A New Life! Retirement at its Best 113

Christmas 2019

At the end of every year, thinking back to Christmases past, we take the time to reconnect with people that were important to us. Long-time friends, former neighbors, relatives, for a few weeks we write cards, write an annual newsletter, send e-cards or make phone calls. We look forward to getting mail or email back. At our age, especially if we have not heard from them for a year, it reassures us that friends are still alive. Pictures cards show us that friends have aged (but somehow still look the same), their families have grown to proudly show children and grandchildren.

Christmas is also a time to give gifts and enjoy receiving them. Last Sunday, my Goddaughter and her two girls came to visit us. She was born in the Netherlands, where we lived at the time, and she lived just down the street from us with her parents and older sister. I was honored to hold the little baby at her christening. It was during the start of the nineteen seventies, the time of short skirts, hot pants and wigs. I had all of those. I remember what I was wearing: a light green, short sleeved knit dress I had made from beautiful material produced by Mike’s knitting mill. I asked the baby’s parents, our friends, “Would you like me to wear my wig or not?” They said, “That is up to you, either way will be nice.” And so I wore my beautiful, shoulder-length wig.

Today, many years later, my Goddaughter and I ended up living not too far from each other in North Carolina. She brought me a book for my birthday. It’s a book I will never read: Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett. The treasure is in what she did with it: an incredibly beautiful, detailed work of art, a Christmas Castle. My picture does not do it justice. But you can get an impression of the artistic creation she made for me, the love and time she spent on it: an unequalled treasure.

The day after Christmas, December 26, is my birthday! This year, a day after Christmas, I celebrated my 81st. I am so blessed to be 81 and healthy! We celebrated at our son’s home, where our daughter-in-law cooked a special Indonesian meal for me, including Krupuk, which she fried on the BBQ in the driveway. For dessert my friend in Tucson had sent me a spekkoek, a real Indo dessert. And, because I love desserts, and I was not sure my grandchildren would like a strange dessert like spekkoek, I made one chocolate pecan pie and one lemon pecan pie, which turned out picture-perfect and delicious! It was the first time in two and a half year that I baked something, for which I had to buy butter and eggs and lemon juice and pecans and chocolate chips! It was fun!

One of my grandsons told me that being born in Surabaya on December 26 at 7:30 a.m., meant that here in North Carolina that was 7:30 p.m. on Christmas Day! Oh! How special is that? To be a United States Citizen who was born on Christmas day in 1938! I am truly blessed.

My dear friends,                  HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

                                                      MAY YOU HAVE A HAPPY, HEALTHY NEW YEAR!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,


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