by June Tuthill Bassemir
One is an old H S. boy friend. One is a bit older whose parents rented a cottage of my father’s. The third is another H. S. classmate from Spanish class.
My communication with each one of them is not known to the other two and I might add we are all Octogenarians. Driving to the East end of LI is no longer an option for the first two, so our communication is by telephone or the US post. Neither feels they can overcome the learning process of joining the email generation, justifying their objections to their extreme love of the telephone and the mailman. The third is email literate but... just barely, sending a love note from Texas now and again.
The H.S. boyfriend worked in the television industry when IT and he were young, so he was more “people” oriented than “hobby” oriented which puts anyone in the later years of life at a disadvantage. For the last few years, we have enjoyed dining at the various restaurants here on the “East End” of LI. and there are many good places to eat. However, due to doctor appointments, he ran out of steam before we ran out of restaurants and now he can’t make the 65 mile Toyota journey to Jamesport. I miss his company and the lobster dinners ... I clip articles from the local newspaper showing the different places where we have been and that keeps his spirits up. He follows the Yankee ball games with devotion and I share the joy and excitement of seeing the ball get whacked out of park too...wondering if they will play in the World Series.. yet again. He is single handedly paying my mail lady’s salary with numerous cards and letters sent weekly, sealed with multiple stickers that he gets for free from those organizations to whom he donates money.
The second widower has been to visit me just once when he came with one of his daughters after an absence of no communication for over 50 years. He has been invaluable sharing his practical knowledge and advice with the things needing attention around my house. In exchange for this, I send him essays and stories of our younger days that he reads while sitting in his open garage, facing the activity on the street in front of him. As a young husband he was in the construction business, (when he wasn’t in bed) and built seven buildings interspersed with giving his wife seven reasons to visit the maternity ward at the local hospital. He jokes that he never had enough money to go bowling. When he lived in my Dad’s cottage as a boy, my romantic interest in him was non existent because his family was of the strong Catholic persuasion and I was of the strong Protestant persuasion. My parental advice was not to marry a Catholic as the Priest would be in the bedroom with us and this vision of course, limited my list of potential boyfriends and a husband. Now the residue of our upbringing doesn’t matter anymore except if we discuss the Presidential candidates and we try to sidestep that subject while chatting on the phone.
The last friend from the Spanish Class, emails heartfelt expressions of long lost love that he has been nursing for lo these many many years. I never accepted a date with him although he would ask each time the class was dismissed and we both reached the exit door at the same time. I dreaded the moment the class was over and often hung back as long as I could, but then he would too. He came to the 40th and the 50th Class reunions all the way from Mexico where he fled after High School to marry a Mexican woman and sire three kids. He obviously did much better in Spanish class than I did. He now lives in TX with a son and I am trying to keep his brain active. He is pleading with me for my phone number to be able to call at Christmas time. He says that he calls all his friends at that time to explain all his health problems that he’s had during the year. I’m not eager to hear that as it seems to me to be an unproductive waste of breath but I did give my three digit area phone number. I told him he has to work for the other seven digits in a little whimsical exercise that I gave him... I also said the rule was that if he called he couldn’t discuss any medical problems and I wouldn’t talk about mine. Since the end of August he has yet to decipher my phone number hidden in this sentence..... “Seven too too small Pygmy men, for years ate seven won derful donuts”. See if you can figure it out. Of course, if the other half of his brain were active he would be able to get my phone number and any body else’s phone number by calling 411 with the name and address. Actually there may be another reason he is not anxious to break the code of my small quiz and that is he won’t have anything to talk about.
So much for life here in Jamesport – written by the 11th direct descendant of John Tuthill who landed on LI in Southold in 1640 along with 12 other English families.
copyright June T. Bassemir, 2014
June Tuthill Bassemir is the widowed mother of four and grandmother of 10. An artist and writer, she volunteers as a docent in a 1765 farm house. June loves old cars and antiques, and has also enjoyed furniture stripping and rug hooking. "I used to say I was a stripper and hooker.but with so many trips around the sun, no one raises an eyebrow anymore. They only laugh." June has given up furniture stripping, but is still an avid rug hooker.