THE TWO OF US
By Steve Goldfinger
She is a lot older than me (and I am old enough), yet our love endures and even grows stronger from year to year. She is full of soft charm, gentle shadows, and her commitment to my needs is unswerving. Above all, her tenacious hold on beauty defies the new wrinkles that appear as inevitably as the seasons.
When I met 33 Birch Hill Road in 1966, she was 84 years old. She faced out on a gentle circle, comfortable with the two other venerable homes that bordered it. She embraced my wife and four sons as we moved in, and she did not shudder when we put her through some minor surgery, both cosmetic and reconstructive, at the start.
With pride, I took in her many graceful rooms. I loved the huge, multi-paned window with its arched top above her central staircase. The third floor, all one room, posed a challenge for one’s imagination when it came to livening it with furnishings.
Over the years, my infatuation with 33 Birch Hill transformed into love, exactly paralleling the ever-deepening love within the family she nurtured. I look back on the nooks and bindings that are shared between a home and those who call it such, and a bounty of remembrances springs forth.
Ed building the substantial back deck the summer after graduating from college. It remains sturdy and well used to this day, the one and only construction effort of his life.
The tee-off spot for the nine hole frisbee golf course Michael created, the “holes” being tree trunks, rocks, and assorted landmarks around our circle.
The ghost piano sonata that startled my wife and me as we ate breakfast one morning, alone in the house. Well, not entirely alone. There was that squirrel who descended the open chimney, found the living room, and took a liking to the piano’s keyboard.
Peter tossing out carrots from his second floor window, his act in plain view of those of us sitting on the deck. He hated the carrots that Barbara always gave him to keep him healthy.
David’s room, its walls covered with large posters of dead rock stars. Also, music from his clarinet and later, his guitar. And the songs he wrote.
33 Birch Hill and I have aged noticeably in recent years. She has just undergone the replacement of three wood gutters at exorbitant expense while my left hip was replaced at virtually no cost, thanks to Medicare. She has needed an entire re-do of her front portico and new granite steps to finally replace her ever-rotting wooden ones. She needs paint, inside and out. I need eye injections for macular degeneration. I need omeprazole for reflux and Eliquis for a heart that occasionally beats irregularly.
Love in later years does not change much—only in the intimacies and frailties that emerge.
After a long career in medicine, Steve has been exploring his artistic side. At BOLLI, he has taken writing courses, been active in the Writers Guild, and even tried CAST (Creativity in Acting, Storytelling, and Theatre) where his imagination made him a singular player!