Continuing the blog trend from yesterday, 5 years ago today, on Friday, January 29th, 2016, I worked my last day at WABC Radio. My first paying job was at the age of about 11, when I was a “Super” in Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Macbeth, at the Cincinnati Summer Opera in the early 60s. According to a blog post I wrote in January, 2016, that was the first of seven jobs I’ve had during my life The last Non-Radio job I had, was way back in 1972, which I left to start working at WHN in NYC. (https://fdthird.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/seven-jobs/).
After 44 years working in radio, a question I was asked a lot back in 2016 was, “So what are you going to do when you retire??”. My flippant answer was, “Whatever I want to do!,” which worked for most folks, but there was the occasional hard ass who pushed it. “No, what are you really going to do? Won’t you get bored?” My answer to that was that no, I won’t get bored. I’ll be able to spend every day with my best friend, we’ll travel, I’ll read a lot, I’ll do some writing, enjoy life, and definitely try to not get up most days until after the 7:24 from Mineola to Penn Station has left the station!!!
In the last five years, Susie and I have enjoyed life in many ways, the most important being that we’ve spent the majority of every single day together! See, we’re a little weird. A long time ago we discovered, we really like being together. Be it a trip to Shoprite or Costco, a ride in the car, cooking, eating out, or whatever, if my best friend and wife is by my side, we’re happy! So, that’s the first thing the past five years have given us…the ability to be together!
On January 30th, 2016 (my first day as a retired person), I joined Susie, who had retired after the 2013 school year, from her job at Hampton Street School in Mineola. Now, truly, time was ours, to do with as we pleased, and we did! But what else you ask? Okay, let’s make a list!
First on the list, had to be something that just doesn’t get done while you are still regularly employed…Our Big Trip! For 9 weeks, from August to October, and traveling 9,773 miles, we covered our country in our Hyundai Sonata. Visiting places like Mt. Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, and so many other places that we’d always wanted to see.
Seeking the Sun…For every one of the five years since I joined Susie in retirement, we have traveled to Florida to seek a bit of a preview of the coming summer. On three of those years, we included a stay at Walt Disney World where we took advantage of my Disney Retiree free admission and discounts. The last two years, the trip included a multi- week stay in a condo we rented in what we consider our Florida home, Indian Rocks Beach. Sadly, due to the current Covid crisis we find ourselves in, there will be no Florida trip this year. No sunsets on the beach of Indian Rocks Beach, no trips to see Mickey Mouse, no visits with my cousins Jeanne and Walt in Barefoot Bay, and no preview of the Summer of 2021 for Susie and me.
We also cruised, a total of 6 weeks during the last 5 years! So many wonderful pictures, memories, and experiences.
Twin Weddings….In the past 5 years, our twins, Krissi and Kenny, joined their older brother Billy in the institution of marriage. Kenny and his husband Chris joined their lives in October of 2018 in Lake Tahoe, which included for Susie and I, a trip across the country on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief sleeper train. In June of 2019, our daughter Krissi and her husband Mike became one on the roof of their apartment building in Astoria. With the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, I gave away our daughter, and Mike joined our family!
Of course, 2019 was also the year we added a third Grandchild, as Annabelle Lorraine D’Elia joined her sister Layla and brother Henry on April 17th! Here she is with Grandpa at Aunt Krissi’s wedding!
We also, along the way, cleaned out our house in Mineola, that had been the D’Elia Family Home since August of 1986. 31 years of life is a lot to pack up, but that we did, as we sold the house, and turned our Ocean City home into our full time residence. We were luckier than many in making the transition, as we knew exactly what we were getting into in Ocean City, having had a life here for 12 years at that point! To make it official, it was a change of driver’s licenses and car registrations to the state of New Jersey, and registering to vote!
Along the way, I also had my left knee replaced! Right knee was supposed to be done by now too, but Covid has delayed that schedule!
Of course, living at the beach, there were hours spent on the sand of Pennlyn Place Beach. There were enjoyable times on our front porch, or the backyards or decks of our neighbors.
If I had to pick the most important thing that I’ve enjoyed the last 5 years, it’s having the ability to make our own schedule. We no longer are limited by the school calendar, by how much vacation I got at WABC (a lot), by the schedule of others, and by our need to be at certain places at certain times. Prior to Covid, if we wanted to get in the car on a Thursday, and drive down to visit our family in North Carolina and watch our oldest Granddaughter’s dance recital, we did. If we wanted to drive down to Maryland for the weekend and visit with our son-in-law Mike’s family, we did. If we’d had enough time without our dear friends Pat and Steve back on Long Island, a car trip up to see them was what we did. That’s one of the real reasons we are so interested in getting our Covid vaccines, because we’d love to be able to put the spontaneity back in our travel schedules once again!
So there you have it, it’s all about living the life we have chosen, that we love, and doing it whenever we want! Like I said…doing whatever we want, whenever we want! That’s our take on retirement!