Beth’s times in Montreal qualified for the Parapan American Games in Rio de Janeiro to be held in August. Saving money for the probable trip to China, I decided not to fly to Brazil, especially since Peggy would travel on the U.S. team.
One April morning in pouring rain, Beth met her co-workers from John Kerry’s office in the town of Hopkinton.
The Senator arrived, greeted Beth by name, and led the way to the start of the Boston Marathon wheelchair race, moving cones out of the way for her. John Kerry’s daughter shared her umbrella with Beth. The Boston staff asked her to work in the Senator’s office for another school year. Beth reluctantly declined to open up a little breathing room as a senior.
In Tiffin, John and I mapped out our move from Ohio to the East Coast.
I worked most days at the nursing home while John taught his last months in Ohio. Our furniture cost too much to transport, so we made plans to sell it. John created signs for a big garage sale. We evaluated every item large and small to keep, sell, or donate. I tossed most of the stuff accumulated over 30 years into garage sale boxes. We planned to move in a few carloads.
I had filled three Amish cedar chests with childhood keepsakes, one for each of my kids.
Maria had hers in Massachusetts. John and I drove another to Ben in Columbus. He worked as a supervisor for ADP and planned for graduate school. The chest reminded him of gerbil bedding because of the cedar scent. To simplify his upcoming move to graduate school, Ben gave away the chest to his cousin in Columbus but kept most of the contents.
We kept family treasures.
My Grandma Barnes’ fancy bowl with etchings on clear crystal always held fresh fruit on my kitchen counter. As a child, I sat at her kitchen table near the bowl and a plate of molasses raisin cookies. My grandma put ice cubes in my glass of milk, a habit I thought peculiar. From her kitchen, I had a clear view of a small room with tables full of blooms, a collage of color. I loved the lavenders, creams, pinks, and blues. Some solid, some variegated, some fancy with ruffles. In a clear glass jar, green stems with roots floated in water, a nursery for baby plants. The room full of African violets captivated me, a soft-spoken child who dunked cookies in iced milk.
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