By Charlotte “Blu” Berman
For more than 50 years this Bubbe considered herself the “faraway bubbe”, as my children and grandchildren all lived in Maryland. My late husband and I would make many trips to see them at birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.
And so it went, as the years seemed to race by, until I found myself out of our Bloomfield house, and as a widow, feeling comfortable in a well-appointed condo, right smack in the middle of West Hartford. I was around the corner from my synagogue, just a few blocks from my doctors and my favorite food markets, movies and theaters.
Aging takes its toll, and I had to make more than a few stays in the local hospitals. At that point, my kids became my parents and more than advised their mom that it was time to move down to Maryland, so I could be close to them. I thought, “What do they know? They’re just a couple of kids.”
But after driving everywhere I had to go, and places I wanted to go in my old white Toyota Camry, the fear of driving caught up with me. Why was I getting so many horns sounded at me when I slowed down to a crawl as I turned a corner? As cars passed me, many drivers would lower their windows and throw out nasty words my way. When I couldn’t really understand some of those words, I caught on when they added their middle finger in the air.
To everything, there is a time, it is said. It all came together. One day I happened to meet a personable real estate salesperson sitting in the next chair to me in my beauty salon. We struck up a friendship and we struck a deal. She had my condo “staged.” I could hardly recognize my own place, it looked so appealing. From that day on, I never baked or broiled anything in my oven. I wanted it to be pristine for “the lookers.”
Woe is me. That meant I had to make my bed every day and never ever leave a dirty dish in my stainless steel sink. It was exhausting. In addition, when people came to “look,” I, as the owner, had to make myself scarce. A few times, I hid in the laundry room downstairs, for an hour. I finally got wise and sat in the lobby, with my back toward the front door, so I could see the potential buyers as they came in and waited for the elevator. “Were these “the ones?” I wondered, as many came with their relatives.
One day, hallelujah! A young man and his parents spent a full hour in my abode. That was his second look. Yep, he was the ultimate buyer.
Now, reality set in.
Would I be able to make new friends at this advanced age? Could I fit in? What would I do all day, now that I had sold my car? Would I clear out the commodious closets and kitchen cabinets in time for the closing?
With some help from hired hands and my children, we moved on time.
I become a renter in a senior residence in Maryland that was close to my children. I decided on a place that was kosher just around the corner from the local Jewish community center.
There are so many events and gatherings and trips every day that my head is awhirl just from making those decisions. Musicians fill the lobby with beautiful music a few times a week – the doctor’s office and physical therapy location is just downstairs. I’ve joined the “play readers,” exercise in the pool at the JCC twice a week, and sit in the shade on the patio to read.
I guess the best part of living in a senior residence like mine is never (well, hardly ever) having to shop for food. I dine with my women acquaintances (and a few men) at breakfast and at dinner each night.
After which there is usually a good movie before bedtime.
Do I sound like Pollyanna? Perhaps. But a positive attitude is really helpful.
Bubbe is no longer far away. Bubbe has landed.
But, Bubbe will keep in touch with all that’s going on in Greater Hartford, by reading the Jewish Ledger, to find out … Who’s “hatched, matched and dispatched.”
Until her move, Charlotte “Blu” Berman is a freelance writer who frequently contributed articles to the Ledger’s Kolot section. Until her recent move to Maryland, she lived for many years in Bloomfield, where she raised her children, and then West Hartford. The Ledger wishes her many years of happiness in her new home.
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