A boomer copes with reality… by being realistic

Ever since we asked readers to tell us how they’re coping with the current crisis, we’ve heard a wide spectrum of strategies. Today’s comes from Ann Foley of Bronxville, New York, outside of New York City. With her family’s help, she’s finding the positives.

My husband’s small business office is closed for now after an unbroken twenty-six-year run. The new routine of having him home all the time is an adjustment for me.

Ann Foley

“I married you for better or worse, but not for lunch,” I remind him after I ask him to help clear the table, or load the dishwasher, or help with household repairs that a handyman can’t come in the house to do. There is some nagging on my part, some resistance on his, and some “thank you’s” on both our parts when we agree, even when we agree to disagree with a smile.

Meanwhile, “Strawberry Fields Forever” plays in the background on an “oldies” radio station.

I retreat to be alone to write upstairs while my husband is alone downstairs to deal with paperwork regarding the future of his business. The Beatles song lingers and I think of our dating days in Central Park in 1969. Splitting a roast beef on rye with Russian dressing, and a Coke, with my boyfriend, now husband.

We spent hours getting to know the park and each other. He went to Fordham University in the Bronx and I went to the City University of New York’s Nursing School, also in the Bronx, so meeting in Central Park was a treat for both of us. We took pictures of each other with his Olympus camera and afterwards we would sit on the grass near the bronze statue of Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the White Rabbit, enjoying the scenery while we shared lunch.

Uh, enough reminiscing, it’s lunch time already, but we don’t just run out for groceries any more. What do I have that we both like? I make shrimp salad on an English muffin and together we watch Governor Cuomo’s daily update on the State of New York.

One of my sons calls to check in with us. A triathlon athlete, New York marathon runner, and two-time Ironman competitor (I can brag, can’t I?), he tells me he is about to go for a run in Central Park.

“What about the crowds on this beautiful Spring day?” I ask nervously.

“The crowds in Central Park usually were mostly tourists visiting the John Lennon memorial park and all the great sights here and now there are no tourists. People with cars and second homes have left the city. So it’s less bodies for joggers to deal with. The field tent hospital set up in Central Park is closing down according to reports,” he says. “I’ll send you a picture of my favorite place in the park.”

Then later, “I love it here,” he texts, with the picture of Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the White Rabbit— each with a face mask.

My eyes water with bittersweet tears as I show my iPhone picture to my husband. We agree that less nagging, less resisting, and more thank you’s are in order in this “not better” time in our lives.

14 Comments

    1. Beautiful reminiscent that captures how it was and how it is. I too am hearing “what are we having for lunch” right now as I write this, and every day since early March…sigh.

  1. You really captured the give and take of a long marriage and the accommodations we all are making at home. The mad hatter looks like the sane one these days.

  2. What a nostalgic piece being in Central Park and now dealing with covid-19. Loved it . Your voice comes out loud and clear.

  3. Great piece. I like the two settings of your home and Central Park, both so necessary to you–one a place to shelter, and the other a place of memories, and a place for your son to run (and for you and your husband to return to one day?)

  4. Thanks for sharing Ann.
    Lovely piece.
    Home bound without social distancing otherwise required outside can get draining.
    So many of us can relate.
    Keep writing and keep sharing.
    Fondly
    Shashi

  5. Hi Ann,
    Fabulous photos and comparison of where you are now and then.
    Your shared memories reminded me of many things past, when I lived in NYC. It is hard to believe all the streets so bare and empty.
    Thank you for the great photos of Central Park.
    Sharon Shisler

  6. Love the merging of adjusting to one’s spouse during retirement, with a side of Covid. I love the honesty and history. Of course, the clear writing brings it all together.

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