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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)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Days 3-5

A car came to pick Jeff up at 8:20.  The perks of a good job--someone drives you to the airport.  I drove M to CCD at church--his preparation for confirmation.  An hour later J and I met him for church.  It was a joy to worship with my two grandsons.  I always delight in seeing the diversity of a large parish--even in a univesity town like Princeton--or maybe more so.  There were worshippers of European,  Latino, Asian, and the Indian sub-continent origins.

A thin layer of ice--Mt. View Park
The boys fixed their own lunches and spent lots of time on electronics and homework.  I went for a lovely walk.  This was an easy grandmother gig!  Susan was home around 4--all went well for her travel.

My Facebook feed and my text messages are full of protest news and photos.  Dan sent photos of large crowds in NYC; Sue sent one from Grand Rapids.  People are protesting in South Bend.  I have sent five supportive email messages to Republican senators who are objecting to Trump's immigration bans. My plan is to encourage principled Republican lawmakers.

Monday:  Susan and I had a great supper Sunday evening and chat over red wine while J and four friends played a board game downstairs.  It was good to hear their voices having a great time. Because Susan does not really need help during the week, I rebooked my flight for tomorrow.  The extra $200 is OK--my husband is worth it!

Travel stress made sleep come again with difficulty.  Jeff's car showed a warning light so a trip to Gladwyne was iffy with his vehicle.  I don't like driving especially on interstates--and now in a rental car--but when Laura sent a photo of two of her little ones anticipating Grandma's visit, I knew I had to give it a try.

At 10:15 I went to Liliepie's Bakery to have coffee with the Moorheads, friends from NCSU days, and their daughter-in-law Michelle, a lovely young woman who is undergoing chemotherapy.  I had prayed for her and emailed her and it was so good to meet her and to catch up with old friends.

A brisk walk and a little nap and I feel much better and ready for the next step in my adventure.
Hertz gave me a bright blue Ford Focus.   I confess to a Trader Joe's stop before leaving Princeton to stock up on my very favorite candy bars--Milk Chocolate Truffle.  I will try to portion out the five of them so they last for a while!

The traffic was not bad, but it started to snow and I could not figure out the headlights.  Every once in a while they came on automatically but not consistently.  Once I got to Gladwyne, I got out the manual and it will be OK tomorrow.

A and I had some playtime.  At age two, he speaks much longer sentences and really knows how to play with his trains, legos, toy kitchen, etc.  I told him I had something for him in my suitcase and he immediately said that he had a birthday a week ago.  I thought that was pretty good that he made that association.

Michael, Laura and I had a great soup supper which was prepared by the nanny.  The older ones were busy with various things, including Kindles, of course. And now two of the four are in bed while the older two watch a TV show with their dad.

Tuesday: I heard A during the night and apparently (one of Ruth's favorite words!) Laura was up with him for an hour before she gave up and let him fuss by the door where he sleeps on the floor--rejecting his comfortable bed.  He then slept until 7:30.  I had been awake for a while and went to get him at that point.  It was a busy breakfast time and get ready for school time and by 9 am, all were out of the house except Laura and me.

  I left around 9:45 and returned the rental car with the only problem being finding a gas station to fill up.  Susan picked me up and brought me to Princeton Junction, I got on the 11:40 train and learned that my flight would be delayed out of Newark.  An agent gave me a back-up flight out of Chicago but once through security, I learned that an earlier flight to Chicago was also delayed so I got myself a seat on that one.  I made it to South Bend at the original time, got an Uber ride, and was home to struggle with a key that would not open the door.  Jim was on his way home by that time--assuring me that he could see well enough to drive--and we were both happy to be home and together.

It takes so much effort and energy to travel.  I kept thinking that maybe it was getting too difficult for me to do it by myself at age 70.  I put a little note in my purse that gave emergency phone numbers for each stage of my journey with a short recap of my strange TGA episode last February.  But then I remember that travel is rough even when you are young and I did handle all the rough parts and I had lovely times with my children, their spouses, and my grandchildren.

 I am very happy to be home again with my husband--and to have a day ahead of laundry, groceries, cooking, and not much else.