Looking back. Looking forward
Retirement comes suddenly. In the blink of an eye, I’m looking back on a thirty year career. There will be time. Right now, there’s a new life to look forward to.
I visited my friends Carol and Dan in Delray Beach, Florida where they escape from the harsh Michigan winter. I spent four days with them in the midst of the coldest Florida winter in three decades. Despite freezing temperatures, two sunny days allowed us to enjoy breakfast at the beach and a leisurely stroll past the trendy Palm Beach shops on Worth Avenue. An avid photographer, Dan took me on a couple of photo safaris. Morkiami Museum and Japanese Gardens is a photographer’s delight. Though it rained, it’s difficult not to get at least a few good photos. Sunday afternoon we attended a concert at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach. Carol and I share a long history having known each other since junior high school days. It’s always a joy to be with Carol and Dan.
I visited the Chimera of Arezzo exhibition at the Getty Villa. It snowed in Ridgecrest. My friend, Cheryl, turned 50.
Mary’s dad, Charles Gnecco, died February 8. The family had a memorial celebration of “Pa’s” life on March 28. It was a beautiful sunny day as we gathered on the patio of Mary and Dick’s home. Pa’s children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren shared memories and loving words about the man who was so much a part of their lives. Pa and I had a close bond. He treated me like a son. I once told him that if I’d had the choice, he’s the dad I would have chosen. A major sports fan, he received an appropriate send off with “Take Me out to the Ball Game” sung by his great grandchildren. I hope you’re enjoying the best seat at all the games, Pa. We miss you.
Grandkids children are more precious than they know.
My last day of work was May 19. My first day of retirement was June 1. I spent nine and a half years at Cerro Coso College. I enjoyed the challenges those years gave me. Walking out of the library for the last time meant leaving behind what I love most about the community college. Watching the transformation that takes place in students from the time they enter the college to the day they graduate is its own reward. I will miss being a part of that process.
The grandkids love Grammie and Papa Dick’s swimming pool. So do the dogs.
I sold my home in Ridgecrest, put my furniture in storage, and drove down the hill to Bakersfield. Mary and Dick provided a place for Robbie and me to live while waiting for escrow to close on my new house, Mary wanted to tackle a couple of redecorating projects, so I gave her a hand. We put Venetian plaster on the pantry walls, painted the fireplace wall in the family room, and painted the guest bathroom. Mary used a sponge technique on a wall in the bathroom that turned out very well.
Escrow closed on my new house August 2. I spent three months remodeling. Though the house was new, I replaced carpeting with tile, installed Silestone counter tops, installed cabinets and bookshelves in my studio, and painted. I moved in October 7 and spent the next two months getting settled.
The first six months of retired life were busy settling into a new home and a new life. I found my way into a writing group, reconnected with old friends from Taft College days, and purchased subscriptions to the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra and the Broadway Bakersfield series. I’m looking forward to enjoying retirement doing things I love most.