heaven in brooklyn

Julia with our dear friends from Italy.

“And live like this is heaven on earth.”

Second morning waking up in Carolina’s apartment in brooklyn.  And for many reasons and no reason at all, I am very happy.  My dear friend whose living body is no longer on this plane, whose mind slowly faded for longer than Julia has been home, taken care of always by a dear husband, D.  We are staying with D and I take in the home as Carolina’s. We talk of partner death, our experiences as different as they could possibly be. And we are left the same.

I move around their Brooklyn flat with the ease of almost 40 years of knowing.  It has been D who has care for it exclusively for many years now and yet, still I see and feel Carolina.  Honestly, I don’t know what influence is hers and what his.  I wonder what, if anything, is left of David in my house. Probably only Cheshire could make the guess.

Julia and I are here for a few days, two weeks before more serious travels, to visit with my dear Italian friend who is spending the week here.  We stay in Park Slope, she in the West Village.  We are with a friend, she is at an AirB&B. We spent the afternoon at the Met after Julia got sick from a too large breakfast. She threw up on a carpet waiting on line for the Ladies.  Damn those impossible lines.  I felt awful, but this was the first time in my memory that she did that and she had no idea how close she was. 

Possibly bazaar thought: Julia left some her herself at the Met.  Possibly a story to tell when they hang some of her work.  Yes, I am the ambitious mom.

After a long, light lunch where Julia could lie across two chairs, she recovered sufficiently to enjoy the museum.  Spending time in the African and southern American rooms and moving to the modern wing—no classical Mediterranean or Egyptian for our visitors from Torino.

We closed the place and then walked and took subways and searched forever for a restaurant in the Village.  It has been way too long for me to have any idea of where to eat.  Julia strikes up conversations with many more strangers than ever before.  The family she talked to in the Met cafeteria were willing conversation partners—when I thanked them as we left, the mom said she wished her older son was as social. Julia talks to waiters and bus boys, some of them very challenged by her too fast English that doesn’t always make social sense.  If we stand still for almost any reason apart from looking at art, she had comments for someone standing near by.  I monitor and watch but don’t automatically pull her away.   I rescue her or her talking partner if needs be and sometimes cut in to end exchanges and say goodby.  I thing I am helping her social skills in natural environments, but am I?

Anyone who is reading and has some ideas, please weigh in.  I could use the input.

Late last night, returning to Brooklyn, I ask for some direction but walking, I immediately recognize where I am.  For all the change, there is some same.  I find my way home. The walks and waits are easy. My comfort does not surprise me.

Oh, NYC.  Like an old lover who is impossible to get over.  No matter how sensible and/or easy it is to live anywhere else, a day in this too crowded, too noisy, too expensive urban sprawl and I am smitten again.  And I think would do anything to get back but is this a city for old ladies without a hearty bag of gold?

We start this day slowly and quietly—Emerson Street back home is a construction mess and so impossibly noisy that Park Slope, Brooklyn is a slice of peace. We sit on a park bench in Prospect Park.  I tap on the iPad, julia draws and write in what I’ve designated as her Art Journal for our summer adventures.  Kites fly in the Great meadow, nannies walk their charges, lovers picnic on blankets, noisy preteens talk too loudly about nothing.  Little dogs bark ferociously at big dogs and another preteen greets a passing teacher. Traveling I am cut free from my daily round, my daily stresses, even hopes and dreams.  I notice and absorb.  I am.  Simply am.  

If that is not heaven, I don’t know what is.


“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”  ~~William W. Purkey


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