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New York New York

Life is returning. After two years of sweatpants and t-shirts, I’ve started to put on actual clothes every once in a while. With an actual bra! The belly is bigger than it was two years ago, so I need big safety pins for some waists, though most of my clothes now, for some strange reason, have stretchy waistbands. 

But more exciting, yesterday, spontaneously, I booked a quick trip to NYC, city of my birth. My dad’s cousin Ted has a birthday in early September; I missed his big 80th party because of Covid, so will be able to toast his 81st with him. When we visited Dad’s family in NYC during my childhood, there were innumerable relatives to visit; my grandfather had 6 siblings and my grandmother 10, though she wasn’t speaking to some of them. But now, since feisty Cousin Lola died two years ago at 98, there’s Ted. I tried to get in touch with a young second cousin, but she’s in Italy, and her mother lives in New Haven and won’t be coming in at that time. 

So my NY family is down to one. Well, and Ted’s husband Henry, if he comes in from Northport. Ted lives at 77th and 3rd and works at his father’s Manhattan law office during the week; on the weekend he goes to their house on the water in Northport, where Henry lives full time. And so his apartment at 77th and 3rd is empty every weekend. Except if there’s a cousin from Toronto, or another friend from somewhere, in residence. 

Besides Ted, I want to see the Matisse exhibit at MOMA. One of my favourite artists:Vermeer, Matisse, David Milne, Kandinsky. 

I thought I wasn’t ready to travel again, and I’m not ready to go far, but NYC I think I can handle, especially for 2 1/2 days. Especially on points; the flights are costing $150. Miraculous. What can I take my cousin for his birthday, the man who has everything? 

Ted with Anna and my uncle Edgar’s cat Selassie in 1993. Anna in her braces period. Behind them is my uncle’s wall of wine bottles.

I get home on Sunday Sept. 11, when the Cabbagetown Festival will be in full swing and Big Anna, as we call her, is coming to stay for two nights. On Tuesday Janet comes to stay and 4 friends are coming for dinner; on Wednesday, Judy comes to stay, possibly for a few days, and on Thursday, I’m off to Stratford, to stay at Big Anna’s for 2 days and see some shows. So with New York, that’s far more excitement in two weeks than I’ve had all year. In two years! 
Watched two episodes of Ten Percent, an English remake of the French series of the same name about a talent agency – very entertaining. Still harvesting cucumbers and tomatoes; the zucchini are a total washout, as were the beans. It seems I am only capable of growing cukes, tomatoes, and basil. Gazpacho and tomato sauce for days. It’s cooler in the evenings, and this morning, to ride to the market, I was in jeans and a jacket for the first time in months. But … peaches! Strawberries! It’s still summer. 

There’s a sign now above my desk, a quote from Helen Humphreys: Write the impossible thing first. So I started yesterday to do that. Got two paragraphs in and had to stop. But started. 

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5 Responses to “New York New York”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I could have sworn that Anna was standing there with Atticus Finch! ?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous?! I’m Nicky-Nick!

  3. Great idea, to spontaneously book a trip like that. Oftentimes, trips like that are the best. I'm dying to go to Berlin, the most exciting city in Europe; maybe I'll go over Christmas. I'm curious about your cousin, Ted. Is he a lawyer? Does he still work full time at the age of 80? That's fantastic.

  4. beth says:

    Yes, Ted's a lawyer in his father's law firm, as is his older brother, who's about 85 and also still working. But then their father Leo worked and swam daily until his death in his nineties. I think Ted works a 3 or 4 day week and with the pandemic he worked from home. He's an expert in Asian antiquities and used to work at Sotheby's. A very interesting guy. His apartment is a museum. I'll post pictures.

  5. beth says:

    I've told Ted you think he looks like Atticus Finch. Honoured.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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