Barbara and John
I was walking on Broadway heading to Hamilton House to have lunch when I met Barbara and John. As I started to talk to them, John made it clear as he looked at his watch that he had somewhere to go and did not really want to talk. I asked him where he was headed and he said Hamilton House for lunch. Great, we could talk as we walked. John is 90 years old. He had been a farmer in upstate New York in a small town near Rochester. He proudly told me that he grew up without electricity or indoor plumbing. I asked him what brought him to New York and he said he wanted to be a dancer. I said so you just up and left the farm for the big city? Not quite. First, he was drafted by the army and that was the first time he left the farm. When he was discharged from the army, he wanted to stay in the city and become a professional dancer. He said he never quite made it. He danced a few times professionally but needed to work as a waiter and various other jobs to support himself.
However, dancing is how he met Barbara. Barbara is 89 years old. She was a professional ballerina, dancing for the Brooklyn Academy of Music. John said the first time he saw her, he was enthralled with her beauty and the way she moved.
Barbara and John have been married for 57 years. They have no children. As we walked and talked John did most of the talking. When I would ask Barbara a question, he would answer for her. He told me that Barbara has difficulty hearing. When we got to Hamilton House, I was able to get a little closer to Barbara and she told me that she was born and raised in New York City and how much being a dancer meant to her.
John talked about his physical condition. He was bent over, but his mind was clear. It was easy to see that both of them were sharp mentally. When we got to lunch, the meal was vegetarian Chile and pasta that looked unappealing. They both decided to skip today's meal and have lunch elsewhere. Clearly, their pallets have remained sharp too.
Barbara commented how important it was for her and John to get out every day. She said that they get out almost every day regardless of the weather. You may be able to spot them dancing down the avenue.