Follow by Email

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Stroo Cousins' Reunion and My Parents' Grave Sites

Yesterday, I woke up and felt energetic so I decided to join my cousins in Hudsonville, Michigan for a potluck lunch.  I put together a corn salad, bought some deli meats and cheese and headed north--a two hour drive to Hager Park.

There were nine cousins there and two spouses.   The cousins from Ontario and Texas were in the area and that gave us a reason to try to get together. Two cousins live in Washington and Florida and that was too far to come!  Two other cousins are caretakers for their spouses and were not there. I don't know about the other four.   It is pretty amazing that all 17 of us are alive and even reasonably healthy.   In some ways it is even more amazing, because the Stroo siblings, our parents,  almost all died at an early age.  My own mother died at age 59. Several spouses have died--two in the last year and a half.

There was lots of talking and laughter and lots of good food.  Leo had a camera, tripod, and timer so he took a few photos.  Jim had a never-used selfie stick in the car, so I encouraged him to get it out so I could give it a try.  It was a pretty funny scene--all of us seniors attempting a selfie!  You can see by the results that I was intensely concentrating on getting us all in and pressing the button and it never occured to me to smile!

There were questions to which there never will be answers.  How did Uncle Dan have a combat medal found in his possession after he died when he said he never was in direct combat?  Was he in the Battle of the Bulge?  Did Aunt Mattie ever harbor refugees in her basement in the Netherlands during WWII as some of us had heard?   So much we could have asked, but didn't.

There were also Dutch expressions I haven't heard for years--and for which we could not give English equivalents.  Can I dare to try to spell these?  Banout, rummel, sanukking, feise.  Maybe they are not even classical Dutch and are just "Yankee Dutch." (correction for two of them--"vies" defined as "dirty" and "Banauwd" defined as "stuffy"--neither definition really gets the full meaning!)

There was no political talk and that was best avoided.   I am quite sure that we have some very real differences of opinion on our present situation.  Sometimes I really want to have forthright discussions but that was not the time or place.

After our hugs and good-byes, I drove to the Georgetown Cemetery about a mile away to pay my respects at my parents' graves.   I could not find them.  My sister said she had been unable to find them earlier. I find the  idea of cremation for myself and for Jim a difficult and uncomfortable idea, but why should the money be spent and the land used for burial when even those closest to you cannot find your grave years later?  And for us, there would be no central place where anyone would come to find such a grave.  We might as well be cremated.  I did say to Jim tonight I hope that our ashes can be combined if we're not buried side by side.  Morbid?  It made me feel better.

Today, however, after some online searching, I think I could find those tombstones for my parents--among the more than 7000 at Georgetown Cemetery.  Next time I'll take a photo and at least preserve their memory in that way.  (242-E 1 and E2)

I am so glad I made the effort to make the trip.  It was good to see everyone at something other than a funeral--and sadly, there have to be more of those in the next several years.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Nothing on the Schedule

Flowers at ND
For the last three days, I have had only one item on my calendar--tutoring M--and that was cancelled.  A friend who recently moved away emailed that she was busy now settling in but was concerned that she would be totally bored  once that was done.

I did wonder when I looked at three blank days what would fill them.  But now we are at the end of those three days and I have not been bored;  they have been three good days.

 I was not confined to home for three days.   There was a 30% discount trip to CVS where I had a good list of items.  I stopped at the library for a requested book that had come in.  I practiced the organ. Jim and I made our usual Martin's Grocery trip this morning. I averaged close to 10,000 steps daily according to my Fitbit in 40-60 minutes of walking.

Add caption
I lit a candle at Notre Dame out of thankfulness this time for many things, including Jim's eyesight.  I visited Jim's basement office and then his "new" third floor office.

At home, I did some laundry, clipped ivy and dead-headed flowers, and cleaned the very dirty screens in the three season room.  I played the piano.  I purged old photo albums.  I read lots and let my reading lead me into various Google searches.  Plus I researched potential trips to Arkansas, Nova Scotia and St. Pete Beach.  They may not all take place but it is fun to think about the possibilities.

I experimented with a new recipe for a cauliflower salad and made a chicken risotto dish and a rhubarb crisp.

The only longer conversation I had with anyone besides Jim was a phone chat with my sister.  I did have email, text and Facebook contacts with a few other friends.

I am glad I do have regular obligations at church and with volunteer work at the libraries and with tutoring.   But I am also thankful that empty days fill up with good things including blogging!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cataract Surgery

Jim's problems with his eyes began six years ago with a retinal detachment.  At first the surgery seemed successful but then it failed.  A second surgery gave him some vision but not a lot.  A cataract surgery in that eye gave him more light at least.

Then there was the herpes virus in the good eye three years later.  That was pretty scary.  But eventually that cleared up too although he continues to medicate with eye drops to prevent that from reoccuring.

And then there is the troublesome pressure in both eyes for which we also do daily drops morning and evening.

Mark Noll referred to our all being on "cataract watch" as we age.   Jim's was getting more and more troublesome.  I was the designated driver for all night driving.  He could not spot the ball after his drives in golf.  He couldn't read the words on the screens in church.  It was scary to think of any surgery on his only good eye but it was time.

So today was the day.  The surgeon, Dr. Davis, met with us earlier and was quite aware of Jim's circumstances including the fact that he couldn't correct to 20-20 or Jim would be very unbalanced in his vision.
Jim is number 5987
The preparation for surgery with many eye drops took about two hours.  The surgery itself took about 30 minutes.  The post-op time was about 15 minutes which included Jim's eating a muffin, drinking Sprite, and getting dressed.  We celebrated with Krispy Creme on the way home!  Jim felt he was seeing better immediately in spite of dilated pupils.

 A funny moment was when the anaesthesiologist, an older man temporarily here from Portland he said, asked me if I was a friend or co-worker and I smiled and said, "Wife" and asked if he had learned to be careful.  He said he had made a big mistake once in referring to someone as a son when I thought he implied it was a significant other.

 A not-so-funny moment was when, after a long 30 minutes and Jim was still posted as being in surgery, I was called from the desk asking if I was in the building.  Well, I was just three feet away from the caller but when she had asked for "Mary" earlier and I had turned to her she said I wasn't the one.  My heart jumped because I thought something had gone wrong.

We've added three new drops to the previous three.
Jim couldn't have a glass of wine tonight and he had to ask me to get out the ice cream from the bottom freezer because he can't bend low.  But he is doing a crossword puzzle and we went for a leisurely walk.  We are very thankful. I do think that without good doctors and modern surgeries, Jim would have very limited vision if any at this point.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Week in South Haven 2017

We arrived at 225 North Shore, Unit 301,  around 3:30 Sunday afternoon.  Jim spent most of the rest of the day watching the US Open and at times I did too.  We ate leftovers at the condo and then enjoyed a spectacular sunset.

Monday--We shopped at Meijers for snacks and desserts mostly.  Around 2:30 we headed to Hawkshead Golf Course where Jim played 18 holes and I accompanied him in the cart with the important job of spotting.  Jim has great difficulty picking up that little white ball on the fairway, let alone if it happens to go off the fairway!   Sometimes play was slow, but the back nine went much faster.  Very dark clouds came up as we neared the 17th hole.  The rain held off until he finished the 18th but at that point it got very windy and much colder.  The course was really lovely especially with the purple wildflowers everywhere.

. We called Clementines and were told there was no wait. We hurried for a rare chance to eat there.   Well, they were wrong.  There was a 40 minute wait which we do not do.  We walked to the Black River Tavern, a place we had never been to in all the years we have come to South Haven.  It was noisy and crowded and we had great burgers and drinks.

Back to the condo for another walk and beautiful sunset.   11,000 plus steps was a good day of exercise.

Tuesday--Jim pumped up the tires on my bike which he reluctantly but graciously had put in the car for me.  I rode down North Shore Drive to the end and then down 74th Street to its end, an annual ride for me.  I could smell the honeysuckle at times and stopped to pick some wildflowers to grace our condo.

It rained much of the afternoon and was extremely windy.  At suppertime, it stopped and we walked to Amicarelli's Vineyard Restaurant to pick up our lasagna order.  They included some focacia bread and it was a great meal with a much nicer view from our condo than in the restaurant.

Wednesday--Jim dropped me off in town on his way to the Young Life Golf Tournament, one of the highlights of his year.  He had put together a great team and the weather looked amazingly dry.  My first stop was the Wednesday Farmer's Market where I bought Michigan strawberries, local cheese and two $5 packages of cards made by the disabled.  One supposedly was made from blueberry dye.

My next stop was Black River Books where I browsed a bit.  I wanted to buy something just to say thank you for the time spent browsing but when the owner looked at the paperback I picked up and then looked at me and decided $4 was the right price, I was offended and said No thank you.  It was in good shape but for a book I didn't really need or want?
After walking back to the condo, I took my bike out to another one of my favorite haunts down Baseline Road to The Preserves.  I was happy to see that there was construction again after years of the development looking pretty forlorn.

I put on my bathing suit for the first time this week and put my toes in Lake Michigan.  There were children playing in the water but I was not as brave as they were.  The warm pool felt wonderful and I enjoyed that more.  Jim got back around 7:30 and we ate leftover lasagna.

Thursday--John and Lois joined us for some of the day with the fellows playing golf at Hawkshead and Lois and I enjoying the area around the condo. We dropped off two bags of donations from John's mother's move at the Lakeshore Rescue Mission shop.  And then we were tempted by shorts for me and a top for Lois.  We told ourselves it was a donation to a good cause!  We didn't have our usual trip to Captain Lou's but did have Mike's Hard Lemonade and chips and salsa in our condo after the game.  Jim and I enjoyed another take-out meal from The Vineyard--this time a sausage pizza.

Friday--I walked in the rain to get some pastries for a breakfast treat.  I had the best morning glory muffin ever and a bonus was being able to buy a NY Times.  We are so glad Bunde's Bakery is back after a few years of an empty storefront and a hotdog cafe.

Jim walked to North Beach and I biked to the Celery Flats site and then the South Haven Cemetery, another one of my favorite destinations for biking.  I am reminded of the long history of South Haven when I see the dates on tombstones including those with GAR markers from the Civil War.  I searched for the tombstone I once saw which said "He was finer than a frog's hair split four ways" but I could not find it again.  What an epitaph!

Later in the afternoon we had a long walk to South Beach and the refurbished lighthouse at the end of the pier.  Leftover pizza was an easy supper.  The sun has set with great shows every night--each one different.

Saturday--We are going home tonight rather than early tomorrow morning.  There has been noise from roadwork from 7 am each morning--enough that at times the building shakes.  I don't always sleep well.  There has been rain but we have enjoyed the dramatic clouds that go with it. Jim struggles with his golf game and I wonder how much of that is due to his eyesight.  We'll see after Tuesday's cataract surgery. Once again it has been a good week in a place we love to visit each year.

Friday, June 23, 2017


I do like to explore cemeteries.  Every year I bicycle from our condo to the South Haven Cemetery, an expansive and historic place east of town.  There is a large and separate Jewish enclave with dates in chronology dating from the creation of the world and little piles of memorial stones placed on the grave sites.  There is another large military section marked with US flags with some graves labeled GAR, the Grand Army of the Republic, and a statue commemorating the Civil War dead.

A very large oak tree that has probably been there since graves were first dug stands next to a tree stump tombstone symbolizing a life cut short.  The wife of Uzziah Conger, a name of an early South Haven settler, was buried at age 20 in the mid 1800s and next to her is buried a woman from the same family who lived from 1852 to 1953.

I looked and looked for a marker I know I saw once that said "He was finer than a frog's hair split four ways."  I cannot find it again.  But I could not have made up a phrase like that! Apparently it is an old Southern saying.   I've written to the South Haven Historical Association and maybe someone can satisfy my curiousity on that one!  (update--Section 7 on the hill--Tom Tinsley, 1940-1969)

 When we visit with groups of friends our age as we have done a couple of times in the last weeks, I wonder who will leave each circle first.  What will the next ten years bring in our lives?  That may be morbid but it is realistic.

 But it is not because I am morbid that I enjoy walking through cemeteries.  I think it is the lovely peacefulness of the grounds and the sense of local history memorialized there.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A New Role--Church Librarian

Paula Triezenberg asked for volunteers to take over the church library because she was moving away.  I volunteered along with David Lincicum, a New Testament professor at Notre Dame.  David Eisen, a retired librarian who headed the Mishawaka Public Libraries, is assisting us.

First, I needed to learn to use the Delicious Library system which I did not find intuitive.  I can check out books  and am learnng how to check books in.  There is more to learn.

Because I read Ann Berends' lovely book, a spiritual memoir written with Maureen Hallinan, I was inspired to create a bookshelf dedicated to our own church authors--present members and former members of our congregation.   We have 20 books ready to go and more donations are coming in.   The books range from poetry, philosophy, self-help, Biblical studies, biography, one novel and quite a bit of church history thanks to former members, Mark Noll and George Marsden, prolific writers.

There is plenty of work to do in the library.  We need to purge books and CDs and even video-tapes that no one is using.  I think we could break down the large section on Christian Living into categories of Parenting, Prayer, etc.  Maybe we should have a section for Women's Spirituality because there are several such books.  I just hesitate to do so without a special section for Men's Spirituality.  Maybe I could label it Feminisim for Men and Women!

I have a new summer project and I am happy about this adventure.  I love books and a church library can fill a role that a public library or academic library does not necessarily have.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend

It has been a busy weekend.  Friday was a day for a visit from Maggie while Mark had meetings at Notre Dame.  It was wonderful to see her remarkable progress in recovery from her stroke on March 20.  After dinner with six of us at the home of David and Judy Hatch, we left on a rainy ride to Kokomo, Indiana where we spent the night en route to Indiana Academy in Muncie where Laura was giving a commencement speech--20 years after her own graduation.

We were able to spend some time with Laura before the speech and had a Subway lunch with her afterwards.  It was a long ride but it was so good to hear our daughter in action.  Speaking for civic groups, corporate groups, and women's groups has become one of her major sources of income lately and she does well at it.

Her speech, even though she graduated before the seniors were born, was full of references to Indiana Academy life.  The students laughed hard at her mentioning the practice rooms at Burris Hall--where plenty of romancing went on 20 years ago--and must still do so today.  She called out a couple of her teachers saying they were 15 year old professors at the time.  She sympathized with the teacher who took a group tent camping 20 years ago--now that she is a Cub Scout mom.

Her advice for the graduates--Do one memorable thing each day.  Learn something new every day.  Make one human contact each day.  And pay attention to what you really enjoy doing and follow that. She felt that her work involved many areas that she liked--research, writing, entertaining, and even math with her time studies.  She avoided  the "n" word and the "p" word--network and passion.

I have thought about my life.  Do I follow my daughter's advice?  Yes, I do look for "adventures" or memorable things although they may not happen daily.  I probably learn something every day--even if it is a new word like "portmanteau" from our crossword puzzle yesterday.  I may not make a new human contact daily, but I try to be aware of someone I can encourage via an email or text.  What do I really enjoy doing?  Hmm.  I'm not looking for a career any more but I follow lots of interests online.

Sunday was my day to play the organ at church.  I was too tired to practice again Saturday night  but was blessed with a great night of sleep, after a few off nights.  I  practiced Sunday morning and did the service with joy--even if there were a few power-point glitches.  (Always a bit disconcerting to wonder why no one is singing a stanza!)

Sunday afternoon I went to an American Guild of Organist meeting where Hillary Doerries encouraged us as church musicians to promote good mental health in our churches.  It was good for my mental health to be there and to sing many hymns, new and old, that recognized depression and anxiety and the need for faith.

Today is Memorial Day--a day to prune bushes, do laundry, run errands, go for a walk, and not much else.  We were ready for a quiet day.   We have tried to be aware of the sacrifice others have made for our country and to lament the tragedies of war.

Friday, May 26, 2017

My Day and Laura's Mosaic Metaphor

I just read Laura's blog post about her 24 hours and how all the pieces fit together like tiles in a mosaic.   She exercised, worked, spent time with each child individually, slept enough, read.  Her husband was traveling but she and her nanny G put the pieces together for a good day. (

My days in retirement are so different than they once were or than Laura's are now.

The day got off to its usual slow start with my back exercises, breakfast of granola and yogurt and fruit, and newspaper and online reading with my cup of coffee. I pulled out all of Jim's sweaters and began the seasonal process of washing them and putting them away.  I went to church to practice the organ and spent a fair amount of time looking over the hymns for Sunday and finding alternate last stanzas and choosing registration for them.  I stopped at CVS for a prescription and got gas in the car.

The only sculpture that was larger than lif!e!
I went home for a quick lunch and then picked up dry cleaning enroute to Elkhart for an appointment to check my somniguard's fit.  Yesterday's South Bend Tribune advertised that Stephenson's in Elkhart had big sales so I made a stop there first and bought some crop pants for 50% off--a total of $21 for a perfectly fitting pair!

It was just a few blocks to the Elkhart Dental Clinic where the adjustment didn't take long and there was no charge.  I went back to downtown Elkhart so that I could get in some walking in a different place than my usual routes.   What fun to discover that Elkhart was full of realistic looking sculptures as part of an Epic Art Adventure!  Maybe it wasn't great art, but it greatly amused me to see the gardener, policeman.  musician and the street cleaner--all looking as if they could stop to talk to me.   I played country music on my 30 minute ride home--totally unlike me but it seemed right.

I made one stop on the way home to get coffee ice cream--because there was a small crisis in that Jim was out of his favorite dessert.  He was grateful.

When I got home,  I read and may have napped. I did another load of laundry.  Jim came home around 5, the usual time, and we had a glass of wine and then an easy supper of hamburgers and yesterday's potato salad and broccoli salad.

We went for a walk trying to get our10,000 steps in. I worked on a lesson plan for my adult reading student at Hope Ministries and read her IEP from years ago.  I enjoyed Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's book Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions--a very quick read but worth reading. I wrote an email to a friend struggling with poor health.

So that was my day.  As Laura wrote, there were opportunities for exercise, learning, and work--even if it is volunteer work or housework.  There was time for companionship with Jim.

In the newsletter from  St. Gregory's Abbey in Three Rivers that came in today's mail, Father William referred to "memento mori" in the sense that "as each day of our life passes by, it's a day gone , one that we could have used well or badly, to grow closer to the Lord or further away."

I don't think my day had many elements of spiritual growth but it was a good day in unexpected ways.

Monday, May 22, 2017

A Student at Hope

Laurie, the education director,  at Hope Ministries asked me to volunteer with another non-reader.  I suggested we do as I did with M--that we meet and then decide if we wanted to work together.  The first meeting went well.  S's skills were too low to do standardized testing so I did a more informal word list to get a base line. We began with three letter words with short vowels.

We have been scheduled to meet seven times.  One time was a no show.  Two times, the last two times, S was very late.  Last Friday, she and her case manager N showed up just as I was about to leave.  They were apologetic saying S had not slept after an altercation the previous night.  S said she had to have a smoke first and then we went to work for the 20 minutes I had left.

This morning I texted her to make sure she would be ready for me at 9:30.  She asked if I could come later so she could clean her apartment.  I had scheduled the earlier time because her 8 year old son has only half days at school due to his behavior issues .  He has been present for two previous lessons and it adds stress for both of us.  We settled on 10 am.

There was a funeral service going on as I waited for S.   I enjoyed listening to the music and the director's welcome to the mourners.  But by 10:20, after no responses to my texts, I was ready to leave.  And then S arrived by bicycle.  She had gone to a gas station to buy cigarettes.

I was not happy but we went to work.  And then within five minutes, there was her son joining us.  In spite of all of that, we had a good lesson.  She is so happy with any success.   Her son joined us for one activity and then ate his lunch without much fuss.

This is the balance that the case managers at Hope must have to strike all the time with their residents.  S was being irresponsible and thoughtless.  Her cigarettes were more important than being on time for me.  So do I accept that and try to accomplish something with her anyway?  I did today.

 Her case manager told me she is convinced there is a good heart underneath all the anger.  She referred to S's battle with the devil and how she needs Jesus.  I was amused to hear S call on Jesus at least three times last week during our lesson to help her read those three letter words.

She was calmer today.  She was delighted when I praised her for using the word "look" to read a word she didn't know--"took."  We began to think of other rhyming words and she suggested a few.  I challenged her with the word "shook" and then the word "crook!"  Oh, she loved that one and said she was sure to remember it.  "It's like...If she steals my stuff, she's a crook, right?"  There might be a story there!

So I will go back on Monday and told her it has to be 9:30.  She apologized for being late.  I will text again however.  I don't want to give up on her.  She needs to learn to read and N said this is one bright spot in her life and that she likes me. I know she does and that she is grateful.  But I don't want to make trips downtown for nothing and I don't want to encourage irresponsibility.
My second addition or edit to this post.  Jim suggested I change the initials of the student and I did.  I toned down some of my sentences because my initial posting was a debriefing that I needed!

  But now I need to add that I got word this morning that S "lost her bed" at Hope.  Where is she today then and where are her two children?  Hope has to  have rules and I know they gave her more than one chance.  I might still be able to meet her at Hope or elsewhere but I am not optimistic.  It is very sad.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Days 4-7 of our East Coast Journey

Saturday was very rainy so there was no Little League baseball game.  We drove to Ardmore and returned our rental car-- leaving the keys in the slot.  The reckoning for the scratched bumper was postponed.

Jim, Laura and A stayed home while the rest of us went to the brand new Museum of the American Revolution in downtown Philadelphia.  The kids had strenuously objected to going.   As it turned out, everyone had a good time after all.  R and I stayed together and I followed her lead.  If something interested her, we stayed at it.  If not, we moved on.  She had a hard time deciding whether or not to do the immersion experience of the Battle of Brandywine but decided to pass on it.   Probably a good idea!   She got to help load the cannon on the privateer ship twice!

 Michael fixed his great fajitas for supper.  We had ice cream cake for J's birthday--he will be 10 on Tuesday. Jim and I (and Laura) were in bed before the little boys and the "big boys" Dan and Michael.

Sunday morning Laura, Jim and I went to church with A and J. ( S and R  had swim lessons.)  It was a good service with grand music. On the weekend the kids get lots of screen time,  sometimes even in a cooperative fashion! A went on a long walk with Jim and me to the Henry Botanical area.    Michael grilled fabulous steaks in between rain drops and then brought Dan to the train station to return to NYC.

Monday--Because we were able to see Dan so much this weekend and he had to leave for a business trip Tuesday morning, our plans changed.  We borrowed  Laura's car and went to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania for an overnight at the historic inn there.  We walked up and down the hilly streets of the town and then drove to the Jim Thorpe Memorial.  On our second try, we found the route to the Glen Ocono Falls.  Sadly, we never saw the falls because we were wearing sneakers and dissuaded by this sign!

The view from the balcony of the inn
We enjoyed supper in the bar in the hotel and a glass of wine there later in the evening.  We watched the Celtics win a close and exciting 7th game in the series before going to bed.

Today the plan is to return Laura's car, take Amtrak from Ardmore to the Newark train station, get an Uber ride to the Hilton Hotel at the airport, spend the night and then take a 12:40 flight back through Detroit to South Bend.  I hope all goes according to plan and I don't need to add any more postscipts!


One postscript I do want to add--the beautiful lunch G, Laura's wonderful nanny, fixed for us before Laura took us to the train station.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Travel the Easy Way (so far!)

We left home at 8:30 on Wednesday, May 17, and by 3:15 we were in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania.  The flights were on time and easy.  There was a bit of confusion finding the Uber driver but that ride was amazingly traffic-free also.

We helped out with transporting J to swimming while G (the nanny) drove R to karate and Jim stayed home with S and A.  G got A to bed and we finished the process with the others.  In the past we have been up with A many times very early as he would cry or call Mommy.  This time he slept until 6:30 or more and the first we heard of him was his happy voice singing "Jingle Bells" in his room!

Jim was not pleased that I had told G she could come in late.   So we were in charge of getting J to choir at 8, S to the bus at 8:30 and R to school at 9.  And we coped!   R's teachers at Weatherwilt School were so eager to show me their pre-K classroom and I loved seeing their pride in their work.

Laura was home by 11 so we chatted for a while.  She brought us to Ardmore to pick up our rental car from Enterprise.   We drove the 1 hour 20 minute ride to Homewood Suites, our home away from home in Princeton.

Jeff fixed us a wonderful London Broil steak and then we all went to M's jazz band concert.  I grinned from beginning to end during the performance of the 7th grade and 8th grade bands.  The big band sound was far beyond what anyone could expect of teens.  I loved seeing  kids from diverse backgrounds playing classical American jazz--The A Train, for example.

Friday was a laid back day in which we had coffee with the Moorheads, friends from NC State days, who have been in Princeton for over 30 years now.   We walked along the Delaware Raritan Canal and then picked up Dan from Princeeton Junction.  Seven of us had many laughs over our take-out Olive Garden meal.  Katie was having dinner with friends.

The only sad part of the day was my scraping the rental car along the bricks in Jeff's driveway.  I was so angry with myself and dread the resulting penalty.  Dan was very cool about it and so was Jim.  Jeff and Susan said they had both done it before--but a rental car!  Ugh.

It's raining hard now and will be all day.  Jeff was supposed to coach M's baseball game but it was cancelled.  We hope to head to Gladwyne around noon again.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Giving the Easy Way (or not!)

Yesterday I went online to the site to give to several of the 67 local charities asking for money on May 9.  It's a good way to donate because our money will be matched with funds from the Community Foundation. We've been getting emails and regular mail from many organizations promoting their causes.  One particularly poignant video was from Claire Shely, a colleague of Jim's at Notre Dame,  whose son is helped at Logan Center.  Her tearful plea was very effective.  Giving online was quick and easy and we know our money will be used well.

This week also gave me another opportunity to give in a way that wasn't as quick and easy.   A former student Facebook messaged me with a desperate plea for funds to keep her family from being evicted.  Did I know anyone who could help?  This student has no family resources and never has.  We have had a closer relationship than I have had with other students but she has never asked me for money.  I was not happy to be asked but I thought that God has put this in my life and I can't ignore it.  After several messages and a couple of calls later to the landlady and the Section 8 counselor involved, I sent a check to match the one she was sending to work down her debt at least some.

 All week I have been hoping that there would be no more messages about further needs and there weren't.    Yesterday I looked up her Facebook page (which I have usually hidden) and saw that she was preparing to go to church with her sons for the first time in two years.  A resident in a nursing home where she works  reminded her of her need to do so--and said she needed to find God before she could ever find a husband!  Maybe my "gift" helped a little too.

What about the homeless folks we see on the streets asking for money?   The young man with crutches at the corner of Ironwood and State Road 23 breaks my heart.  But I never stop.  I look away.  Scott Hoezee posted on the 12Blog about not having his usual small bill to give to a homeless man under a bridge in Chicago as he and his wife were returning from a pretty pricey dinner.  His wife gave the man a $10 bill.   The man asked them to pray with him so they held hands and took turns praying under a dark bridge in Chicago.  Maybe he still spent the money on drugs or booze, but maybe not.

In her sermon today, our pastor told us that when we gave our offerings, we were like the Acts 2 church sharing equally.  We might not have children in church school, but we were giving for their supplies.   We were keeping the lights on and the place heated for AA meetings held in our church.  We were financing a translation of Scripture in the Central African Republic that we will never read.

We have had times in our life when we were pretty needy ourselves but no longer.  This is a time when we could be generous with others.   There are opportunities but we need to give with discretion and wisdom.  It gives me something to ponder.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Hospitality the Easy Way

This has been our week for sociability and hospitality.  But it's not the kind we used to have when we had dinner parties of a more formal sort.  Why don't we do that any more?  Maybe it's just too much effort.

I remember years ago saying something about being concerned about putting out a good dinner as I was shopping at Harris-Teeter in Raleigh, North Carolina.  A reassuring voice from a stranger popped in from the next aisle saying, "Just fix beef stew."  Simple but always good.

At this stage of our lives, we have changed to a different mode of hospitality.  On Wednesday, we invited a colleague of Jim's to join us for dinner at Villa Macri.  We have done this several times this year with various single folks and even a few families.  It's easy and I enjoy talking to others over dinner.  Although when just Jim and I go out for dinner, we try to carry on a pleasant conversation and we do refrain from checking cell phones!

Jim wanted to do something social with his Wednesday seminar--11 men and one woman.  We discussed going to Legends and getting a private room.  I checked their website out but it seemed complicated and a bit daunting. So I suggested a 5-6 pm time at our house on Thursday evening with wine, beer, and snacks.  Almost everyone came and four men brought their spouses.  There were three toddlers adding to the fun.   It was easy enough with crackers and cheese, chips and salsa, a fruit plate, and brownies.  I decided I should make something home-made and came up with devilled eggs and sweet potato rounds.  Every bit of food disappeared--except for a bowl of grapes and a few chips.  We observed that men eat--and they drink beer not wine.  We were thanked heartily for opening our home to students.  Of course, Jim was reading their seminar papers the next day!

 Gifts from grad group
"Prophecy" wine
Then Friday we entertained our favorite way--a potluck with our graduate student group.  Jim fixed burgers and hot dogs, I made brownies again and put out the plate of veggies I had forgotten from the night before!   I made sangria.    Others brought vegetable dishes and chips and guacamole.  The eight of us had a pleasant, relaxed time.  Because these are all folks we know well, there was no pressure to remember names or make everyone feel welcome!  And any glitches in serving were no problem among friends.

Tonight it's leftover hot dogs and veggies.  And I'm glad it's just the two of us again.  Just thought I would record our easy ways of entertaining in our retirement years.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Good Day

A good day outside as well
In reflection, yesterday was a good day for many reasons.

I slept well--not a given--but something to be thankful for.  I had energy for the day.

A South Bend Water Department worker came in the morning and determined that our low water pressure was due to our malfunctioning water softener.    This seemed like a fairly easy solution to our problem and we rejoiced in being able to flush the toilet and wash hands afterwards without waiting!  Today a sales person will come to talk about a new water softener.  As the old one lasted the 25 years we have lived here--and probably more before that-we can't complain!   

I read the news online and in our local paper.  I cleaned another section of our deck.  It is so satisfying to see the green mold come off without using a power washer, just my new very effective cleaner that hooks up to our garden hose.  A bit of scrubbing with a broom--and results!

At 1 pm I met with Laurie Hart, the education coordinator at Hope Ministries,  and R, a potential student, a woman supposedly with an "attitude" and a non-reader.   Our purpose for meeting was to see if we could work together--and if we both wanted to do so.  My present student wrote me a recommendation at my request.  She wrote that Mary told me to say how wonderful she was.  I don't think I did in those words!   She added that I was patient and understanding and that she was learning to read and she really is! 

R and I decided to give it a try and we attempted standardized testing.  This did not work.  She could not read even the very first items on the easiest Test of Adult Basic Education.  She did know the letter sounds and some sight words. So we began at the beginning with words that rhymed with words she did read correctly--"six" and "wet."  We continued with rhyming words with  the short vowel a sound.   She was very pleased to read long lists of words.   I showed her how these syllables can be put together to make longer words.   She left me with a hug and a request to pray for her!   

It takes some effort for me to meet someone new and to go downtown and now to make a plan for her.   But I am so grateful to be able to use the skills I have learned in working with students with dyslexia or just basic non-readers.  It made me happy to see how happy she was when we said good-bye. 

The afternoon brought time to read, peruse the internet some more, take a brief nap, go for a walk to get my 30 minutes of exercise, and have a glass of wine with Jim.

Then another adventure.  Walter Mosley, the author of many books including the One Book for Michiana this spring--The Devil in the Blue Dress--spoke at the downtown library.  The doors opened at 5 for a 6:30 presentation so I felt I had to get there early.  Parking was limited but there were plenty of seats.  The Merriman players presented jazz for us as we waited.  

It was great fun to hear Mosley speak.  He came in wearing his signature hat and began by reading a bit from The Devil book, his first Easy Rawlins novel, and then from Charcoal Joe, his 14th and latest one.  He spoke briefly about his writing and then asked for questions.  He handled the questions well and with good humor and frankness.  It struck me that he didn't have to spend much time on preparation for this event but that was OK.  Apparently he refused the invitation to South Bend until his friend Leonard Pitts encouraged him to come after his own excellent reception earlier this spring. 

I did not take advantage of the book signing time and came home to some reheated pizza, another glass of wine, and an evening of reading, a crossword puzzle, answering a Story Worth question about the best boss I ever had and posting it to the site and our four family recipients. 

It was a good day because I exercised, relaxed, learned, wrote, and was able to give to someone else.  

Thursday, April 20, 2017


My new red skinny jeans!
Why does 71 seem so much older than 70 to me?  It's not the way I feel or think or, I hope, act.  In fact, I feel much better than a year ago.  It's just the number turning the corner after the decade.  It is a day for contemplation and, maybe, resolutions.

It has been very sobering to realize that we have several friends our age who are struggling with serious illnesses.  On the other hand, we also have several young friends who are struggling with serious illnesses as well.   A spouse of one friend commented that not everyone gets to have 70 years of life.

 I don't want to be younger again.  And I don't feel that I have to accomplish any great things in the years I may have left.  I am glad for what I have been able to do as a teacher, wife, mother, grandmother, musician, friend--many roles.  I'm glad for what I can still (there's that word again!) do as a volunteer and to keep our household running.

I try not to think too often about incapaciting conditions for me or for Jim--for a role as an invalid or as a caretaker.  But that is out of our control.  My very healthy friend who really took care of herself had a stroke.  Her stroke is called "cryptogenic"  which means no known cause.  She is making great progress in rehab, but what a lot of work and effort it takes.

Nevertheless, I am going to try to take care of myself.   Here are my resolutions for the year:

1.  Walk 30 minutes or more most days.   Try for 10,000 steps.

2. Do the stretching and strength exercises prescribed by a physical therapist just this past Monday for some bursitis.

3.  Sing a few times every week--at church or at my own piano bench.  The singing class at Forever Learning has been fun even if we sound pretty bad!  It's not getting easier to sing the high notes--or even above c or d.

4.  Learn something new.  Yesterday I found a couple of online courses on counterpoint that look promising.   Practice new organ music.  This morning I tried a Bach trio sonata that was well beyond my abilities!

5.  Encourage and support others-- it just takes a little effort.  When I do so, I am amazed at the appreciation that comes back to me.

6.  Throw away ratty clothes or anything I don't feel really good in.   Wear black, white, and bright colors only.

 7.  Make new friends and keep the old!  (the Girl Scout song?)  I have begun meeting with a small group of women  (two retirees and two professionals)  on Friday mornings to share and pray; I have one new walking partner; I have contacted a few friends  via email from years ago to make sure they are OK.  Not everyone is on Facebook!

8.  Look for interesting events at Notre Dame and in the area.  An organ lecture-recital on Anton Heiller inspired me; a lecture for ND retirees on "iris recognition" showed me what computers can do; and Monday I hope to go to a presentation at the downtown library by a favorite author, Walter Mosley.  Sometimes it is so much easier to stay home and sit on the couch but I rarely regret making the effort to get out and go to a presentation.

We just celebrated my birthday with a very nice meal at The Mark on Eddy Street near Notre Dame.  I will celebrate with my sister at lunch tomorrow in South Haven.  There is much to be thankful for!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Jim and His New Project

Jim would be very lost and unhappy if he didn't have a major project to work on.  The Jubilees commentary is finished and at the printer's.  He is now devoting his research time to a much different project and yet related to the work he has done all his life.

The project?  A biography of Robert Henry Charles (1855-1931)--a man whose name I have been hearing for years because in many ways, Jim has been his successor on the books of Enoch and Jubilees. I keep thinking that Charles, if he only knew, would be so tickled to see someone tracing his career and his own research with such enthusiasm.
I can't seem to rotate it! 

Charles was an Oxford don and a canon at Westminster Abbey.  He was born and educated in Ireland.    His work brought him to Germany and Scotland and France.

Jim has found amazing resources at Notre Dame, including the large volume dated 1892 pictured here.  He has looked at microfilm from 1902 at Notre Dame.  A correspondance is developing with archivists at Oxford University Press, Westminster Abbey, Bodleian Library, and Trinity College in Dublin.  There may even be some material in Edinburgh.    Then there is the D'abbadie castle near the Pyrenees where some intrepid explorer bought manuscripts after travelling in the 1830s.  And the British Museum where manuscripts  "fell into British hands"  after Ethiopian King Theodore was defeated in 1868.

I envision a month for both of us tracing Charles' life around the United Kingdom and Ireland--if not  France.  Maybe even golf courses would be involved because one source listed Charles' hobbies as golf and light literature.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Death and Dying

 Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry.  (p. 161)

There we were at a great crisis in our lives, and it had to be, it could only be, death with us as an ordinary thing....My tears were falling into the bowl of beaten eggs and then my nose dripped into it.  I flung the whole frothy mess into the sink.  I said, "Well, what are you planning to do?  Just die?  Or what?"

I couldn't turn around.  I heard him fold the paper.  After a minute he said, "Dear Hannah, I'm going to live right on.  Dying is none of my business.  Dying will have to take care of itself."

He came to me then, an old man weakened and ill, with my Nathan looking out of his eyes.  He held me a long time as if under a passing storm, and then the quiet came.  I fixed some supper, and we ate.

May my death and that of my dear Jim be "an ordinary thing."  May we "live right on" until we die.  But we will not have a lot of choice in this matter.

However, I can state some choices for the process afterwards.  I do not want to be embalmed.  It doesn't have to be done even if an undertaker thinks it should be.  I do not want an open casket.  There can be plenty of photos of me in my youth and as the old lady I hope I will be--or am!

  The service should have lots of music-- "Now Thank We All Our God," "Fill Thou My Life, O Lord, My God,"   "In Christ Alone."  I'll think more about the Scripture passages.  Psalm 23 probably and parts of Psalm 73.  Burial or cremation?  I'll think more on that too.  What is the point of being buried in South Bend if none of my loved ones live here?

A few flowers are fine but it's better that donations be sent to Doctors without Borders or World Renew.

Everyone in our tradition seems to use the first Q and A of the Heidelberg Catechism as a part of the service or the "In Memoriam" folder.  Maybe not.   How about the saying on the stone in the labyrinth in Elsah, Illinois--"Bidden or not bidden, God is present."

I'm healthy and in good spirits.  I'm not being morbid.  I am very aware of our vulnerability these days however and wanted to put these thoughts in writing.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Three weeks ago tonight I was eating tacos in a trendy restaurant with Maggie in Wheaton, Illinois.  One week later in the wee hours of the morning, Mark found Maggie on the floor unresponsive.  She had suffered a stroke.  Twelve hours later she had surgery to relieve the bleeding.  Mark called me on Maggie's cell phone when surgery had begun to tell me what happened.  I picked the phone up and said, "Happy birthday, Maggie!"  "It's Mark," he said and then told me the news.

Today, after two weeks of hospitalization,  Maggie has transferred to a rehab facility where she faces what will be a long recuperation process.  She is making progress. After surgery she was on a ventilator and had a feeding tube.  She now has a "peg" in her stomach for feeding.  She can get around with assistance and follow some instructions.  She has spoken a few words.

I have wept many times for her and for Mark.  How can it be? I guess I have wept for us too--could it happen to us too? How can it happen so suddenly to someone who was supposedly in good health with no warning signs?

I keep thinking about how Maggie will feel when she realizes what has happened to her.  Maybe she already understands.  It would be easier if she didn't in some ways; but she has to face it to be able to do the therapy I would think.  I don't know.  I haven't asked for details.

Our conversations in the 24 hours I was with her play out in my head over and over.  We had talked about the stress in her life recently but truly it was mostly happy stress.  Many folks have asked how I am doing knowing she was my friend and that I had just visited her.  I have appreciated their concern because it has been hard.

 It has affected many who know her--young and old.  We older ones feel vulnerable.  Jim and I  discussed the choices we would make, or have each other make, if this happened to us.  At this point in our lives, we both said we would want to stay alive and go through the necessary rehabilitation.   At age 80, I thought, maybe not. Jim says that at that point I might think differently.

 A very busy young mother spoke of realizing that you can't postpone happiness or plans until you retire some day.   Another young friend wondered if a dissertation was worth all the effort. Jim thinks I am breathing heavily; I check during the night to see if he is breathing at all!  There have been more hugs and expressions of affection and appreciation for each other.

I wonder what we can do for Maggie and for Mark.  I dread seeing her as she is now but I want to support her and Mark too.   I will ask Mark when and if he wants us to come.  We can sit with Maggie and give him a break.  We can go out to eat with him and listen.  For now, I pray and Mark writes that is more helpful than he can say.  Good.

I do think about our own inevitable failing and demise.  I have ideas that I want to be followed but that can be a topic for another blog.   However, I'll never know if my last instructions are carried out, will I?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Observing Lent in the Trump Era

I may have given up something for Lent many, many years ago.  I have a vague memory of doing so.  Our pastor at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, Dr. Ed Pickard, encouraged us, instead, to take on something for Lent.  I have thought about that and tried to do so in one small way or another.  I have joked that I take on Cadbury Creme Eggs for Lent, but this year I see that they cost 99 cents each at CVS so I will abstain until they go on sale!

However, this year, I am trying to give up something--or at least discipline myself in my far too easy checking of Facebook.  I have taken it off my iphone so at least I have to be home and on my laptop to check postings. The frequent political postings in this Trump era are so depressing that I despair.   However, there are other postings I don't want to miss like the updates on our friend Morgan Bolt and his cancer treatments--and  the wonderful article Rice Computer Science wrote about our dear Dan.  So my compromise is trying to look at Facebook just two or three times a day.  This does make me aware of my unthinking habit and my need for discipline in this regard.

On a more positive note, as I read the lectionary each morning, I look for one phrase to stand out as God's word for me.  In a way this is a form of lectio divina, although I don't meditate on the phrase for very long!  I write it down in my little pink notebook and the act of writing it reinforces it.   Today's phrase was from Psalm 103: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all my being, bless his holy name.  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits."

Two weeks ago, when President Trump tweeted his accusation of President Obama's wiretappping of his phones, he called his predecessor "bad (or sick) guy."  The lectionary that morning was from Isaiah 58:

Thus says the LORD:
If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday...

I have been thinking ever since what a difference it might make if President Trump  read the lectionary every morning.  Is Scripture really a two-edged sword?  Does it really go out and not return void?  How can I suggest this to him from my humble place in Granger, Indiana?  Would this be a more powerful idea than any of the many petitions I have signed?  I will ponder this and pray.

Monday, March 13, 2017

24 Hours with Maggie

I was sad when Maggie moved back "home" to Wheaton after living in South Bend for ten years.  Her husband Mark, a very well known and respected historian, retired from Notre Dame at the same time that Jim did. We became friends through our church and walking buddies the last few years.

Maggie said she would be in South Bend this past weekend and did I want to take the train back to Wheaton with her Sunday afternoon?  Of course I did!   We boarded the South Shore train at 1 pm.   It was a 2 1/2 hour ride to Millenium Station, a half hour walk to Ogilvie Transportation Center, a 1 1/2 hour wait, an hour ride on a crowded Metra train and a short walk to their renovated condo in Wheaton.  Driving would have been faster but would have had its own stresses.

The condo had a fresh paint smell and was very lovely.  It was fun to see familiar furniture in new settings.

We had plenty of time to chat all afternoon and then even more over sangria. parmesan chips with guacamole,  and fusion tacos at a very nice little place in Wheaton.  Plus we had a dessert taco to end the meal in the best possible way.

With the time change the night before and then another time change heading to Chicago, my clock was off.  I read my mystery far too late and had a hard time shutting it off when it was time to sleep.

With the table set as if we were at a very nice inn, Maggie treated me to a breakfast of oatmeal with toppings.  We drove through the country to Immanuel Church, the home church they returned to, and toured the building taking time to investigate the beautiful organ which her son plays on occasion and helped to build  We checked out the food pantry where she and Mark volunteer and even helped unload a "food recovery" van.

Our next stop was Trader Joe's--always a treat for me--and a chance to buy my supper and my favorite milk chocolate truffle candy bars.

  It was so good to be able to see Maggie in her new (old) surroundings.  Now, when others ask, "How's Maggie?"  I will be able to tell them to check out my blog!

Maggie brought me to the Wheaton Metra station at 12:30 and I headed to town.  It was a little over a mile walk to the Hilton Garden Inn.  After checking in, I walked to the Art Institute and had a wonderful time seeing familiar works and the "Whistler's Mother: An American Icon Returns to Chicago" exhibit..  I  walked past the Bean,took my obligatory photograph and helped out some tourists with theirs.   I enjoyed supper in my room--bread with brie, a salad, and some wine.

Tomorrow's plans are iffy--but I do hope to be on the 12:35 train heading for home.  And maybe even the 8:45 if I get myself psyched up that it is really 9:45 South Bend time.

I did take the 8:45 train after a very snowy, slushy but mercifully short walk to Millenium Station.

One week later, Maggie had a stroke in the middle of the night.  She has been hospitalized for the last week after a long surgery to relieve the bleeding.  She has not been responsive yet as far as I know.  I cannot blog about it.  Not yet.   It has been overwhelming and so sad. But I did want to add this note.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Retiring in a College Town

Lists of the best places to retire often mention college towns like Chapel Hill, North Carolina or Oxford, Missisippi.  A warmer climate would be nice and I would be happy to live in Princeton, New Jersey and be near our loved ones, but South Bend is also a college town with many options for entertainment.  25 years ago, when we moved here, this was not as true but the building of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center has meant many more guest artists and college performances.

Two weeks ago we heard Third Coast Percussion with a premier performances of a work for voice and instruments.  Last week they won a Grammy for the best chamber music group.  Today I went to a conducting recital by Justin Appel, a doctoral student.  He chose two works by Latvian composers both written in this century.  Plainscapes (by Vasks) was a breathtakingly beautiful work of vocalises by a chamber choir, a violin and a cello.  Passion and Resurrection (Esenvalds) was a dramatic work for soprano soloist (Jessica Bush), vocal quartet, chorus, and strings.  Coming just before Lent, listening to this work was very moving and spiritual.

Some of our entertainment this last week was of a very different sort.  The Bengal Bouts are amateur boxing matches held for the benefit of the Holy Cross mission in Bangladesh.  One of Jim's colleagues, Father Brian Daley, is a coach of several young men.  I decided this was something we needed to see, a traditional Notre Dame experience, so I reserved our $7 tickets. It was great fun to sit among the cheering students although I think once is enough for the experience of watching young men punch each other.
Anna Rohrer, a ND sophomore

And then yesterday we watched pole vaulting, triple jumps, and several races at the ACC Indoor Track Championships at Notre Dame.  We gasped as the three finalists pole vaulted to over 18 feet and when the runners are just a few feet away from you, you really get a sense of how very fast they are.

Coming up this week, a Saint Saens organ concerto at the Basilica on Friday--and who know what else.  We have the time--and it doesn't take much money--but we do sometimes just need to nudge ourselves out of our comfortable family room seats, turn off the TV, and get out to see live performances.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

In Memoriam: Deborah Lind Jamieson Krohn 1950-2010

I had tried to contact Debbie before but was not successful.   The last time I saw her was before we moved to South Bend--25 years ago.

I was reminded of that trip a few days ago and decided to try to find my old friend again.  This time her name appeared--in an obituary from 2010.  She died at age 59 and I will never be able to have any contact with her again.  The finality of it has overwhelmed me in the last 24 hours.  I tried to track down her daughter Sara and sent an email to the CDC in Washington, DC where Linked-In says she works.  I wanted to express my sympathy to someone.

Debbie and I met at a women's group at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Cary, North Carolina shortly after we moved there.   During our first meeting the women introduced themselves with most of them saying what their favorite craft activity was.  I didn't do crafts and was so bold as to say so.  Later Debbie came up to me for just that reason and we became friends.

Not long after that there was a crisis in her marriage and her mental health.  She called me, I put the bread that was rising on the counter in the refrigerator, put four year old Jeff in the car, and went right over to see her.  It was a hard time but she was tough and resilient and ended up finishing her undergraduate degree at the University of NC in Greensboro.   She loved our Jeff and counseled me more than once when I was feeling needy. She took some treasured photos of our family which I still have and will include.

Over the next several years we saw each other in Greensboro and in Raleigh.  She remarried, moved to Wilmington, had a child and opened an interior design business.  We lost contact.

To think of her as no longer with us is painful.  To realize that she probably was single again and remarried one more time makes me wonder what else happened in her life. Her survivors were her mother, daughter, and brothers.  To see that the memorial contributions were to be made to the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation makes me realize that she probably suffered with a serious illness.

I hope her daughter will contact me.  I am even more determined to keep up with friends we have made over the years.  We have lived in many places and here in South Bend, many of our good friends have moved away as they retired.  We are aging and this is going to be our story more often over the years we have left.

Sara Jamieson did email me with her thanks for my taking the tiime to contact her.  (February 24)