T oday I have walked through a time warp. I looked inside closets opened drawers and fingered knickknacks. I examined someone else’s treasures the props that form a story — an evolution of sorts — the story of Bubby and Zayde.
Bubby and Zayde’s first move was their first foray at downsizing after retirement. They moved from their sprawling ranch in North Carolina to a three-bedroom apartment in Cedarhurst across from David’s Pizza. With their big move they left behind their backyard and its vegetable garden and the deer that would come to nibble Bubby’s tomato plants and green beans. The fishpond in the front yard was drained and the fireplace with its wooden mantle converted into an electric one with a fake log.
They also said goodbye to the tens of grandfather clocks and cuckoo clocks Bubby collected over the years. Bubby was a homemaker and collecting clocks became Bubby’s hobby while Zayde worked. Always handy the mechanisms piqued her interest and she cared for each one — the classic mahogany mantle clock that sat over their fireplace for years; the antique clocks with curlicue numbers; the standing grandfather clock with curious symbols on it; and the cuckoo clock with a wood chopper who on the hour wielded an ax chopping to our delight. Whenever we would visit Bubby and Zayde would use their special clock keys to wind up every clock in the house. As the hour struck we children were treated to a cacophony of chimes.
Bubby said goodbye to the basement where she doctored her clocks and kept her crafting supplies and dried her flower arrangements. In their new apartment she kept all her tools on the bottom shelf of their kitchen pantry. There she would use her tools to replace old batteries sitting cross-legged on the kitchen floor together with my little son whenever the electronic toys would lose their voice.
And they said farewell to their friends but not to the years of friendship. They took leave of their weekly bridge group and the friends they’d eat out with on Sunday evenings who would follow them home to continue their conversation on their ivory couch dinner leftovers safe in the fridge with their car keys perched on top — a sure way to remember their leftovers for Monday lunch. With their move Bubby and Zayde left mementos with their friends. They gave many of their clocks away to friends in North Carolina and then packed the rest up to take along with them.
They moved close to their children grandchildren and great-grandchildren and made their family their priority. With their apartment on Central Avenue our visits always included pizza or ice cream along with snacks from Bubby’s pantry and my kids loved to go.
I’ve always thought of my grandparents as the quintessential “growing-old-gracefully” couple. They moved close to family in their prime and had taken advantage of retirement by marking each year with another adventure. They’d been steadily crossing off different adventures from their bucket list. There was the trip down the Mississipi on a giant rowboat the luxury cruise boat that took them to Italy and trips to China the Galapagos Islands and Africa. (Excerpted from Family First Issue 570)
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