Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Folk Singer, Red Hats and Travel Purses



The monthly luncheons at the senior hall draw an eclectic group of entertainers. April's luncheon featured a guy who is a high school music teacher by day and in his spare time he moonlights as a folk singer/guitarist playing various venues around town. I like the teacher-entertainer combo because they all seem to enjoy talking about the history of the songs they sing. For example, from this month’s entertainer we learned things like the story behind why the Massachusetts Transportation Authority calls their electronic tickets ‘Charlie Cards.’ It comes from a 1948 tax protest song later made famous by the Kington Trio. The song tells a humorous tale that’s etched in the history of Boston and is about a guy named Charlie who was forever trapped on the subway because he couldn’t pay the five cents surcharge to leave the train. The teacher said one summer while on vacation he spent a day riding on the MBTA and singing that song. He’s got a quirky way of planning vacation destinations. He seeks out places that have been memorialized in folk songs where he does something similar to what he did on the subway in Boston. Listening to him talk in between songs reminded me of John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, a book that's been described as a search-of-America travelogue. What a colorful conglomerate of people and stories we have here in the USA! Travels with Charley, by the way, is one of my favorite books. It’s written in a style that I very much wish I could do. 

Tuesday afternoon I attended one of the two monthly Red Hat Society teas. I can’t say I always enjoy the teas but you have to take the boring with good (the monthly walk-abouts). The issue is most of my Red Hat sisters have known each other for eons. They go to the same churches, their kids went to the same school. Heck, they even went to the same school growing up and they still live in the same, small community. Lovely women but too often I’m out of the loop when they talk about people I don’t know. I hang in there because for years when I was caregiving Don the thought of rejoining the chapter I was a charter member of kept me believing there would be life after the caregiver rat race I was on came to an end. And I can’t tell you how many times I day-dreamed back in those days about starting another Red Hat Society chapter open strictly to caregivers and with a rule that we could all bring our care recipients if we couldn’t get a sitter for any given event. It’s funny how attached I became to an organization I was only involved in vicariously for over a decade. Now that I’m back in the chapter I’m reminded that nothing ever stays the same. The frequent trips that I could never go on that caused me to drop out of the fledgling chapter have evolved into morning walk-abouts. And teas are no longer home gathering where we’d alternate showing off our finest china and baking skills. Now, teas take place in a mall’s community room with a Starbucks near-by. 

Wednesday I met my youngest niece at the surgical center to wait with her as her husband went under the knife. I brought with me four baby sweaters and let her to pick one for her grandma box. My great-great niece is due on earth any minute. This niece has the most upbeat personality of anyone I know. Even when she gets vexed---which isn’t often---she’s got a way of spinning things that has everyone around her laughing. I want to be like her when I grow up.  After spending a couple of hours of quality time with her my funky mood lifted and I was able to erase the word ‘lonely’ off the blackboard in my brain. 

Today I went to an interesting lecture sponsored by the travel club I joined---don’t ask me why. I don’t travel and probably won’t take any of their trips any time soon since I spent my mad money on a new car. The organizers don’t care, they depend on people like me talking up the club when we get the opportunity. And I have done that, bringing two new members in who are far more likely to travel than me. Today’s lecture was on travel gear and I was impressed by the anti-thief purses, for one thing and the anti-microbial underwear for another. The underwear is quick drying and supposedly you wear it in the shower to wash it and you at the same time. Who knew! The purses were made with metal in the lining and straps so people can’t cut them open and run with the contents. I didn't know they even made things like that. We all were impressed with the amount of stuff the lecturer pulled out of the three different sized carry-ons she brought with her. I won an Eagle Creek pack-it system/door prize that will be the envy of all the street people should I ever find myself living out of a shopping cart.

All in all it’s been a great week and it’s not finished yet. Tomorrow my Movie and Lunch Club is seeing The Longest Ride. Bingo, the committee picked the one I was hoping to see! ©

18 comments:

  1. you know what i'd like to see you do jean? kiss someone, that's what. if you're ready. it hurts nothing and it can be amazing as i am finding out myself! go for it girl! what have you got to lose? i mean it's a kiss, not a commitment!

    hugs, bee
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that is so funny, Bee. First I'd have to actually come within in kissing distance to a single guy in my peer age bracket. And that isn't happening at my usual haunts. But I believe you because I've read all your posts about the love interest in your life.

      Delete
  2. Sounds like you're having a great week indeed. Excellent. I love weeks that are full of fun things to do.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Aprils are always a tad fuller than I'd like. That happens because in February when I'm snowed in everything looks so good that I sign up for everything that looks remotely like fun.

      Delete
  3. Can we start with a hug instead?

    Sounds like you are having fun, Jean. All those things you do would seem like a chore to me, but...different strokes for different folks I guess. HAH!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd go for the hugs more than the kisses, too, Judy. You don't have to worry about age, sex of the hugger or if they have a spouse.

      Sometimes I wonder myself why I sign up for so many things. Then I remind myself about those long, winter days when I'm bored out of my tree because I can't get out.

      Delete
    2. Hey, you just keep doing everything you WANT to do and your life will be interesting. I wonder if there is place where I could "rent" a 6'3", 190# man to hug--just hug. I am NOT interested in anything else!! Actually, the thought of kissing a man other than Fred, sort of sickens me!!

      Delete
    3. On one of those Inside Edition type TV shows they did a feature on a business that sold cuddling sessions. So we're not the only ones who think renting a hug-able guy would be be a cool thing. LOL Kissing old men has no allure to me either. If and when I day-dream about such things we're both young and carefree...and I'm not sure if it's a memory or a day-dream.

      Delete
  4. Reading about all your activities makes me feel lazy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trust me, there are weeks when I don't have anything on my day planner. Unfortunately the 3rd week in the month is always too busy because it has so many re-occurring activities that can't be rescheduled.

      Delete
  5. Your folk singer sounds like an entertainer I would have thoroughly enjoyed. I hope he didn't try to find Scully Square station (where Charlie's wife passed him a sandwich every day as he was doomed "to ride forever 'neath the streets of Boston") on his T-traveling vacation; they demolished it years ago to create the new Government Center -- a sacrilegious act, I thought! -Jean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He didn't mention it but I think he is pretty thorough with his research so I'll bet he knew about Scully Square station. He told about singing the song to his students and how someone will always ask why Charlie's wife didn't just hand him a nickel for the fare instead of the sandwich. He tells them because he was the prefect husband that way. She always knew where he was, didn't get underfoot and couldn't get in any trouble riding the train. LOL

      Delete
  6. Don't I wish you could bottle up what your niece has and quench your thirst any time you please. Sounds like two hearts beat as one when you're with her.

    I must have missed the post about you getting a new car. Congratulations! Can you spot it in the parking lots yet? It took some time for me to look for a blue, not red car. LOL

    I adore all those travel gizmos. I'm familiar with all you mentioned. I rely on them when I travel out of country, especially as a woman traveling alone. They add such precious safety and convenience. And don't forget to bring your own street smarts - gently scanning unfamiliar areas and people. Then...Voilà! Explore away from home like a kid in candy land!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, I went in for an oil change and came out with a new car. I put a small decal on each side window so I can tell the car apart from others. It's of Snoopy at a typewriter to Don's favorite character and my hobby of writing.

      Both my nieces are like that only one is slightly more serious than the other. It takes a lot to rattle either one of them.

      I may never travel again but I enjoy listening to other people's plans and their excitement. The lecturer owns a whole store devoted to travel gear I never knew about.

      Delete
  7. You are amazing! A travel club withOUT the travel! I'm not big on traveling any more either. Back and forth to Maui is plenty. And so much easier ... only a carry on! It was fun traveling with Mr. Ralph on business trips as everything was arranged and carried out by others. I just got to enjoy things!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I keep hoping they'll plan a trip I want to go on, one that doesn't involve a passport. I met a woman at the travel club who is going to several weeks traveling by rail around the USA this summer. She's in the travel club, too, but that trip is not one one theirs. I do enjoy hearing about other people's trips and as long as they don't have a waiting list to get into the club, I'll keep going. I doubt that will ever happen. They'd just move the meetings to a larger venue instead.

      Delete
  8. I know what you mean about being part of a group in which you are the only one who doesn't know anyone. That's my situation in my book club. I only know one person. They all know each other.

    Bee's comment cracked me up.
    I'm glad you had a good week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Her comment cracked me up too. She's recently started dating a man and reports on his kisses after every date. Reminds me of my dad when he was dating but could no longer drive. I'd have to turn my head when they parted to give them some "privacy".

      Delete