Happy Valentines Day To All Of You!

Autumn Palette


Bright and early Tomorrow morning, Bill will undergo  complete shoulder replacement surgery. With one knee already done, many friends are calling him “The Bionic Man.” I wrote this poem for him back in 2005, and since it is fall and he’s on my mind as we step into another healing adventure together, I thought I’d share it with you.

Autumn Palette
for Bill

Across the river trees flare
yellow orange gold
the flow of water a painting
awash in late day light
ever changing in intensity
as ruffles of wind eddy the surface
invisible fingers at play

A walk we took years ago
before we became us
in woods of scarlet sugar maples
Vermont air crisp and clear
the lake before us blue shimmering
deep and endless as the sky
we wandered under
projecting our future together
on the white canvas
of a passing cloud

We were young and limber
ready to climb the mountains
flame red in the distance
never imagining this day
you and I burnished by time
settled on a river bank
reflecting in October light


51 Years And Counting

IMG_0386 (1) This past Sunday Bill and I celebrated our 51st year of marriage … “for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health.” It’s the bit about “till death do us part,” that makes each year we have together more precious than the last. In November I will turn seventy-four and three days later, Bill will turn seventy-seven. We’re still young, but these days we give much thought to aging as we discover we can’t do all of things we used to. Getting up off the floor after yoga class isn’t graceful anymore. Bill’s knee replacement in January was successful but it still doesn’t work the way the old one did before it gave out. And now a shoulder is giving him trouble.

Over the past few years we’ve noticed that friends have become incapacitated with body parts that no longer work. Terminal illnesses take others. So far we have been blessed, marching on together on our own chosen paths, yet watching each other carefully for any missteps. We do our best to live and celebrate each other and every moment we have together.

I used to complain and wish time away. It was either too hot, too cold, too rainy, or too sunny. I wasn’t happy with what the way things were going. My most used phrases were, “If only ______,” and  “When ______ , then I’ll _____.” Now I want it to stop time from moving so quickly.

We have entered the autumn years of our lives and it’s time to slow down, rather than rush around, like thirty-year-olds with under-the-gun missions to accomplish. We still have many thing we want to do and lots goals to reach for, but it’s a relief to live without that kind of pressure. Being of “a certain age” is wonderful in that we can use the difficult lessons we learned as youngsters, and see more clearly with our inner eyes and hearts. We appreciate the abundance of love and peace that we immerse ourselves in, and do our best to live one moment at a time.

Happy Anniversary to us and all of you who are still in our lives
and continue to join us on this huge, mysterious adventure!

How I Met The Love Of My Life, Part II



For those who are waiting to hear Part II of my love story, here it is. If you missed Part I you can read it here.

As that summer moved into late June and early July, a few interesting things began to happen. Bill invited me to join the gang (Russ and all the kids) for a movie on a Friday night. I was tired and not thrilled about being with a whole bunch of people, especially kids, but decided, Hey, why not. It’s an opportunity to get out and do something different, instead of sitting around here at home.

Bill pulled into the driveway in his VW bus, loaded with Russ and three or four boys and the sister of one of the boys. I climbed into the front passenger seat which was empty. Russ sat in the back surrounded by kids telling jokes that weren’t all that funny. During a break in the chatter, I asked what movie we were going to see. Bill answered: “We’re going to Tarzan goes to India.”

Yikes, I thought. Then Russ piped up and said “I’m not going to that crap. I’m going to see Hud, with Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, and Patricia Neal.

Which movie do you think I chose? You guessed it. I went to see Hud, with Russ, I had no inkling that Bill’s invitation to the movies was supposed to be a date. Would you have thought it was a date? With a bunch of kids in tow?

Word got back to me the next day when my brothers told me that Bill had been very disappointed. The next time he invited me on a Friday night movie trip to town, I smiled teasingly and said, “No. If you really want a date with me, we have to go alone. No kids or Russ. And by the way, I’m not a Tarzan fan.”

We spent the rest of the summer, going to shows at Vermont’s abundant summer theatre venues, ate luscious dinners together, and went to the movies alone now and then. I liked Bill a lot and began joining the gang for Friday night movies regardless of what they were going to see.

One night after a movie and a stop at the local ice-cream joint, my brother, Reid climbed into the front passenger seat. Bill told him to get in the back, but Reid refused, saying, “But I got here first.” Bill went around to the passenger side and pulled Reid out, pushed him up against the bus and said, “That is where your sister sits from now on.”

I’m not exactly sure of the exact moment that love sruck, but Bill became my best friend who listened to me and understood me. Best of all he loved my crazy family and they loved him. Bill and my father, argued philosophy and politics at the dinner table. And there were times when I thought Mom and Dad cared more about him than they cared about me.

When September rolled back around, Bill went back to New York City, to finish his masters at Columbia’s Teachers College. He was interested in international education and his dream was to open or be involved in a secondary school with kids from all over the world.

I went back to school as well, and resumed my job as a waitress and chambermaid at the Lodge. I stopped dating anyone else, and put all of my energy into my classes.

I missed Bill terribly and before long we were talking on the phone most evenings. Bill drove the four or five hours to Vermont for long weekends and school holidays. He’d put more work into the Round House, and we spent time hiking in the mountains and skiing when snow fell. He stayed at our house, not the lodge, and my father even allowed me to go down to New York to visit him. The big caveat was I had to stay in a hotel whose clientele were only women. The name of the place now escapes me, but it must have been one of last vestiges of the Victorian era. And knowing my father was not above checking up on me in his own sneaky way, I did stay there … at night.

The most memorable trip to see Bill was the day John F. Kennedy was killed. I was on the bus just outside of the city, when at one of the stops, a Trailways employee stepped up on the bus and announced that Kennedy had been killed. All of us on the bus were in shock, many of us in tears. Bill and I spent the next few days together glued to the television set, grieving the loss of the young and bright shining star who would lead us into a glorious future.

If nothing else can pull a couple together it is the processing of grief and loss. Through the sadness, we talked about getting married. At Christmas I had a ring on my left hand and traveled to Washington, DC, where Bill’s folks lived.

I had one more year of school to finish up. Bill, done with his Masters, applied for several teaching jobs in Vermont. He was hired as an English teacher and dorm master at St. Johnsbury Academy, in the northeast corner of the state, about an hour and a half away from Killington.  We spent the next year talking on the phone when we weren’t together, and on June 19th, 1965, a few weeks after I graduated from Castleton, Bill and I were married.

I don’t know where the years have gone. Some think that after 50 years together, some couples get tired of each other. Of course, we’ve had our not so good times, but we always worked our way through the problems. We still talk every day when we’re off in different corners of the world and always look forward to being together again. There is of course more to my story, and maybe over time I’ll have more stories for you.

Our Family, Summer 1970

Our Family, Summer 1970

Do check back here next Tuesday to learn about my monthly newsletter, which I’ll start sending out in October.

How I Met The Love Of My Life, Part I

A few weeks ago on her blog, my friend Shirley Showalter, told the story about how her parents met and fell in love. She asked me in her reply to my comment, how Bill and I met. So here it is for all the world to see.

December, 31, 1963.

William-Rough_HS4 (1)I was attending Castleton State Teachers College, now Castleton University, just outside of Rutland, Vermont. I lived at my dad’s ski lodge, The Summit Lodge, in Killington, one of Vermont’s newest and upcoming ski areas at the time. I commuted to school, and waited tables at night at the lodge. When there weren’t enough chambermaids about, I cleaned toilets, made beds, and did all the stuff that being in the hospitality business is all about. I wasn’t crazy about the work. But it was what I did to pay my way through college.

I wasn’t dating anyone seriously, but flirted with Bob, another college student who washed dishes at the lodge whenever school was on break. He wanted a serious relationship with me, but I wasn’t interest. He was one of twelve kids, and told me he wanted a huge family like his own. I didn’t really know what I wanted, but I knew it wasn’t a whole bunch of kids. I loved learning, being in school, and didn’t want to limit myself to changing diapers, housekeeping, and chopping wood all winter in the mountains of Vermont.

Being New Year’s Eve, the dining room was filled with skiers of all ages, shapes and sizes, celebrating the end of another year. Outside the snow was piled high and still falling. The wind was cold, whistling down the chimneys and occasionally bringing in big puffs of smoke that were supposed to be traveling upward and out, not back into the room.

Tired of the holiday rush, waiting on tables, and connecting with the public, all I wanted was for everyone to go celebrate somewhere else, so I could relax instead of being constantly at someone else’s beck and call.

As the dining room was clearing out, my father introduced me to a couple from New Jersey, who were there skiing with their kids … and their daughter’s boyfriend. I had served their table.

That was the first time I laid eyes on Bill. He was tall, handsome, had dreamy blue eyes, and a cute chin dimple that I liked. That was it. No wedding bells rang. Cupid was off shooting his arrows somewhere else.

I didn’t see him again until May, when school was out. In the meantime, my dad had finished building us a house separate from the lodge, so that we could have some privacy as a family. We’d moved in to our new home during the early spring.

I was aware that Bill had been staying at the lodge occasionally and had become friends with my father who helped him purchase a piece of land, where Bill wanted to build his own private ski house. But I hadn’t seen him or talked to him.

Working as a cashier at one of the grocery stores in Rutland for the summer, I was bored out of my mind and trying to save up more money. One day after work, as I walked through the front door of my house, Bill stepped out of the bathroom off the hallway, freshly showered.

Everyone wants this part of the story to be different, but trust me, he was DRESSED in jeans, a tee shirt, and hiking boots.

The Round House as it stands today under it's newest owners.

The Round House as it stands today under it’s newest owners.

It turned out he was in the area for the summer. He and one of his college roommates at Princeton, an architect, were beginning to build the ski house they’d both been dreaming about. It was to be round and made out of stone. They were camped out at the house sight in a huge tent furnished with cots, a refrigerator, a telephone, and a tiny television set. But there was no shower and since the creek at the bottom of the property was icy cold, my dad had kindly invited them to shower at our house anytime.

Bill hired both of my brothers as gophers to dig holes, move rocks, and do whatever needed doing as the building process began. Reid couldn’t have been more than ten years old, which would have made Zed fourteen. He paid them a dollar an hour and as a bonus, took them and three or four other kids he’d also hired to the movies in Rutland every Friday night.

Bill and Russ, his roommate, were frequent shower users at my house and often stayed for dinner. My mother, a fabulous cook, loved their oohs and aahs over the food she prepared, which guaranteed them seats at our dinner table whenever they were around … which was a lot of the time.

They were both really nice guys, but I wasn’t shopping at the time. It was a period of my life when I spent my time as one of the walking dead. I worked by day and went home to my parents home, bored and wishing I was anywhere else. School was out for the summer so I wasn’t seeing anyone I knew. But having left school after my freshman year to go back to Long Island to work and figure out what I wanted to do with my life, all I wanted now was to get my degree, go off on my own, and find a teaching job somewhere far away and hopefully interesting. I didn’t want to live at home with my parents and never dreamed I would find love in the mountains of Vermont.

Oh, Darn. There isn’t enough room here to tell you what happened next, because the love hadn’t started yet. So you’ll just have to wait until next week to find out how our first date worked out and how a VW bus full of kids helped me find the love of my life.

In the meantime, you can talk amongst yourselves, share how you met the loves of your lives, and begin writing your own story. It’s important to do that … everyone wants to know about it, especially your kids and grandkids! 🙂

Oh, and forgive my use of current photos.  After searching through many boxes I discovered that Bill and I weren’t using cameras very much at that time.