Time in its flight…

David basking in the sun, Oxford Botanical Gardens, 1986.

David basking in the sun, Oxford Botanical Gardens,  Fall 1986. (My bag of camera equipment under his jacket on the bench.)

 

Looking through old photos can be a scary proposition because it reminds you of your age.  For example, the photo of me in yesterday’s post about ‘The Coat’ was taken on the first trip David and I made to Europe together, almost 30 years ago. I had previously traveled to Europe without him, and he had lived in Europe at different times before we met.

 I was in my forties, and David in his fifties when we made our first trip together.

Before I retired in 2006 twenty years after the photo above, I thought about how I was going to spend the last third of my life. My life until then, had been busy with degrees, kids, work involving much travel, and volunteer activities like Scouts and Church School. I wondered what I would do with my free time after I left work.

My colleague Cam, who retired at the same time and the same age, when asked “What are you going to do when you retire,” said. “Nothing, absolutely nothing.”

I knew I could never do nothing.

So, I did something I always wanted to do, I went back to school and earned a third M.A. (In History, the other two subjects are Demography and Sociology).  When I completed the last M.A., David said, ‘Are you going for the PhD?’  I decided no, I wasn’t. I loved school, but hated the long drive home after class.

These days, I am busy as ever with multiple hobbies..perhaps too many interests, but I am never bored…never.

For a while after I retired, I raised canaries and parakeets, and my kitchen looked like this:KItchen cages, 2007

David with one of my coffee sipping parakeets.

David with Larry, one of my coffee sipping parakeets.

I still work in my own garden, although I have help with the heavy stuff.  I  even manage a few indoor plants, although I am not very good with them..another orchid plant is about to croak.  I volunteered at a local botanical garden for a while, but my health got in the way, so I gave that up when I became physically unable to handle a shovel. 

Since I retired, I have continued my personal physical fitness campaign via weight loss and regular exercises. This morning, I realized the gym towels finally reach around my waist once again. Baby steps, it’s all about baby steps to reach my goal of being as healthy mentally and physically as I can until I die.

                                                                                 —000—

This morning, KK and I had a discussion about grandchildren and technology.  Apparently KK’s granddaughter got her cell phone and erased all the photos of herself.  KK was not happy and scolded her.  The granddaughter promised she would never touch her grandmother’s cell phone again.

I arrive a half hour before the aqua fitness class, and KK comes shortly after I do. We always find something to discuss.  This morning, after grandchildren, it was why Virginia is our home.  KK says she arrived here from India 45 years ago and she does not think of India as home.  I haven’t been back in 15 years, she said.

I came to Virginia and DC in the day JFK was inaugurated, January 20, 1961.  That’s about the same length of time. After she died, I too stopped traveling to wherever my Mom was living with my wandering father.

I told KK David’s Russian born mother used to say (about NC).  “I’m not tar heel born or tar heel bred, but when I die, I’ll be tar heel dead.” And my MIL is buried in Wilmington, NC.  My Mom is buried in Statesville, NC.  She did not want to be buried in TN where she lived when she died.

I figure the last third of my life is about living and then dying wherever I am.  I purchased niches in the local cemetery ten years ago, after I had a stroke. But David has said over and over he wants his ashes scattered on the bike trail. I used to think I wanted my ashes scattered along the Rhine, because all my ancestors but one immigrated from one village or another near the Rhine.  But Virginia is my home, and when I die, I’ll be Virginia dead. Meanwhile, I have the last third of my life to live.

  

 

19 thoughts on “Time in its flight…

  1. G says that you should stop using those hand towels.
    I’m jazzed about the towels, myself. Then again, I use giant beach towels for my pool towels. 🙂 This is a wonderful entry. I’m glad I’ve found a volunteer job I flat out love. This time when you come, I will take you to the store. 🙂 Then lunch.

    Yes, I loved living in VA, but the bay and beaches here are home. 🙂

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  2. Love the photo of David and Larry. Art wants his ashes scattered. I think I want our ashes in Punchbowl or another national cemetery on the other side of the Island so the kids can come and visit the islands. You are the busiest, most accomplished retiree I know.

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  3. You are one of the busiest retirees I’ve seen! My dad is 76 and is constantly depressed and moping. He retired at 55 after inheriting a large sum of money from his parents. All he does is buy stuff and talk about dying. I hope I’m not like that at his age. I hope I will always be able to do something besides spend money and think about myself. Very sad.

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  4. At one time I always thought California would be my forever home, but when Gregg retired from the navy his new civilian job brought us back to his home state, Virginia. I learned to love this state but it took a trip back to California five years after leaving, when I realized that I didn’t want to leave Virginia.

    We kept parakeets as pets when I was a child, and a cat which got quite interesting at times. All he would do was stare at the cage. He never could be trusted but we loved him dearly too, and the dog, and the rabbits we kept in hutches in the back yard.

    Thanks for leaving a comment on my post today. I agree with you, these apps can get very addictive..

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  5. I loved my travels through Europe back in the day and would love to take another tour. We had to cancel our river boat cruise in France this year because of David’s arthritis. Don’t know if we will ever go now. As for cemeteries, we have 2 plots in Hawaii that my father purchased for us. We donated one plot to David’s sister, and the other one will hold our own ashes. No funeral, just a private burial ceremony by invitation only. It’s good to know what will happen to one’s remains after one dies, isn’t it? As for the final years of my life, I hope to write and publish a novel.

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