Sweet and Bitter in NYC

This is Sunday morning, and we have been in New York City since 9:15 Wednesday morning. I just got back from a nice walk around the neighborhood on the upper Eastside near Bloomingdale’s. Kate is still sleeping soundly. I am going to take a few minutes to collect my thoughts on the past few days.

The first thing to say (and the reason I put “sweet” before “bitter” in the heading for today’s post) is that we have had a marvelous time. It is everything I had hoped. This is the first of a series of things we will do to celebrate our upcoming 50th anniversary (May 31, 2013). I chose New York City because it is the place we have visited far more often than any other place, we love it, and Christmas in NYC is very special. Besides that we had our first date on December 19, 1961, got engaged on December 19, 1962 (50 years ago this month). Our first date was a performance of Handel’s Messiah. Tuesday night we will attend a performance of Messiah at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Fifth Avenue. We both love the theater; so we have also attended My Name is Asher Lev, Newsies, The Book of Mormon, Un Ballo in Maschera at The Metropolitan Opera, and Once. We may attempt another show this afternoon; however, I am tempted to pass some time in our neighborhood. It is a wonderful area, and we have not spent sufficient time here. Of course, we don’‘t leave until late afternoon on Wednesday; so we might do that another time.

Now for the bitter. Although we have had a great time, we are both noticing Kate’s deterioration. At lunch a couple of days ago, she said, “”I would love to come back to New York with Jesse, but I don’t think I could do it again. She would have to take charge.” I said something about the wonderful memories of previous trips. It was a sad moment for both of us. In addition, at each show she asks me to explain things. It is very hard for her to follow the complexities of the stories. Yesterday at the opera, she asked me to explain what had happened after each act. She said she simply couldn’t follow things. I said it must be like there are so many stimuli coming in that she doesn’t know what to focus on. She said that was “exactly it.”

Because of her condition, for the first time I haven’t considered leaving her anyplace to browse and then meet her later. This is something we have frequently done in the past. We have both stuck close together at all times. There have been at least 2 occasions when we have gotten separated momentarily. One of those was going into Macy’s.

In addition, she gets confused on instructions. For example, last night while waiting in line to enter the theater, a theater employee asked us to move down to another line. For some reason Kate thought we were supposed to enter at a different place; so she simply went ahead of people who had been waiting in line. She also has trouble going through the turnstiles at the subway.

All these little things notwithstanding, we are having a wonderful time. It makes me glad that I decided to go all out for our 50th anniversary because things will deteriorate from here. Next year she will be less able to enjoy these things.