A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-18


Our Executive Director is really taking no chances for the virus to attack any of us. Anyone who leaves the campus, no matter if it is for a doctor’s visit, a trip to the grocery store or to go to a relative’s home, has to go into self-isolation in his or her apartment for ten days. People coming in, even after having taken a walk on the premises, all have to go through the front door past the front desk where they have to be checked. But there are loopholes! And there are people who don’t take this seriously!

Several first-floor apartments have an exit door and a patio in the back, through which they can get out without passing the front desk, virtually unseen. They can take their car and leave at any time, or have someone drop off groceries or visit on the patio. Sigh. I wish people would take this more seriously. When I walked around on the first floor inside the Club this morning, because it was raining, I noticed a large sign on one of the apartment doors saying: Isolation! Do Not Enter! But how can you enforce rules on this “open” campus with two unguarded entrances? How can this work if there are people who go to the store early in the morning and then go on to playing bridge at the Club, without wearing masks, “after they have taken a shower”? I guess, in a situation like this, we get to know our neighbors.

It’s a Party!

So when good neighbors seemed hard to find, we made an effort to get closer to a wonderful couple in one of the cottages. They had birthdays two days apart around Easter. Because the weather was really nice, I called and asked if they would like to celebrate both their birthdays with a little party in the gazebo next to the pond. They loved the idea. Sadly, the weather had turned the day of the party. It was windy, overcast and only 53 degrees. But we all donned warm jackets and we went! They brought Chardonnay for Betty and two glasses, plus potato chips and little pink plates. We brought a bottle of Burgundy for the other three of us and two glasses, plus four tea-towels to put on the chair cushions so the pollen would not yellow our pants. With a sponge soaked in diluted Clorox and wipes, all in a ziplock bag, I sanitized everything. Chairs around the table 6′ apart, wine in the glasses, chips on the plates, a few at a time so they would not all blow away….and the party could start! Ben was wearing thick winter gloves, but he could not pick up his wine glass with them. He took one of them off to make a toast, and actually, I noticed that he did not put it back on because he liked the wine and I poured him another glass soon thereafter. We partied for an hour, until it was time for our dinners to arrive, and decided we’d do that again when it would get warmer. It was so nice to get to know another couple more in-depth. We hope we will be friends for many years.

One World Together at Home

We watched a great concert on April 19, organized by Lady Gaga to pay tribute to healthcare workers who are on the frontlines battling COVID-19: One World Together at Home. Many celebrities,  Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Oprah Winfrey and others spoke messages of thanks and many musicians performed wonderful music. Stevie Wonder was one of the stars taking part in the One World concert, as were Celine Dion, Tailor Swift, Andrea Bocelli, The Rolling Stones and others. These incredible moments of unity raised $128 million in commitments, which will go to supporting the World Health’s Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, as well as local organizations globally that are supporting vulnerable communities.  The concert was concluded by Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Lady Gaga, LangLang, and John Legend singing  The Prayer 


Our little dog, who will be two years old in August, got a new toy last Friday. An orange squeaky toy. I put it in her food bowl. She looked at it, sniffed it, but she did not know what to do with it! When she finally took it out of the bowl and into her mouth and walked around with it for a while, she came to give it to me. I threw it away with a little squeak and she ran after it and picked it up again. For the past week she has been carrying it around, a prized possession, but only once in a while, as if by accident, we heard a little squeak. We showed her how to make it squeak but it has been like teaching a toddler how to use a toy. After a week, she is still delighted with it, but it does not give a beep! It’s just as well with us 🙂

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time.,


A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-17

Déjà Vu

The parallels between my mother’s secret camp journal and the situation we are in today are remarkable. I can’t help but reading her stories again and re-living what she went through during WWII in a camp under Japanese oppression.

January 17, 1944. Contagious Disease, Diphtheria.
“…the doctor said, these are positive. and Ronny Herman…..It was inevitable. You keep walking, with leaden feet, purely mechanical
ly, automatically. That’s how I walked up to the desk. Who is it? It’s Ronny.”

In 1944, a little girl of barely five, I tested positive for the disease and Mamma had to let me go to a hospital outside the camp….What a blessing that I do not test positive for Covid-19 in 2020!

January 1945. More Illness and Death.
“… A young woman in the house next to 
ours died of Malaria Tropica, another dangerous and often fatal disease spreading throughout the camp.”

And here, in 2020, in the building with many apartments, occupied by many people who have become friends, there is more illness and death as well. We lost two friends in the last few weeks in Independent Living and two more in Assisted Living and Memory Care. Not victims of the virus, thankfully, but of complications after a fall and illnesses. Nevertheless, it is heart wrenching to realize that I will never see them again.

The quotes from my mother’s journal sound pretty depressing. But if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do. It has a happy ending, hence the title. Here is the link: Rising from the Shadow of the Sun

Mamma never gave up hope that the war would end. And that hope gave her the courage to endure fear and hunger, anxiety and diseases and continue to fight for our lives for almost four years. Nelson Mandela once said: Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.

Compare her stories to our situation today. We already heard that they have developed a vaccine in Great-Britain! For us, the Lockdown will not last four years – perhaps only months. And that we can surely survive if we live by the rules.

Not four years, yet longer than four weeks

We have been in Lockdown since March 13. Stricter rules have been issued. The cleaning service will only spend 15 minutes in our house every other week and only if there is an emergency. Well, in our house, there isn’t. And although I had dragged my feet because I thought it would soon be over and then we would have our own cleaning lady back, I decided this week that I needed to order stuff from Amazon and go to work on toilets, floors and shower. I now have the necessities, even a spray bottle with a chlorine solution already in it. The tool to clean the toilets with disposable pads makes my old toilet brush seem a thing of the middle ages! In all probability my grandparents used one like this. I threw it in the trash (the old one that is). Now I can go on a cleaning spree. I just have not yet decided when!


Another rule of the House: everybody has to wear a mask when inside the building or meeting others outside. Would you believe that I have a friend somewhere back in Arizona, who not only is the greatest cook and takes care of a husband and five dogs, but she made 200 masks in a single day and donated them to two friends’ hospitals in Dan Diego! She offered me one – I could even choose the design – and it came yesterday. It’s lovely, very professional. Now I will be safely masked when I go to the Club for something. Hooray! One thing to remember about wearing a mask: do not put on makeup and certainly no lipstick! Is that an advantage or a disadvantage I ask you?

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,




A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-16

Easter 2020

Easter Sunday came and went quietly. We each found a pink Easter egg in our breakfast box and during the afternoon one of the staff came by with an Easter card and little jelly bean eggs. No chocolate eggs this year! Oh, how I love the Cadbury chocolate eggs with soft filling! And the Cadbury chocolate bars with all kinds of nuts! I have not had anything like that in years!

We watched the Easter church service on our iPad and were delighted with a beautiful solo sung by our daughter-in-law, Minister of Music of our church. It takes a lot of work to put something like that on line, but the advantage is that the family had the weekend off and we could watch at any time during the day. At night we Zoomed with all family members. It’s a new thing, and we have 40 minutes of free talking and laughing together and sharing news.

We spent the morning of the second day of Easter making phone calls, to family and friends in the Netherlands, and to a good friend in Boston for her birthday. Each call lasted about an hour and we laughed a lot. Walks around our beautiful property filled the rest of the day, and at night we watched The Call of the Wild with Harrison Ford, a delightful movie.

Tuesday was cleanup and laundry day, and here we are and it’s Wednesday already! The manager, in an email, notified us that he is limiting the cleaning service in the apartments to only emergency cleaning in an effort to have even less outside contact with the residents. Last week, without asking, we were “put back on the schedule” of the general cleaning service and four cleaning girls came and cleaned the shower and the toilets and mopped the kitchen floor. That was a pleasant surprise. But now all cleaning except emergency cleaning has been stopped abruptly. What would emergency cleaning entail, I wonder? Blood or overflowing toilets? Hm. Thank goodness we have none of that. I will gladly go back to cleaning the necessities. I did it once, I can do it again. But the one thing I am looking forward to is that our own cleaning lady is allowed back in. That will be extra hard working for her and worth celebrating for us!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,










A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-15

My early morning walk

Our peaceful neighborhood, early in the morning, the shadows still long. The sound of a solitary goose, who had come back to our pond where she was born; but she had lost her mate last fall in a car accident at the entrance to the freeway, and now she is lonely. Geese are protected and “have the right of way”, but the driver did not see him because he went too fast. Desperate cries up in the treetops are coming from a black raven, who flutters wildly in circles, trying to scare the hawk who is sitting on a branch, motionless, waiting for his chance to get to the raven’s nest. A large turtle, floating on the surface, his head high above the water, then suddenly diving down and out of sight. The blue heron, a regular here, flies in over the treetops, diving down onto the sandbank in the water, legs stretched behind him then lowering, like the wheels of an airplane, dropping down for the landing. The splashing sounds of the fountain, the white picket fence, the cottages across the street…it is all so lovely and so peaceful.

The row of cottages is lined with flowering trees. A robin, the same one every morning, sits on the ledge of the passenger door of a red truck, standing outside one of the cottages, trying to see his image in the outside mirror, meanwhile leaving his mark dripping down the side of the door. He then hops across the top to the other side and repeats his happy dance, admiring his reflection, loving it, loving it!

We watched a little bird doing the same thing in Hawai’i, on our Fiero; first we could not imagine what it was doing there, then we enjoyed the sight.

Skirts again!

It is summer! Temperatures reached the eighties in the last few weeks and I started to get my summer clothes out of the boxes. I love to wear skirts and I have quite a few. A few days ago I chose a three-tiered light blue denim skirt, an old time favorite. I donned my old cowboy hat for the sun. It’s a Peter Grimm, but the first one I had was better quality and lasted much longer than this one, which is showing signs of deterioration already. Sigh. I have loved my cowboy hats ever since we moved to Arizona. I started on my walk around the campus with Lani – once, twice. Then, when I was picking up after Lani, I found my skirt down around my knees! What?! Did anybody see it? I quickly pulled it up with one hand, maneuvering the leash and the full baggie in the other. If there were other people around, I’m sure they did not see anything – people here move slowly, so slowly! So I hurried home to assess the damage. Well, it was all good! I found out I had lost a pound since whenever I checked last, and all I had to do was take in the elastic in the waist and I can keep the skirt on my hips again!

A Precious Gift

Last week, I received a book titled: Forgotten Warriors II – Amphibious March Across the Pacific During WWII  Second Edition written by D. Ralph Young.

A few years ago, the author wrote me and asked if he could use the story he found on my Website about Runway Able for the second edition of his book Forgotten Warriors. I had forgotten all about him until he asked me for my address and sent me an autographed hardcopy of his book. When I started reading it I could hardly put it down. It is a masterpiece of detailed battles in the South Pacific and personal stories of his comrades, including mention of all the Medals of Honor awarded; with every battle the author lists the number of troops killed, wounded or captured of Allied as well as Japanese forces. He pays tribute to the Navy, Marines, Army, Submarines, Coast Guard, Seabees and Women.

The author at this time is 95 years old and his writing style is amazing; easy to read and understand, and so captivating, especially for me, whose life depended on the Japanese surrender in 1945. It is the most interesting total overview of the Pacific War I have read and I highly recommend it. And if you have no idea what or where Runway Able is, I invite you to check my website. Let me know if you found it! 🙂

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,






A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-15

I have to go to work! (Parallel to Mamma’s words in 1944, We are put to work. We had to follow a Jap with a bayonet on his rifle)

What a blessing that our circumstances in the Lockdown of Waltonwood are parallel to the incarceration in WWII, but a thousand times better.

Exactly two weeks ago, two cleaning ladies from Waltonwood came to our cottage for a two-hour “deep cleaning”. One hour of cleaning every other week is included in our rent, but after two months we were so disgusted with the quality of the cleaning that we hired our own cleaner, a lovely Mexican-American with two adult children and a little granddaughter. She comes every other week for two hours and does an excellent job. When we were asked to have the annual deep cleaning done we agreed, and gave our own lady a week off. Well, that’s once but never again. After two weeks, the shower shows black and yellow mildew on the floor, the top of the shower pan and in the grout from the floor up all the way to my shoulders.

The sad thing is that we are in lockdown, so our cleaner is not allowed to come this Monday. I had to go to work. I don’t have appropriate tools anymore, but I made it work. First I cleaned both toilets; that was easy enough. Then I dissolved a tablet of Clorox I had bought in an empty milk bottle – I do have a spray bottle, but I use that for my plants. Anyway, I’ll make a long story short. With the toilet brush and a scrub sponge I scrubbed walls and the floor and the edges of the shower pan after I had splashed some Clorox everywhere. Rinsed it all off with the shower and my loofah on a stick. Too bad that we don’t have a hand held shower, that would have made its easier. Now I have to get myself a new loofah when the lockdown is lifted. What a blessing that I have a cleaning lady, and such a good one! And it was a joy to take a clean shower the following morning.

Our meals are still delivered twice a day. As a surprise, because we don’t have live entertainment, they came with the golf cart an hour before dinner and presented us with a glass of red wine each, for Happy Hour. And on Friday, our regular Happy Hour, they repeated that.

One of our neighbors ventured off campus to go to Trader Joe’s and asked if she could bring anything for us. Trader Joe’s has special hours for seniors, from 9 – 10 a.m., and let only 10 people in at a time, she said. We had a short list, fresh fruit, crackers and a bunch of Alstroemerias. We can last another two weeks at least, with the supplies we have; so we feel blessed.

Victims of The Virus

Two days ago, we were shocked to read in an article in the Sun Valley, Idaho, newspaper, that there was a second person in Idaho to die from coronavirus. It was one of our friends. That was a terrible shock. Pete and his wife became our friends in 1972, when we had moved to Pasadena. We attended the same church, Bible Study, small group, until we moved to Hawai’i and they to Sun Valley. At 86, Pete was the epitome of good health; he always volunteered for things, gave blood when needed, was a ski instructor, and they sang in the church choir. They traveled a lot to faraway places an we kept in touch with Christmas cards and letters. It is unknown how he contracted the virus; his wife does not have it and could not even be with him when he died. Oh, this all really shocked us – one of our friends! We pray that we and all our families will stay healthy.

Another, even more depressing message reached us from the Netherlands. One of our oldest friends, one of three couples who were witnesses at our wedding in 1961, passed away with Corona. It is so hard to realize, to understand that this happened so close to home. Who will be next?

It’s better not to dwell on the dark clouds, but look for the silver lining, like Mamma used to do. So on every walk, I am enjoying the beautiful flowering trees that grow around us.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,