Posted by: abbiewatters | September 6, 2011

The Ages of Woman – 60’s

What do you remember about your 60s? – In my 60’s I wound down my professional life (short though it may have been) and Big Al and I discovered the joys of travelling without having to move, or go to a funeral, or be somewhere specific at a certain time. It started with a cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We started in Seattle

We boarded the Sapphire Princess

and sailed out of the harbor.

We enjoyed the festivities on the boat, particularly the dining

We visited Ketchikan,

Cruised up Tracy Arm to see a glacier up close and personal,

Visited the Mendenhall Glacier outside of Juneau

Saw lots of Eagles and the salmon hatchery in Juneau

Visited an old mining village outside of Skagway

Tried our hand panning for gold,

Visited Vancouver, BC, during the Tall Ships Festival

Saw the Tall Ships reenacting a Battle at Sea! (If you look closely you can see the smoke from one of their cannons.)

and returned to Seattle

We spent some time visiting the Ballpark in Arlington and watching the Rangers play baseball.

We  watched the grandchildren grow up

We visited SFA for homecoming several years,

In October 2005, we rediscovered the joys of train travel when we took the train to visit Ray in Chicago.

On that trip, besides the Navy Pier, we visited Notre Dame,

An old Amish community called Amish Acres

We went to the Museum of Science and Industry, and took a boat ride on the Chicago River.

In April, 2006, we celebrated Al’s mother’s 90th birthday with a visit from Jan and Marianne and Karen.

In June of 2006, we went back to Seattle for a safety conference. We did lots of touring around then, taking the ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands.

We took a nice bus tour around Seattle and saw the skyline from one of the hills,

the locks leading from the sound to Lake Washington,

a bridge troll

The house boat from “Sleepless in Seattle”

and the Pike’s Place Fish Market

We had flown up to Seattle, but we took the Empire Builder Amtrak train back to Chicago, through the Rockies,

across the plains of the Dakotas

and followed the river through Minnesota to Chicago.

In July of 2006, my nephew Jonathan got married, and we went to the wedding in Little Rock, and had a family reunion with Harriet and Betty there.

In November 2006, Al’s mother died. We decided not to have a big funeral, but to wait and have a memorial service in Florida when we took her ashes back to be buried with Al’s father.

The grandchildren kept growing. Here they are at Christmas 2006.

In January, 2007, we arranged the trip to Florida for Mom’s memorial service and as an added bonus we took Kate with us to visit Disney World.

And here she is with the Mouse himself.

She also got a chance to reconnect with her cousin Lizzy at the lunch after the memorial service, where we had another family reunion with Al’s sister, sister-in-law, and nephew and his family.

In the summer of 2007, I took Ian and Bill on the train to Chicago (since Ian didn’t get to go to Disney World).

We did lots of fun things including the Museum of Science and Industry with the big train set,

the dinosaurs at the Field Museum

The Navy Pier

A boat ride on the lake,

and the Planetarium.

In September, 2007, we remodeled our kitchen and had tile floor and tile counter tops put in.

In May 2009, Papa died, and we again had a big family reunion in Texarkana (weddings and funerals mean families get together.)

In June 2008, Big Al and I went to New Mexico to the Inn of the Mountain Gods for a CPA Annual Meeting.

Then in September 2008 it was Big Al’s 50th high school class reunion. We used that as an excuse to travel around in the northeast.  We went to the reunion in Canonsburg, PA, and also took a trip to see the Pirates play at PNC Park.

Then we took the train to Philadelphia and had a nice visit with Marianne, Al’s sister-in-law.

Finally, we took the train again, through Penn Station in New York, up the Hudson River Valley to see my sister in Germantown, NY.

In December 2008, my niece, Erin, got married in Texarkana, and Kate was one of the flower girls.

In the fall of 2008, Erika was transferred from her store in Dallas to one in Metairie, LA, and Bill and the kids moved down there the winter of 2009. With the parents buried, and the kids moved away, Al and I realized there was no reason to stay in Dallas. We LOVED the Pacific Northwest, so we set out in July 2009 on a mission to find a retirement community somewhere that wasn’t too bloody hot in the summer or freezing cold in the winter. We didn’t object to rain – to the contrary, we loved it.

So we took another long train trip. First we took the Texas Eagle to San Antonio, and then caught the Sunset Limited to Los Angeles. We spent the night there in a hotel and had dinner in the roof top restaurant with Jan and Bernie.

The next morning we boarded the Coast Starlight to Seattle. Here’s Mt. Shasta in Oregon from the train.

We got to Seattle, rented a car, and started visiting retirement communities. We went from Seattle to Medford, Oregon, and back all the way to Bellingham, Washington, and finally back to Seattle. In the 21 days we were traveling we saw 20 different retirement communities, and out of all those we fell in love with Franke Tobey Jones in Tacoma.

It’s a Continuing Care Community with Alzheimer’s care, independent living, and assisted living. There are duplexes, and apartments, and it sits on a hill overlooking the sound above the ferry to Vashon Island. We came home, via the Empire Builder and the Texas Eagle, put down a deposit at Franke Tobey Jones, and started weeding out our belongings getting ready to put the house on the market.

We had a big estate sale in January and listed the house in February of 2010, hopeful to sell it quickly.

By April, we still hadn’t had any action on the sale, so we drove to Louisiana for Kate’s birthday. While we were there we took several days and drove over to Florida to see our dear friends, the Morgans. We had known them since we lived in Alexandria. We happened to be stationed in England at the same time and we had visited them before on several of our trips to Florida when Al’s parents were alive. It was really nice to see them and see their house which they share with their daughter.

The spring wore on and turned to summer. We had the grandchildren each come to visit for a week. First we drove to Vicksburg and picked up Ian and brought him back with us. We took a day and drove to Abilene to visit the Air Park – static displays of almost 50 airplanes at Dyess AFB.

Then, after a week, Ian and I got on the train and rode to San Antonio where we met Bill and Kate who had taken the train from New Orleans. We spent the day sightseeing including the Alamo and the riverwalk.

Then Kate and I got on the train back to Dallas, while Ian and Bill got on the other train back to New Orleans.

Kate got to go see a friend of hers in McKinney,

and then Bill came and picked her up.

By the end of August we had still had no action on selling the house, so we took it off the market in hopes the economy would improve later in the year.

Just before my 65th birthday, I finally visited a dermatologist to check on a spot on my nose, and, sure enough, it was basal cell carcinoma. I had plastic surgery to remove it in September (thankfully after I turned 65 and could qualify for Medicare.)

My nephew Jonathan and his wife had a baby – Kaleigh Michelle – in October, 2010.

We decided to stay home for Christmas in 2010 because I was planning a big party for Big Al’s 70th birthday.

Here we all are with Al’s sister, sister-in-law, and nephew at the party.

Then in February, the ice and snow hit, and we were stuck inside for almost a week (all you people from the frozen north can just quit laughing! What doesn’t show is that there’s an inch of ice underneath all that snow, and I didn’t want to break a hip in my old age.)

The snow stiffened my resolve to get the hell out of Dodge, and we put the house back on the market in April.

In April we made our annual trek to south Louisiana for Kate’s birthday. This time we went to Vicksburg and then took the Natchez Trace south before turning east to McComb and on to Madisonville.

In May, I took the Texas Eagle from Dallas to Chicago. We go right by the Arch in St. Louis.

And from there I caught the Lake Shore Limited to New York (actually I got off before New York City, in Croton-Harmon.) I went to UnCo11, an UnConference with churchy-type people at Stony Point conference center up the Hudson River Valley. The people there were all my friends from Twitter, although I had never met any of them face-to-face before.

It was very inspirational and reemphasized to me how social media can really create community in the church. I returned the same way by train.

Then came the summer of the doldrums in Dallas, with the second in the all-time list of number of days in a row over 100 deg, and the second in the all-time list of total number of days over 100 deg – and we aren’t out of the woods yet. We still have several months of 2011 to go to break the record, even if it is September.

Still no movement on selling the house, even though we’ve lowered the price by $25,000. I feel like I’m living in liminal space and there’s something I must need to learn. I just wish I knew what it was.

And that’s the story of my 60’s in a nutshell. So concludes the resume of my life.



  1. […] wrote the original of this post in September of 2011. Since I was only 67 at that time, it was a bit premature, I think. Now that […]


  2. Wow..that is neat! Love your resume …. and of course, I specially enjoyed the note about your visit here….you sure got a good picture of the pond! It was fun having that instant chat on FB… it was my granddaughter Rachel who just happened to chime in and I left you to answer her….she’s in Haiti on a humanitarian mission out of her church on Colorado Springs! Talk about instant communication…
    Take care, love, and check in when you can….AOG


  3. Ma, I really do love getting to read these! Get Dad to do the series!


  4. I do so wish I had as many good photos of our life and travels as you do. Keep on blogging! Anne


  5. Chicago, Notre Dame and Amish acres are all right in my neighborhood. I’m at I-94 exit 23, just north of South Bend.


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