7–10 November 2011
Susan’s parents stop by.
Since moving to New York, we have had quite a few visitors stay in our lovely living room/guest quarters. In early November, we hosted the first family members to visit us in our new home: Mama and Daddy, a.k.a. Mary and David, a.k.a. Grammy and Papa. They flew into LaGuardia the evening of Monday, 7 November, and Dustin and Fiona went to the airport to pick them up. It was a rather harrowing experience due to a delayed flight combined with Dustin’s lack of information about their arrival, but all arrived safely in our apartment by about 21.00. We gave them a tour and some dinner, and then everyone went to bed, especially Fiona.
On Tuesday, I had to go to work—it was a professional development day, and it would have been bad form to miss. Dustin set off to Albany to see the state capitol. Grammy, Papa, and Fiona struck off on their own adventure: riding the Staten Island Ferry. Fiona, who is super tough, walked several blocks on the way to the subway station; but unfortunately, the adults got a little lost, and eventually Fiona reached her limit and had to be carried. Fortunately, they finally found the subway station. The subway ride, we hear, was uneventful. On the ferry, Fiona walked all around and made friends, as well as climbing right up onto a seat. Grammy and Papa were greatly impressed at her socialization.
I had a getting lost story of my own. After school, I went to Manhattan to get some chicken from Trader Joe’s in order to make some tasty stew for her adventurous family, but Manhattan is confusing. I was determined not to give up, however, and after much wandering and frustration, I bought some chicken and got home. Much to my surprise, no one else was there. Dustin arrived shortly, but there was no sign of the ferry group. We later found out that this was due to their delayed start. But I have every confidence in Grammy and Papa’s ability to navigate a subway system, so I was not concerned about their being stranded someplace in the city. Sure enough, I soon heard footsteps outside and opened the door to see Fiona climbing the steps almost horizontally, supported by Grammy. Hurrah! Dinner was eaten, stories were shared, babies were put to bed. One of the best stories was that, as they were arriving home, Papa and Grammy were a little confused about which house was the right one. The people next door, recognizing Fiona and the lost look on Papa’s face, said, “It’s this one!”
On Wednesday, I again had to go to school. Dustin, Fiona, Grammy, and Papa tried to go to The Jewish Museum to see the Ezra Jack Keats exhibit, but it was closed. Then they came to my school, where, it turns out, my fourth-grade teacher, Rita Elman, did her student teaching long ago. There was some discussion of riding the tram to Roosevelt Island, but it was getting rather late, and everyone was hungry, so we headed to downtown Brooklyn for dinner at Junior’s. The most remarkable thing about Junior’s is the small bowls of pickles and beets that they put on the table for you, and we did sample the little delights. By this time, Fiona was sleeping in my lap, and there she stayed until our food came.
The bus ride home was quite crowded at first, as it often is. When people started to clear out, Fiona sat with Grammy and Papa, and Papa played with her and tossed her all around, much to her delight. She was pretty pooped out, but she still managed to walk the block from the bus stop back to our apartment.
Grammy and Papa left the next day to take the train to visit Karen, Bob, Michael, and Charlotte. Although they were not here for long, we all enjoyed having them—especially Fiona, who certainly thrives on attention, particularly attention from someone other than her own parents.
This article appeared on pages 18–19 of Issue 5 | January 2012.