ipswich river, then drove around the east of town where I had never been before, and bought a lovely flower to give to Debra for her dinner.
On Monday Paul wanted to take care of a couple outdoor plants and I was delighted to try to help. His big monsterosa plant had been blown over by the wind, and broke its pot. He and I pulled it out of the pot and he pruned the roots well and we wrestled it into the new one. Surprisingly it was hardly damaged at all, and the next day it had recovered beautifully, looking better than ever. Then we worked on a long flower vine that had climbed up a back comer of the house, but then had fallen with its wooden prop. After a vigorous trim we tied it back up. It was considerably smaller, but we think that it will grow back just fine. I felt happy to work together with Paul, not that I did all that much, but it was one of his many projects, and I got to participate in his efficient work that is a sample of all he does around his house on his weekends.
Dana and Barbara came on Monday afternoon to see Paul's house and yard, which they raved over. Then Dana drove us back to the airport. We had a considerable wait for our scheduled plane, which we partly filled with a big dinner, with a shrimp dish that Barbara wanted to try – so I tried it too. It was o.k., but not worth the cost, and I gave her the rest of my shrimp. When we finally got to Milwaukee it was 10:30, and after a long walk we got back to the car and then home, tired as could be. My time with Paul was so special, and as he pointed out a more relaxed time for both of us after all the trials of my knee surgery.
Ron Rotowski has been having a hard time recently. Not only has he had more complaints about his life as a caregiver for his children, but he becomes more and more discouraged that he can't find a job. This has gone on for quite a long time, and now his aging mother had a fall and has been in the hospital of other medical rehab units. She is so depressed, and wants to get out of the hospital so go home, so she cries and pleads with the doctors and Ron. For some time he and I have been talking about my coming to Chicago with Barbara and for us to go to the Art Museum. Finally we made a date for August 17th, and Barbara and I went down at 8:00 on the train. That is always a nice ride, and especially when you have someone to talk with. When we got there I was tired of sitting, and suggested that we walk to the museum, about fourteen blocks, so we did. That was quite a feat for my new knee, but it went fine, and we found Ron waiting in front of the museum.
It wasn't open, so we went across to the restaurant and had a morning drink and bagel. Right away I could tell that Barbara and Ron were going to enjoy each other, which they did all the time we were together. We started at the Impressionists and spent a long time there. I haven't been there for quite a while, and the art had been arranged, with the same artists mostly together instead of the random way the pictures used to be. I really enjoyed it more, with the pictures arranged like that. After about three hours we stopped and went across the street to a restaurant for lunch, and talked another hour, then went back to see the Modem art, go to the museum where Ron and I got 2007 calendars. We were both struck by Dufy's Post-impressionist Fauve style, with its bright and spontaneous freshness. I was pleased that my little scheme to get Ron a little cheered up, and glad that he and Barbara has such a good time together, as did I.