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This is Olive and Edgar


I first saw Edgar sitting by himself in Verdi Park , asleep.  I took a couple of shots of him but didn't think I would use them.  I was not going to wake him, so I just sat down on the bench near him.  I was sitting there for about ten minutes when his wife, Olive, with a grocery bag in hand, sat down next to Edgar.  She gently shook his arm to wake him up.  I commented to her that he had a very good nap.  She said he always takes two naps a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  Olive explained that a few years ago, Edgar had a stroke and they now have an aide 24 hours a day 5 days a week.  But, on weekends, the burden falls on her which has been very difficult for her.  This was the first time that she had left him alone.  They were walking from their apartment to Fairway supermarket to do a small shopping but Edgar became too tired.  He sat down on the bench, and she continued onto Fairway that was only two blocks away.  I asked if she was nervous leaving him alone in the park and she said yes.  She hurried through Fairway and returned to Edgar.

Edgar is a 90-year-old retired electrical engineer and Olive, who would not tell me her age, is a retired math teacher.  She received her Master's degree in Mathematics from Hunter College and taught mathematics in various places including Queens College and LaGuardia High School.  I told her that my mother attended Queens College and my nephew attended LaGuardia High School , but it turned out that she was not at either place the same time as my nephew or my mother.  As we were sitting and chatting, Edgar's electrical engineering skills came through.  He pointed out four street lamps in the park that were lit.  He has a serious issue with the city wasting money by keeping lights on all over the city during the day.  He plans to make some phone calls about the lamps in Verdi park that are kept on 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


I asked Edgar what he thought about living in Manhattan.  It is the best place in the world to live.  Cars are unnecessary, they can walk to everything they need.  Even Fairway, and then he laughed knowing that he was unable to make it that far today.  Olive concurred.  Living in Manhattan was very important as it allowed them to maintain their independence.  Together, they try to get out every day.


Both Olive and Edgar are New Yorkers and have always been so.  They have been living in their apartment for over 50 years.  Olive asked if I was familiar with the construction of the building on Amsterdam Avenue and 67th Street.  She is part of the committee that is suing to stop the construction of the building.


Olive and Edgar have been married for 60 years.  As they told me this, Olive turned to Edgar and took his hand and smiled.  I told them the anniversary gemstone for 60 years is the diamond.  She said she would have let her daughter know.  Their daughter lives nearby.  She then began to tear up.  Their son passed away in his mid-50s from brain cancer.  She is still grieving.

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