Monday, June 10, 2013

"Fountain of Youth" (Part II)

The names contained herein have been changed to protect identities;
I have renamed them after Explorers and Adventurers.

At the Dance Studio, I met George, a quiet gentleman from Chile.  He had graduated from McMaster University...presently working at Stelco as a Research Chemist (specializing in metallurgical properties).  He was learning Fox Trot and Waltz...and there I was, with Latin American rhythms and dance step routines.  We developed a friendly relationship and met many times over a 2-year span.  I believed at that time, (although I wasn’t “infatuated” with him, nor was I “madly in love with him”), that proven friendship was the stepping stone to a solid relationship and successful marriage.  Within 2 years, we married and had two children.  Over the years our compatibility waned and after 16 years, we amicably separated...and later divorced.  What is Love?  Why did I not experience long-lasting Joy of Marriage?  The answers are a Mystery!

After a 5-year lay-off to be home with my children until both were in school, returning to an income now  became a necessity.  Soon I met Ferdinand, who was legally separated from his wife.  We were “therapists” for each other.  He became the excitement in my life...whether lunch or dinner or the game of  tennis.  His attention and ardour impressed me.  We enjoyed a few mini-vacations in the Caribbean.  This was wonderful while it lasted...until I discovered that he was living with a woman in Mississauga.  I was devastated!  He left me, realizing I knew about his “double life”...or was it a triple?

When my son was 12, Shirley, a long-time-friend, and I drove to Gray Rocks in the Laurentians, north of weeks for the three of us.  In my class was Simon (of Lebonese descent), a mechanical engineer from Pennsylvania.  He noticed that I fell several times on that first day and was quite concerned.  I explained that due to the frigid temperatures,  my goggles were continually fogging, which affected my visibility.  He invited me to join him at the apres-ski bar for a glass of refreshing that was...when you have leisure time to unwind, relax and  listen to a local band.  Next morning he met me at the ski shop, and to my amazement, offered me a pair of new ski goggles!  I was so grateful and impressed and asked him, “Why?”  His response, “So that every time you wear them, you'll think of me!”   How Romantic!  What a Dear Man!  We shared our 2-sessions daily with the Instructor...then free-skied,  following which we enjoyed the apres-ski lounge.  On Friday, our class was taken to Mont Tremblant for a fabulous ski day.  What an experience schussing down these magnificent mountain slopes! A few of us made plans to return to Tremblant over the long Easter weekend.  My Life once again, became Alive! 

Simon telephoned once or twice a week.  He invited me to join him for a ski-week at Heavenly in California near Lake Tahoe.  Sadly, I declined...I had two children “to family” who needed a parent at home.  When summer arrived, I spent two wonderful weekends with him in the Poconos.  This was “the man of my dreams”...who adored me, cared for me and whom I respected in the highest degree!  For the first time, I felt that I was truly in love.  Discussing my teenage son and younger daughter, we realized our life together would be complicated.  I could not take them out of Canada away from their father.  To me it was significant they continue to spend time together as they mature to adulthood.

Decision release myself from Simon and he from me was most difficult. Without him, I was weak, remorseful, unhappy, in tears!  How could I move forward without him?  He assured me, “You have greater strength than you realize!”  It was a sad day when we parted ...never to see each other again.  Flying home, I asked, “Why was I given this opportunity to meet such a wonderful whom I gave my heart and soul...then to see it crumble away?  As I flew into Toronto, the sun was setting beyond the horizon ~ I convinced myself that I must move on...the Sun will Rise Another Day!

Several years later, one of  my inquiring Real Estate clients  was Thor, continually seeking information about this property, that property...would view a few with me...nothing seemed to satisfy  him.  Finally he stated that he had no intention of buying soon...just waiting for some “fantastic deal”.  He enjoyed life since retirement from his business ventures.  He frequented the gym, he travelled to Palm Springs in California, to New Mexico for an annual Pow-Wows and wherever his fancy took him.  One Sunday afternoon, he rode his Harley Davidson motorcycle to my home.  My family was amazed!  Jimmy, my nephew, visiting us from Chile was impressed with this “bike”  since he rode a smaller one at home for his transportation to and from work. Everyone was thrilled to have a ride on Thor’s bike!  He was a “fun person”!  After spending a few years working and raising my children, he with his 1380 cc bike  gave me a “new lease on life” with a new-found sense of freedom.  We spent many road-days together.  Romantically, I had no interest in him...his company was enjoyable.  There is a unique “lure of motorcycling” ...the air, the roar of the engine, the acknowledgement of other bikers on the road ...the dress of leather jackets, boots, helmet and chaps. One such excursion was to locate a private island with a turn-of-the-century castle in the St. Lawrence River. Persistence paid off in contacting the Florida owners.  For a couple years I had a “private listing” on Jorstadt Castle…resulting in several showings and a couple offers on it! (Today it is known as “Singer Castle” and can be seen on Internet.)  My friendship with Thor ended when I became aware he had other women in his life…for various reasons.

Today, as I sit at my computer ~ when the bright sunlight streams through my window, to keep the rays from blinding my eyes,  I wear a royal blue trimmed pink peaked cap…Harley Honey…embroidered script written and showing four butterflies each side of the title.  There’s symbolic message here!

One Sunday evening, attending a dance in Milton with Jill, I met Leif…a wonderful dancer. Together we enjoyed dinners, the Big Bands who often performed at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto…the enormous dance floors, the dress-up occasions for gowns and tuxedos.  He was insistent upon more than mere interest.  He adored me and wanted to live with me, marry me…however I had no emotional attachment to him.  He was difficult to rid from my life…almost to the point of stalking…even (as a locksmith) changing the locks on my doors to provide himself with a key.  Friendship Ended…Forever!

One of my friends introduced me to Vasco, a local businessman who was semi-retired.  We met and  dined together a few times at local restaurants.  I learned very quickly that this man, although he wanted a lady in his life, was still devoted 95% to his business, operated by his son.  He had  nothing better to do with his time!  He proved to be unreliable, had no hobby or interests except for his daily bottle of red wine.  To me…this was a dead issue…and Bye, Bye!

* * * * * *
In mid 2006, I retired from business because of chronic degenerative osteo-arthritis and moved to a one-bedroom apartment…the next phase of my life! I had abandoned sports due to lack of physical ability. My life now needed adjustments.. I had a small design company…Mardadi Designs…creating accessory fashions for women, children and men.  I’ve enjoyed movies, staged theatrical productions, more extensive reading, lunching with friends, often playing duplicate bridge weekly at local clubs.

My son has for many years been working as an EDI Engineer/Consultant hired by Agencies for contract work in a few American cities…although at this writing, he’s currently in Calgary, Alberta. In 2008, he was working in Connecticut.  He drove home every Friday evening (8 ½ hours one way) to be home with his family, returning each Sunday evening). Frequently, I’ve visited him in these various locations.  In May he invited me to spend a week with him in this New England state.  Two later times (August and December) I again returned. The Director of the ACBL club there  arranged partners for the Monday and Friday games.  In December when the pre- arranged partner was unable to attend, he brought me Samuel…a wonderful gentleman,  an avid bridge player and a WWII Veteran*** who was at Omaha Beach on D-day!  With him on these two days, I experienced an unusual connection (and unknown to me, it was mutual).  His birthday had been on Thursday…so following the Friday game, we shook hands…I kissed him on his cheek with double wishes for his “Happy Birthday Yesterday and our Happy Bridge Today!”  He was amazed!  The  next week he contacted me with our game results and an invitation to return again.  Through e-mails we kept contact.  He requested that my son install Bridge Base Online (BBO) whereby we could together play bridge.  This was a new venture…about which I knew nothing about it!  With my son’s expertise and Samuel’s telephone directions on how to “navigate this system”, gradually I became adept and after much endeavour began to “play like a pro”!  He and I have exchanged Bridge conventions which have enhanced our game. Our “online opponents” can be from anywhere…China, Germany, Iceland, Chile, etc.  BBO has the ability for us to create “Friends” around the world. When seen “online”, we chat briefly…may even play Bridge as partners…e.g. Poland, Oregon, England, Ohio, France.  I  have a few with whom I regularly play…yet my best and most knowledgeable Partner is Samuel… playing 3 or 4 times weekly.

*** His blog site…Oldest Military Bloggerkey in to access his wartime experiences.
A few times yearly we visit together and play at local Bridge Clubs. We inspire each other…shared much conversation…met his family and friends...travelled to Tennessee…he’s returned to my home turf that he calls “Canada” and absolutely loves our “Escarpment Country”. In my life, he has been a beacon…as I have been his. Perhaps the Universe had destined us to meet.  My son calls our unique meeting, Divine Intervention (or Providence). We both feel younger as if we, together, had visited the:

 Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida.

I read that Ponce de Leon landed there in 1513. Today the Fountain of Youth is a National Park…the natural spring still bubbles away. It is legendary, that it restores the youth of anyone who drinks of these waters. 
                                                      May our attitude be ever youthful.
May we eternally drink from these waters.

Can you match the foregoing names with the following Explorer surnames?
...Heyerdahl...da Champlain

Four other Men in my Life are significant: Andrew,** my Son who has long time been My Trusted Friend, two grandsons and Jimmie (nephew) who lives in California. Jimmie and his wife, Marcela, moved  to US from Chile a few years ago. By e-mail, Jimmie and I regularly communicate. While my son was working in Silicon Valley, opportunity knocked. The four of us met…spending Labour Day weekend together…touring Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe and Squaw Valley, the wine valleys of  Napa  and Sonoma…truly  unforgettable experiences! 

**Birth of the Blog

In 2011, while working in Calgary, Andrew chatted with me about “this blog” he, (along with a couple personal friends), was urging me to sort of a biography of a few articles and prose I had often written…very applicable to people’s daily lives.  The conversation went something like this:
“Are you ready yet?” he asked.   “No,” I hesitatingly replied.
“Do you have a name or title for your writings?”   “Yes, I believe I’ll call it…Kaleidoscope of Life.”
“Let’s do it now…I have the time.  What’s your Introduction?”   “I haven’t solidified my ideas, yet.”
“Just write a description of your blog’s intent…you can alter it later.”

Then, with our installed Team Viewer program, he directed me to select a  background scene and then proceeded to establish…Merle’s Kaleidoscope of Life. Observed onscreen, I exclaimed, “WOW…it looks beautiful!” A few nights later, he showed me how to amend my Introduction.  Then from my Document File  (thanks to Pary for assisting me to create this), I selected one of my written articles…it may have been “Tapestry of Life.”  He patiently walked me through the process to “post it” on my blog (step by step, by step, by step)... noting  chronologically on paper as my guide for the next  “posting.”

To Andrew, I am eternally grateful!  Without his assistance, this probably would not have transpired.  Today…my blog is Alive!  Since the initial conversation to begin this journey, I’ve published over 300.

Words of Wisdom

Leave the beaten track behind occasionally and dive into the woods.
Every time you do, you will be certain to find something
you’ve never seen or experienced before.
(Alexander Graham Bell)

Merle Baird-Kerr…originally written December 4, 2010
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  1. Merle this is so wonderful....
    Our men certainly make us who we are as well as the women in our lives do !
    Thanks to all the men I love now and to all the men I have loved before !
    May all of them be happy on their Journeys in life and I am glad that I was a part of their Journey.

    Sherrie .... Counting the Ways !

  2. Amazing...Life has its "foundation blocks" and for these you and I are should everyone!

  3. JIMMIE, my nephew from California commented June 10/13:
    "I am so honoured to be mentioned in your article,Dear Aunt Merle...if I was a great writer like you, you'd certainly be mentioned as 'one woman of inspiration' in my life since my chldhood; even though most of the time we were so far apart, you were still present...and up to nowadays!!! I love you Tia Merle...I send you a big hug.

    1. It was incredible that after visiting your home in Chile in Jan. 1969, you came to visit us for a few weeks, prior to wedding Marcela. You are my favourite nephew; I love you and your family. Of my writings, you are very supportive...all your comments appreciated.

  4. ANONYMOUS has commented: Merle, I can relate to some of what you wrote, men coming along, who had something to offer but it wasn't in the cards for one reason or another. At 21 (almost 22) I married, having my first child 9 mos. later. So my 20's were not carefree days, as we had another 2 1/2 yrs. later; then divorced a year after that. Back in 1971 in Canada, this was a big deal. I got a job...the people there treated me like a pariah for that and other reasons over which I had no control.
    I met my husband in 2005 having much in common, each of us having lived in US for 20 yrs. We had similar values so were very sympatico. We married in 2011,knowing that from the beginning, it was a serious romance. I've never been so happy and so appreciated with any other relationship. We have a "partnership"!

    1. Thank You for your sincerity. Your life has been a contrast to mine. Yet, years from your first marriage became "stepping stones" to the relationship you now enjoy. You have been to "The Fountain of Youth"!

  5. A FRIEND has anonymously written:
    "I am enjoying your blogs. You reminded me of my young days when I used to dance...Que sera sera...a most beautifully worded song. I am also amazed how many men you knew in your life. What an experience...WOW!"

  6. Dear Friend: these men were acquaintances, having roles in searching for someone with whom to share their time and interests. Reflecting, I realized that these were "stepping stones" toward fulfilling one's that time! And time does move on when fulfillment is not achieved.
    Thank for your comments.