One of the things I worried about when I retired was whether I would be able to maintain a structured life, or if I would dissolve into a life of confusion. Jobs provide us with structure which may chafe while we are doing it, but might miss like crazy when its gone.
Some people might miss it. I didn’t, and don’t, but I did like the structure a job gave my life.
Structure is important to me, because my younger life was so random and turbulent. A structured life with boundaries is probably a comfort zone but I like it. I suspect most of us do (so fie on all those gurus who say you need to get out of your comfort zone). Mostly, I look for ways to stay in my comfort zone. This means living in a household with many animals, my garden, and a husband who is a lot like me…maybe.
Later this month (I can never remember the exact date) we will celebrate 30 years of marriage. Obviously we must have found something in common.
The next big decision I must make is should we go out for dinner, and if so where (I hate leaving my house). If I decide this is what I want to do (he usually defers to me and my neurosis) I will probably choose the Serbian Crown which sits next to an old grist mill in Fairfax County. We have celebrated a couple of anniversaries there. David likes the atmosphere because it reminds him of life in Russia in the 1930s when he lived there. While you eat dinner, musicians stroll around and play balalaikas. David’s mother had her own balalaika. If you saw the film Dr. Zhivago, you have heard the balalaika.
David also loves Russian composers. He says since I retired he never listens to them anymore, but I know when I am out of the house he does. “You’re never out of the house without me,” he says. I am not a big fan of the Russian composers, but I do like Smetana who was Moldovan I think. David hates the way I listen to this music on my PC. You need loud speakers that blast your ears off, he thinks. I’m a fan of chamber music particularly Mozart, Scarlatti, and Chopin to mix a few centuries. The fewer the instruments, the better. I don’t like orchestration, and I dislike brass and percussion instruments. David loves them.
My dislike of brass probably stems from my mother’s botched attempt to get me to play the French Horn, which she played in her high school marching band. I can’t think of anything more painful. Well, except for a trip to the dentist.
David likes birds and bird watching, which he acquired from me, and he gets very excited when he sees a bird he can name. He was an indoor person before he met me. I don’t think he could tell a Robin from a Cardinal.
David learned to play on a grand piano. (That is until he took a hammer and broke the lip off all the keys.) We had a piano in our house too, but it was a tiny upright like those found in saloons and bordellos in the nineteenth century, only not as tall.
Mom played the church organ and she taught herself to play the piano and the organ. There was no money for piano lessons when she was growing up, let alone a piano.
Mom grew up in Michigan or wherever the heck she was from. I asked her once, “Where are you from?” She looked at me exasperated and said, “We moved around a lot.” As she had a Prairie du Sac Wisconsin birth and high school graduation certificates, I know they spent time in Wisconsin although all her cousins are in Grand Rapids or were.
I have many photos of Mom at different houses. Notes from her sister suggest they attempted to identify a few of them. I can’t remember most of the houses I lived in as a child. I know them from notes my parents wrote on the backs of old photos. The photo above is of a house we lived in in 1944 or so, in Asheville NC. It really was a little house in the big woods. The CCC built it and planted the trees or some of them. These days, the house is used as a rental cabin for big city types who want a “getaway.” We lived there because Dad was working for the US Forestry Service at the time.
The photo to the left shows foundation of another house. That’s my brother sister and me. Mike is the captured white woman (note the skirt) and Michelle and I are fierce indians holding him hostage. Although we were realtively poor and lived in a house with a cinder block foundation, we had imagination.
Below, I have captured our grandfather and a rabbit. Perhaps I was the only one having any fun??
David never had a rabbit and his grandfather lived in Russia.