Sherry (admits to “over 50”) and Claude (62) met online. They exchanged four e-mails, enjoyed two lengthy phone calls, and on the first date, both were very carefully falling in love.
They both like Woody Allen, Mountain Winery concerts, old San Francisco, traveling to Santa Fe for the opera, Carmel, Wagner, and visiting National Parks. She likes fiction. He likes nonfiction. He loves butter, cream, and eggs. She’s more of an advocate for quinoa, vegetables, and exploring the aisles of Whole Foods.
They were the same age, had been through painful divorces, had launched their kids, were finishing up careers and both were seriously thinking about retirement.
He has a condo in San Francisco on Nob Hill, a doorman, spectacular views of both bridges; rarely drives – walks everywhere, and knows San Francisco like the back of his hand
She lives in a tiny cottage in Redwood City- with a charming garden, a hot tub – there is no lawn to mow, no big home to maintain, just sunny weather, parking galore, and she has privacy, solitude, and a huge deck for entertaining –which she does with great frequency. She belongs to a book club, a Pilates class, and volunteers at film festivals and the Museum – he says she has ‘a Rolodex full of girlfriends.’ She works from home for three very demanding clients.
A Moving Experience
On their one-year anniversary, they drove north on Highway 101 to the Victorian village of Ferndale and explored the area and the beautiful redwood parks. Over crab cocktails at Lazio’s in Eureka he suggested she move into his spacious condo in San Francisco. He had a second bedroom that could easily be made into her office or study. He listed the many positive aspects of living in San Francisco – such an exciting location and – more importantly- of living together.
She was thinking of the whipping winds and fog rolling in, parking challenges, the din of the neighborhood, the claustrophobic feeling of being so close to your neighbors, no garden…her mental list of “cons” grew incrementally.
She was very happy with their arrangement. They were together all weekend and one or two nights a week.
Two of her 50-ish friends had ‘living situations’ with beaus – they kept separate residences and saw one another frequently. The couples said they embraced their privacy and alone time and claimed they were very happy with the arrangements. She pondered.
Moving in together and moving away?
Then his boss offered him a position in New York as VP of his department. The assignment would be for 18 months with the caveat that he would return to San Francisco six times a year for meetings.
The offer was a promotion with great benefits – and would most likely be his last position with the company.
Thrilled at the prospect, he called and invited her to join him on this new adventure.
She had been to New York several times and loved the exciting city. As she started thinking about crowds, noise, winter weather, and the distance from her family and her friends her mood changed.
Her best friend said, “Go for it! It’s only for a year or so and you’ll come back here every few months. Just do it.
Candace, her neighbor – an Eileen Fisher model, 65, tango dancer with a shock of silver hair said, “Men? I go dancing once a week. I just want to be in the arms of a man for one hour –and then go home to my cats and I’m happy.” Another cat woman?
She was dizzy with input from her myriad friends and her love for this man – who was kinder, more thoughtful and generous than anyone she had ever met. She looked forward to their weekends together and suffered withdrawal when he left her on Sunday evenings…
Things fall into place
Her best friend from Albuquerque took an artist in residence gig at the Oakland Museum and needed a place to stay – voila: the perfect house sitter. She told her clients of her plans. No one batted an eye.
She had a family and best friends meeting and affirmed the news…
She spoke to her accountant, primary physician, and her hairdresser and – all systems were “go.”
After one exhausting visit to Manhattan – locating and deciding on their new address – and much preparation- packing, planning, organizing -combined with several Going-Away-for-Awhile-Parties- the couple was off.
Let the adventure begin. Would you be as brave?