Bob Gelbach is still busy. “I’ve been doubly retired for eleven years now, first from Southern Connecticut State University after 32 years in the political science department, and later as executive director of Trauma Recovery (aka EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program), a small international NGO that trains clinicians and treats PTSD in post-disaster environments. My late wife, Katherine Davis, drew me into that second job, where she had been a longtime clinician/volunteer.
“Since her death and my second retirement, I have been keeping up with our four adult children and five grandchildren scattered across the country. I also moved away from New Haven to upstate New York with my new life partner, Marjorie. (We met online, by the way.) And I am still pretty busy these days on the Saugerties Democratic Committee, Ulster County Community Services Board, Hudson Valley Jewish Voice for Peace, and Ulster Immigrant Defense Network. Margie and I are taking a needed break from all that in February for a trip to Joshua Tree, California.”
Jack Jarzavek reports: “We have sold our apartment in Arezzo, Italy, after enjoying it for 21 years. Italian law decrees that sellers and buyers must be at the closing. Norman and I had spent October there cleaning out the apartment and getting it ready to put on the market. I had 950 scholarly books to sell and thankfully did so—some dating back to Wesleyan courses. (Not to worry, we still have about 2,000 books here in our Boston apartment.) Arezzo is the home to Italy’s oldest antiquarian fair where you can buy a Romanesque painting alongside a Mickey Mouse watch. I had bought books from a number of dealers over the years and fortunately got one of them to purchase the library. When we returned to Boston in November and COVID exploded, flights got canceled, and we dreaded the thought of making it back for the closing. Fortunately, Norman discovered a loophole late in December and we signed papers earlier this week, had them notarized, and sent them off to the notary in Italy. No, we are not sad about selling our place. It was time.”
It’s okay to retire more than once. Robert Rideout should know. “My first time was after a 32-year career with the federal government, mostly at the Office of Management and Budget. I retired early so I could devote more time to the senior high youth group at our church. The illness of one of our members led me to my second career as a pediatric chaplain at a children’s hospital in northern Virginia and later in Columbus, where Marti and I moved in 2005. Along the way I was ordained in the Episcopal Church, where I served in nearby Dublin, Ohio, for 12 years. In early 2020 I retired for good both from Nationwide Children’s Hospital here and from the church in Dublin. Marti retired in 2020 after a 60-year career in church music. During that time, she served as organist-choirmaster at churches in New York, Virginia, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Now we’re enjoying watching our six grandchildren, ages 13–24, as they progress through school and college here in Ohio, and in California and New York. Our son, Brian, is a Marine Corps colonel at Camp Pendleton, California. Our daughter, Lissa, teaches French and is co-principal of a middle school here in Columbus.”
It all began in early 2019, says Gordon Berger: “I traveled to Phoenix with a grandson for MLB Spring Training; then to Lima, Machu Picchu, and the Galapagos in March, and to the Italian countryside in May. But one misstep above the Cinque Terre villages took me tumbling down the mountainside, cracking vertebrae as I went. A helicopter rescue was an unexpected thrill, followed by hospitalization in Genoa and a flight to Los Angeles. I completed a full rehabilitation, and in February 2020, the pandemic appeared.
“Lynne, my partner of 40 years (and my wife for the last 9), and I have so far dodged the virus. We visited friends and family in the San Francisco area; spent an August week with Lynne’s family in the Poconos; savored Santa Fe again; and joined my sister travelling to Asheville, the site of the summer work camp we attended in the mid-1950s. Now we spent a pleasant afternoon at the golf course where the camp had been located.
“Once home, we were able to move our psychoanalysis/psychotherapy practices online, but my plan to cut back on clinical hours and travel more hasn’t really worked out. Instead, the psychological impact of the pandemic has increased my clinical schedule by 25% and my next trip to see mentors and old friends in Tokyo is on hold.
“For all that, we feel privileged to have survived the virus without personal loss. Our daughter has blessed us with eight grandchildren, who in turn have contributed another ten additions to the family tree. And the presence of Cooper, our new Cobberdog puppy, has enlivened our household and promises better times ahead.”
JAN VAN METER | firstname.lastname@example.org; 845/657-2465