This is Earl
Drafted during the Korean War, but said he got lucky. He was shipped to Germany. He and his wife lived there together and traveled all over. They especially loved France and think Paris is one of the best cities in the world. He described how they would take the Orient Express from Germany to Paris in the middle of the night and find a hotel for three dollars a night. Earl continues to travel frequently, having just returned from Marseilles and Aix-en-Province. He talked fondly of his days in Germany and France, telling me stories of his travels with his wife.
We talked for quite a while about getting older and the importance of getting out. Earl remarked that his world is getting smaller as friends pass on. But he works very hard at getting out and keeping himself busy. He goes to movies and plays duplicate bridge frequently. Claiming as all bridge and golf players do, that he is not that good at it but he likes playing.
I met Earl as I was walking on Amsterdam Avenue. Earl was walking with a cane, wearing a Zabar's cap. I made eye contact with him as he was staring at me (an unusual act for a New Yorker.) He thought he knew me and I took that extra glance as an opportunity to say hello. I started the conversation by asking if he lives in New York. He said he has lived in NY for over 30 years and he is 90 years old. He and his wife had lived in Massapequa, Long Island as well as Brooklyn, but Manhattan is the place he and his wife loved the most. I asked about his wife. She passed away ten years ago. He was still bitter and it showed on his face. She had taught health on the college level, ate well, did not smoke and exercised regularly, but died of lung cancer. He shook his head indicating that just should not have happened. His children live on the West Coast and they want him to move to an adult community in California but he said that he loved Manhattan for the culture and liveliness of the community.
I asked Earl what he did for a living before he retired. He had worked for IBM in their financial division.
We also talked about local restaurants and he mentioned one of my favorites as one of his. We had such a good conversation that he insisted that I take his phone number (which I did) and I gave him mine so we can keep in touch and we both promised to meet for a lunch or dinner. And we did.
A week later, I kept my word to Earl and called him up and we set a date to meet for breakfast at a local coffee shop at 9 AM. When I arrived, I did not see him and waited for a while. At about 9:10, I got a call on my cell phone from Earl asking where I was because he was in the coffee shop and did not see me. I turned around to see the gentlemen behind me on his cell phone talking to me. We both laughed, ordered breakfast and talked about our lives for the next hour and a half. We agreed to continue to meet.
Who said New York City is not a friendly town?