Tuesday, January 31, 2012

P.S. to my New Year's letter

This may be the first of several P.S.'s to my New Year's Letter posting...... this is how my memory works these days.....   Anyway.... I forgot to mention a wonderful happening in my family's life that happened in May of 2011.   My Dad volunteered at the Walker School in Needham for many years as a very active Boardmember.  For much of this time he was President of the Board.  He spent many hours per week dedicating himself to the betterment of this organization.... as school for emotionally troubled adolescents.

Well..... soon after Dad's Memorial service in December, I received a call from the Executive Director of Walker School, Rick Small.   The school was celebrating it's 50th anniversary in May of 2011 and they wanted Dad to be one of the 5 honorees to be recognized at the big Gala in Boston.   Henry and I knew how much his work at Walker had meant to Dad so we were simply thrilled.  To really celebrate the event we reserved a table for Henry, me, Peter and Cindy, along with Aaron, Emmajane, and Parker... plus good friends Marcia Litchfield and Barbara Cincotta.  The guys rented tuxes and we hired a limousine for the occasion so we could all drive in together.   I think the fact that the whole family attended the event would have been the single most gratifying part of whole evening for my Dad.  It was such a memorable time for us as a family and a fitting honor for Dad.....

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Years Greetings from the Richards Family

A Nantucket family walk  

Last year we celebrated our final Holiday season as Vermont residents.  Parker, especially,
 had specific ideas of how we should spend it.  Most important... he wanted family to be at 
our home in Vermont.  Uncle Henry, his girlfriend Cindy, Aaron, and Emmajane joined us 
for a wonderful few days.  We cross-county skied, went to a movie together, ate out, ate in,
 gave and received gifts, lounged and conversed.... an excellent final Vermont Christmas.  
 In November my Dad lost his battle with Parkinson's/Altzheimers and in the beginning of 
December we had a lovely Memorial to him which was held at Babson College.... 
so many terrific tributes and memories were shared.... certainly Dad and Mom were with 
us in spirit for this holiday celebration.  

With the new year came amped up preparations for our move to Nantucket including a 
target official moving date... Auguat 1st.  Another important date was March 31st... 
Peter's final day at the radio station... His retirement officially began on April 1st!  
He had been with Hall Communications for over 30 years and was definitely ready and
 happy to be able to retire.   I continued to work at my job at Child Care Resource until 
June 30th.  I had been there for over 15 years.... while I loved my work with parents 
and families.... I was ready for a change as well!  

The biggest unknown for us in terms of our moving away from Vermont was of course, 
Parker.  He had reluctantly okayed the move.  Not many teenagers would be happy about 
pulling up roots in the only home they had ever known and Parker was no different but at 
least Nantucket was somewhat of a known quantity as he has been coming to the island 
since he was 5 weeks old.  Well, Parker is doing just great... academically and beyond as 
he has joined the staff of the school newspaper ("Veritas") and joined the Sailing Club as
 well.  He and a classmate are also starting a Debate Club this coming semester.  
Needless to say, we are thrilled with how well he has adjusted to this big transition 
in our lives...  

Our actual move to Nantucket took place on August 1st.... I made my first one-way ferry
 reservation for July 31st for us and our one car to go over.  We decided to keep our 
smaller (better mileage) car in a lot on the mainland so we could make quick, relatively
 inexpensive trips over when necessary.  We found a lot with very reasonable monthly 
rates.  This has turned out to be an excellent and useful idea so far for those quick jaunts
 off the island.... 

We have now been living permanently on island for a little over 5 months.  We were 
dealing with unpacking boxes for at least the first 3 months.  My recollection of our 
move from Massachussetts to Vermont waaay back in 1984 is that we whipped open those
 boxes and got everything unpacked, installed, displayed, arranged... all within a few 
days.... This was not the case at all with this move.  Some of this slowness could be 
attributed to the fact that that we moved into a house that was already fully furnished 
and decorated... so we were constantly faced with decisions of what to keep and what 
to get rid of.... this proved to be exhausting!    Now, in January, the only boxes left to 
unpack are under Parker's bed and I'm not going there!   

Our animals - bulldog Abigail (who will be 10 in April) and cat siblings Sirius and Minerva 
(who will be 9 in February) are adjusting famously to the move.  The cats love running up
 and down the stairs and lounging in the sunny spots on our bed and couch.  Abigail is
 the ultimate couch potato!  She is really showing her age.... has some arthritis but 
in general is in good health...   They actually are happier here than in Vermont I believe
 because they have us around all the time.  

In addition to these three we have two more cat additions to our household menagerie... 
Vicky, who was originally my parent's cat, then went to my brother (we took Winnie their
 dog at the time), and Henry asked if we could take Vicky with us on Nantucket as between
 him and his girlfriend, Cindy, they had 8 cats!   Vicky does not really like other cats and 
is residing happily in Parker's bedroom.   For the time being we are also fostering a shelter
 cat, Gato... a very sweet formerly semi-feral cat who had lived at the shelter for over a 
year.  When the shelter switched from being run by the MSPCA to being volunteer-run.. 
all the shelter animals needed to be adopted or fostered out so we have had Gato since 
mid-December.   He's a sweet, sociable kitty (with humans) who unfortunately has
 tested positive for FIV so needs to be in his own room.  He has the downstairs TV room
 and he and Peter have taken to watching football together....  

Some highlights of our first 5 months here: 

* Parker's success and happiness (so far)
* Volunteering opportunities - The animal shelter, the library, tutoring ESL students 
(future hospital volunteering for Peter) 
* The Unitarian Universalist fellowship - great group of people... we have been really 
enjoying the services and are about to become members of the congregation... Peter 
was brought up Unitarian and my mother always said "it's the next best thing to 
being Jewish"!
* Our first book group experience together! 
* Biking and walking individually and as a family (kind of nice not to have to navigate
 those Vermont hills!) 
* Visits from friends and family.... we welcome more in 2012!  
* Being in this house that was so special to my entire family 
* Living on the island where Peter and I met and were married

A couple of (sort of) lowlights:  

* We do miss the close proximity to our friends in Vermont... email and Facebook does
 help a little.
* The crowds in August were pretty overwhelming... we know now when we should take a 
trip off island! 
* Wind!  I believe I've mentioned this in an earlier blog... the wind is almost always a
 part of our weather... and it impacts everything.

That's all for now.... I will be continuing with my blog though out 2012... Please feel free
 to check in from time to time!