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Friday, December 18, 2015

Being Grandma Mary: Days One, Two, Three

Wednesday, after a very restless and short night, I took the 6:30 am non-stop United flight from South Bend to Newark.  I wondered why the coffee I could smell on the plane was never served.  The answer?  I was sleeping and when I woke up as the pilot announced that we were 30 minutes from landing, the stewardess offered me a cup.  How kind of her to notice and give me a second chance!

As I began drinking my coffee, I put in the special ear plugs that reduce air pressure recommended by my friend Maggie.  I have had a cold for over two weeks and Maggie thought I might be prone to ear pain. It was worth the $7 price to avoid that trauma. 

Even with ear plugs, I heard a very strange sound that at first sounded like snoring.  A young lady across the aisle was crying and had her hands around her head.  I asked if she was OK.  Obviously she wasn't.   She mumbled something about pain and pressure in her head.  I offered her my ear plugs and she took them quickly.  She stopped hyper-ventilating and calmed down.  Were they really such miraculous ear plugs or did my offer at least stop her panic? 

I really didn't want them back so I gave her the little plastic case they came in.  She accepted it and said, "You were a blessing."   Later I heard her chatting in another language to someone on her cell phone as she put her coat around her bare midriff.  She wished me a good day as I left the plane. 

Getting to Princeton means a short air train ride, then the New Jersey Transit train to Princeton Junction, and then the Dinkey train to Princeton itself.  Jeff picked me up at the station. It was an amazing five hours door to door and that's all. 

After arriving in Princeton, I enjoyed another nap and then a walk in the downtown area.  I was happy I could help out with the afternoon driving and school pick-ups—a good Grandma role. 
The big event of the day was Michael’s choir concert.  Each grade level ( 6, 7, and 8) had well over 100 singers.  The program was very appropriate for each age level keeping in mind the changing of the young men’s voices over those years and the level of difficulty possible as the students matured.
Day Two
SJeff brought me to pick up my Enterprise rental car even before I ate breakfast.  I chose a cute blue Hyundai—mostly because the color was unusual enough that I could find it quickly in parking lots.  I had a couple of quiet hours alone before driving to Princeton University and walking in the rain to Susan’s office in the Frick Chemistry Building.  I loved seeing the display of the history of the Princeton Chemistry Department which she wrote and organized and the art department carried out.   

Susan and I had lunch at Alchemists and Barrister’s in Palmer Square.  I had always been fascinated by its historic building and was happy to enjoy a good lunch and conversation there.
Susan dropped me off near the Princeton University Art Museum.  I saw the Cezanne exhibit and paid homage to the Bierstadt for which Susan participated in a panel discussion a week ago. Her role as a chemist was to talk about its lead paint.
My afternoon duty was to stay at the house for the new dryer delivery.   I did that and thought I would do nothing else.  It gets dark early here on the east coast but I changed my mind and was brave enough to drive in the dark and the rain to Katie’s Holiday Funk performance at the Dance Factory.  It was worth the stress—although I had some problems with the car lights and missing the VK driveway on the way home. 
Day Three
On the road again—It's  55 miles to Gladwyne and Laura’s home.  I am a fairly bold traveler but driving on east coast interstates is threatening.  I was very thankful for my iphone and the great directions given as we went.  I thanked my guide but I guess she didn’t really hear or need my thanks! (Just noticed I wrote “we”—guess I really did not feel alone!)

One of the most important engagements of the holidays was Sam's kindergarten tea for grandparents.  Sam gave me a tour of his classroom and then we worked together on a Venn diagram answering questions about how my kindergarten experience was different or the same as his.  We were asked to bring an artifact from when we were a child.  I had to pack lightly, so I chose a 3D viewer which turned out to be a big hit.  Sam was very eager for me to show it.  "Grandma, you go next," he said.  I have heard that the little red viewers are going to be reincarnated with cell phones to show 3D videos. 

It's always amazing and fun to see Laura, mother of four, in action.  All four were in the bunk bed with her enjoying her company during the late afternoon hour.

Laura and Michael had a 8:30 dinner reservation at my suggestion.  Alex refused to go to sleep before they left and finally gave in at around 9:50--when I sang him to sleep.  Sam was still awake.  Ruth was sound asleep.  Good for her.  Jasper showed me several exciting pages in the Guinness Book of World Records and I tried to be interested in the man that held 147 pounds by his ears and others of the same amazing abilities  

And now all is quiet!






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