Friday, September 4, 2009

Curtain Call

This is the last official weekend of summer, and I plan to spend as much of it as possible by the pool. The weather has really been spectacular this week. It’s been comfortable in my classroom with the windows open, but I have not been able to enjoy much of it outside. While I have made it out to the pool a few times for an hour here and there over the past couple of weeks, it’s not really the same. I hope that this weekend I'll get to share a farewell to summer with the friends I have made by the pool but haven't seen lately.

There is Ann Marie. She had knee replacement surgery last winter (on both knees) and retired recently and loves to cook. While we waded near the steps at the low end and chatted, she introduced me to a new produce stand in town, we exchanged some recipes and cooking tips, and she shared with me a couple stories of some tragedies in her life. Last year I ran into her at CVS and at the polls; this year she asked for my address and phone number. “I thought of you at Christmas, and would have loved to send you a card, but I didn’t know what unit you’re in or your last name even,” she said. So during my last week of vacation, she walked over to my chair with an address book and asked for my address and phone number. She had brought a scrap of paper with hers already written on it. “If I don’t see you, have a good year,” she said.

Kristina is a regular like me, usually there in the mornings during the week. She is a high school math teacher (it’s easy to figure out who the teachers are!) and a soccer coach who had a few more days of vacation than I had. Funny, but once over the winter I didn’t recognize her by the mailboxes. It was a snowy day and we were all bundled up and I didn’t realize until I walked away that the fair skinned woman in the winter coat was Kristina; I was so used to seeing her on her lounge chair in a bikini, skinny and tan.

Caroline is in her late twenties. This was her second season by the pool, and her last season of being able to tolerate a roommate, so she just bought a new condominium in her home town. She has been by the pool with her mom (also a teacher) and dad, sometimes said roommate. She enjoys an incognito cocktail by the pool like yours truly, and also like me enjoys peace and quiet to read. We decided it would be nice to go out for a drink before she moves on, so we programmed each other’s cell phone numbers one afternoon recently. A weekend die hard, I’m sure I’ll see her over the weekend. Maybe her mom will be there too.

And there’s Susan, who recently moved into the complex. She’s a visiting nurse to whom I lamented about my cankles when I got back from Seattle, who raised her children on the Cape, lived in New Mexico for 10 years after a divorce, and now has moved back to be closer to her children, especially her grandchildren. One daughter lives in Florida and is getting married next month. I hope to wish her a safe and happy weekend away, and perhaps exchange phone numbers with her so that we might go out for a drink too. Both of us like the new Mexican place down the road, so a margarita would hit the spot.

Of course there is Dean, who like me prefers the pool child-free. If I am the Queen of the Pool, he is probably the King. He lives in my building and we frequent the same restaurants, so I see him year round. And there’s Jen, yet another teacher, who just got married (and with whom I share a small world connection); and Bill, a single dad of a teenage girl. Others I know by face, or bathing suit, or chair, but not name.

This cast of characters is a bunch of nice people and I wish them all well. I guess it’s like getting to know people at a country club. (And maybe the gym?) That is, I don’t imagine we will become BFFs, but I do enjoy their occasional company. And it seems only right to say goodbye to the summer with them.

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