Day 2, Boston…A thoughtful gesture from the hotel…Tom’s new laptop…Mini shopping spree!…Sad memories…

The generous gift sent to our hotel room by management of Four Points by Sheraton Norwood.

We apologize for the lack of photos today.  Many photos will be posted tomorrow.  Yesterday’s required shopping left me needing my hands free and thus, no additional photos. 

Yesterday morning, after meeting Kelli Boyer in catering at Four Points by Sheraton Norwood as she hosted morning coffee in the lobby we engaged in a delightful conversation. I felt as if I’d known her for a long time.

Later in the day after returning to our hotel room after a much needed and enjoyed shopping trip with Cousin Phyllis, I was pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful platter in our room containing fruit and cheese accompanied by a full bottle of Pinot Noir and Pellegrino. 

As a gift from Kelli and the hotel management, we couldn’t have felt more appreciative of the kind gesture. It’s always the little things in life that leave us feeling warm and fuzzy, often, the most simple gestures, with the most heartfelt of intentions.

Yesterday morning at 10 am we arrived at Costco in Dedham, MA, purchased a new membership when the old membership had expired long ago. Immediately, we dashed to the laptop department and were disappointed to find that they didn’t carry Acer laptops.

The options were few when Tom wanted to replace his cracked screen laptop with one with one terabyte with a lighted keyboard and Windows 8.1. With screams of protest by millions of Windows 8 users worldwide, Microsoft has reduced the installations of Windows 8 or 8.1 worldwide on new computers.

With no laptops in stock meeting his criteria, he had no choice but to purchase the HP display model. Neither of us have ever been motivated to buy a floor model of any product fearing, as most do, it would be inferior in some manner.

In this case, with little time or motivation to shop further, he decided to make the purchase for US $100 less than the already reduced US $599. After tech support worked on it for a while to bring it back to its factory settings, we perused the huge store, in awe of everything we saw. 

We felt like kids in a candy store on visual overload. With no room for additional weight or space in our luggage we only purchased a pack of four much-needed battery-powered toothbrushes, a shaver, and blades package for me that should last a year at US $29. (We can’t believe the cost of razor blades these days).

With women’s razor blades in short supply outside the US, as we moved from location to location I’ve had no choice but to purchased packages with a new shaver and one extra blade at grocery stores outside the US. It was impossible to ever find replacement blades for any of the razors I’ve purchased having to buy new razors every few months. Very confusing. 

After the US $585 purchase at Costco, we headed back to our hotel to drop off Tom and our purchases. He had no interest in shopping with Phyllis and I. She arrived at noon to pick me up for a shopping trip and lunch. 

The prior evening she had insisted on taking our laundry to her favorite laundress to have it washed, dried and folded. The bag was so heavy Tom carried it out to her car. 

When she arrived the next morning, the laundry was done at a meager cost of only US $23! We’d spent US $34 washing and drying a mere two loads in London while we sat and waited for almost two hours.  We were grateful Phyllis helped us. There’s simply not enough time in Boston to sit in a Laundromat.

As mentioned earlier I needed to purchase bras at Victoria’s Secret, a few lightweight cardigan type sweaters at Phyllis’s favorite outlet store, and toiletries from a Walgreen’s store. Three new bras later at US $148 (no photos necessary), two cardigans, and a shirt later, we headed to lunch. 

By 4:30 we were back at our hotel room where we saw the beautiful fruit, cheese, wine, and water tray sent by management as appreciation for our mention and quasi review in yesterday’s post.

Never having expectations of any type for posting excellent comments about venues, we were shocked and pleased. We nibbled on what we could sending Phyllis home with the remainder. 

Last night, exhausted from not enough sleep due to the many time changes over the last week sailing across the ocean, we had a casual mediocre dinner at Outback, returning to our hotel by 9 pm.

Today, we’ll pick up Phyllis at her home in Stoughton in time for me to help her with a few computer issues.  Then, we off to pick up Uncle Bernie so we can all head to the cemetery of our beloved family.

Of course, it’s raining.  It rained the day was Father was buried in October 1960. Regardless of the weather, we’re going. If we stood outside in the rain for 90 minutes in Versailles, France, we can stand in the rain at my Father and other family member’s gravesites.

With little time for taking photos in this past almost 48 hours in Boston, we wrap up this short post today. In less than one hour, we’re out the door once more.

Tomorrow, we’ll post the story of my Father’s tragic death with photos. It will be an emotional experience for me and for Tom, an experience of information gathering to enter into Ancestry.com. 

Perhaps today, the visit with 95-year-old Uncle Bernie may fill in some of the blank in my family history that has been impossible to find. Oddly, he has more of a passion for family history than I. Some love researching their family history and others are ambivalent about it.

I guess in generations to come, our family need only read this blog to discover more information than they’d ever want or need. Ah, would that any of us could read about our grandparent’s lives and world travels in the 1920s.

See you tomorrow, albeit with red-rimed eyes and a lump in my throat as my long-ago past is quickly brought into the forefront surely eliciting a sense of sorrow and loss, hopefully ending in a sense of discovery and peace.

                                        Photo from one year ago today, September 16, 2013:

We weren’t sure if this was a monkey or baboon in the window of the thatched roof of a neighboring house in Kenya, where we lived for three months, one year ago. For details of that date, please click here.

 

 

Boston, Massachusetts, our hotel booking for next September…why Boston?…a sorrowful loss lingers on…

My parent’s wedding photo.

Spending the first 10 years of my life living in sunny California, I was saddened when our parents told my two sisters and I that due to our father’s employment and desire to be near his mother in her later years, we were leaving our ranch home in Long Beach to move to Boston. 

Our grandmother, whom we adored, owned a triplex on a dreary residential neighborhood with a state mental institution at the end of the street to be found by a relatively short walk up the steep road, difficult to navigate in the snow and ice of winter. 

In 1958, we left that California home, which my parents rented long term to the baseball player, Gil Hodges from the LA Dodgers.  Moving into the main floor of our grandmother’s triplex in Boston was traumatic.  I felt frightened by the neighborhood, the school, the mental patients who wandered aimlessly in the streets during the day and were prompted to return to the hospital at night by the sound of an earsplitting horn.

In a perpetual state of terror, I remained quiet and to myself focusing on my studies.  My father meant the world to me. 

In those days, children didn’t speak of being frightened, fearful that parents would disapprove of weakness.  His gentle demeanor along with his frequent hugs and kisses went far in helping us get through.

In October 1960, my father was killed in an industrial accident, living three days with third degree burns over 98% of his body. 

Life was changed forever.  How could I live without him?  He is buried in Boston.  Soon, I will visit his grave.  I still miss him today.

A few months later at Christmas, my mother and 16 year old sister who was granted a driver’s license only days before we left, drove us the long scary drive back to California.  We spent Christmas Eve in a dumpy hotel in Lubbock, Texas.  No gifts, no celebration, only sorrow filled hearts.  I was 12 years old. My younger sister was four years old, sent ahead on an airplane with my mother’s parents, our grandparents, who’d come from their home in California to Boston for our father’s funeral.

We moved into an apartment while waiting for Gil Hodges’ lease to run out. It was almost another full year, requiring us to change schools two more times.

Moving back into that house was angst ridden.  At that point, the emotional toll over the loss of this beloved man was almost more than we could bear.  Each of our lives became fraught with sorrow but somehow filled with an unstoppable desire to survive and… to succeed. 

In our own ways, each of the three of us sisters, found a determination only grief can manifest.  Today, the three of us couldn’t be closer, loving and respectful of one another and able to laugh together as with no one else.

In 1976, the last time I was in Boston, my sisters and I returned to visit our grandmother and family members (with whom we’d stayed in close touch over the years) and to visit our father’s grave.

Returning on September 14, 2014, once again I’ll see our few remaining family members, my dear cousin and my treasured uncle, my father’s brother, who continues to enjoy life at the age of 94.  And, once again, I’ll visit my father’s grave.  The prospect of this visit fills me with a deep sorrow that tightens my throat, as the tears flow freely.

This, is why we chose a cruise ship from London that ends in Boston.  Tom, an ancestry.com buff, has pieced together not only his roots but mine as well.  He’ll be at my side both in love and in his desire to complete some of the missing pieces in my family history.

Many of you have known such loss, easily relating to my story.  Recently, a dear friend on Facebook shares her loss of a sister and in her grief, I am brought back to my own, as some of you may feel on this part of the journey with me.

Life is short.  Life is fragile.  Life is filled with ways in which we can heal and which in essence, becomes a choice.  It’s a choice to celebrate the life of the ones we’ve lost, of the ones we’ve loved and to carry with us the gifts that their lives gave us, that linger on forever.

Here’s the link to our hotel in Norwood, Massachusetts, close to Boston.  The hotel required payment in full for the good rates we received for an upgraded room for these dates:

Room charges
Sunday, September 14, 2014
$175.00
Monday, September 15, 2014
$175.00
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
$175.00
Tax recovery charges and service fees
$61.44
Total
$586.44