I’ll tell you about that later.  “Where’s My Backpack!”  That is the first title that came to mind.  I decided I needed to try a morning walk again.  I got up and went over to Cedarcrest to walk the same section of the trails there that I had walked almost daily with my backpack in training for the hikes in New Zealand.  This time I walked without the backpack.  I missed it!  I felt undressed without it.  I couldn’t get my heart rate up and raise my body temperature on this crisp morning.  It took about 45 minutes to get warm.  With the backpack on, it took me about ten minutes to start warming up. 

I had wondered ten weeks or so ago what I would do after the trip to stay in good condition.  Without the motivation of preparing for such a major goal, I knew it would be very difficult to stay fit.  I was right.  Jetlag has been my excuse for doing nothing physical since I returned, but this morning I just needed to walk.  It felt good.  Questions remain, should I take more swimming lessons, horseback riding lessons, work with a trainer doing strength exercises, walk with the backpack again? 

It is back to reality in terms of food consumption.  In the two months of travel I did not gain back so much as a pound of the over 20 pounds I lost preparing for the trip.  I suspect the amount of walking I did every day had some impact on that.  Now that I am back, no more Eggs Benedict for breakfast, daily mocha lattes or cappuccinos, gelatos, afternoon beer and supper at sidewalk cafés.  It is cereal for breakfast, hummus for lunch, and a small main dish with veggies for supper – also, of course, a cup of PT’s coffee (black).   

Now to Zingaro.  There were multiple large envelops of mail in a cardboard box that Son Micah had received for me, forwarded by the post office to his house.  I brought the box home two nights ago and started going through it.  There I found the invitation to my 50th High School Reunion – Class of 1961, West Aurora High School.  I opened it this evening, made out the check and walked it out to the mailbox.  There were 325 in the class.  My perception was that I was sort of a non-entity in terms of the social structure of the class.  I did have friends but for whatever reason (not sure why) I didn’t socialize outside of school.  At the same time, I was very active in the choir.  There I interacted with kids of all sorts who had music in common. 

Zingaro is the name of the musical a committee of the kids in the choir wrote.  The choir had a membership of 90.  Some (not me) even wrote songs for it.  I still remember sitting on the living room floor at one of the kid’s homes with a mock fire in the middle of the room, pretending we were Gypsies gathered around that fire.  The choir learned a folk dance (pretty much the Jewish Hora if I remember correctly).  Choir members made sets and constructed a stage in what was a gymnasium.  I got to sing one of the original songs, a duet with Pam.  I actually have a recording of that show.  My children just laughed when they heard me singing it on the record when I played it for them once (Mary Ann’s suggestion).   I thought it sounded sort of romantic, although the first line I sang was, “Right over there by that boundary over there is the girl of whom I’m dreaming.”  I guess I can understand why they laughed.  You had to be there to appreciate it. 

After looking at the invitation to the Reunion, I decided to look at the website for our class.   I had not checked it out in a long time.  I saw the Memorial Page.  It has grown in the number of those in the class who have died.  It is hard to accept that all those kids, who in my mind are still teenagers, are gone.  One that I had not seen before struck me.  While I did not have social standing, Nancy did.  Nancy sat in front of me in homeroom for more than one of the years of high school (certainly the senior year).  Our last names start with the same letter.  She was always gracious (exceedingly pretty) to me and never made me feel uncomfortable even though I was worlds away socially.  In high school those things mattered.  Her picture is on the Memorial Page.  I don’t know what happened to her, but she is one of the people I was looking forward to seeing. 

I need to practice reciting the first sentence of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer in Middle English just in case it comes up at some point in the Reunion.  It is my only parlor trick.  All of us who took Senior English with Miss Winteringham had to learn the prologue from memory.  The first sentence is all I remember.  She always claimed that someday we would be able to impress some potential date by reciting it.  Never happened!  

This afternoon included my return to the Hospice Grief Support Group.  It was good to again have that safe and non-judgmental community of folks with whom to share the challenges of grieving.   A number of us are dealing with feelings triggered by the approach of Mother’s Day.  Now that the long trip is over, I am interested in seeing how the grief work folds into this beginning of a new life without Mary Ann’s physical presence.  While I cannot yet describe or define it, there seems to be a different feel to the grieving and a different sense of self emerging now that I am back.  It is too soon to draw any conclusions about whether that different feel is real or lasting or just residual jet-lag. 

Enough for now.

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