I stayed up way too late. Before he went to bed, John said we had an easy travel day. I could sleep as long as I wanted to. Morning came earlier than was comfortable, and shortly after I woke up, John said he couldn’t make the shower work. The controls looked like the standard motel model, but we could not pull out the knob. Normally, pulling the knob turns on the water, and you control the temperature by turning the knob one way or the other. John dressed to go to the motel office, and I went back to bed. Another hour of sleep would be most welcome. I didn’t know how they were going to solve our problem, but I was certain it would not be quick.
Only minutes later there were sharp raps on the door. I assumed (sorry John) that John had forgotten the key and needed me to open the door for him. Much to my surprise, there was a big, burly man in overalls standing there. He quickly apologized and said he had come to fix the shower. I was wearing a nightgown, so I stepped behind the door and let him in. At that moment I heard John’s voice, “I didn’t know you’d come so quickly!”
In seconds we heard the water gushing from the faucet, and the man came out of the bathroom. He carefully avoided looking at me while apologizing profusely.
John told me what happened in the office. He said to the woman behind the desk, “The shower won’t turn on in our room. Can you send someone to fix it?”
The woman said, “Are you in room 210? I told them to keep that room for last, because the shower is broken. We are waiting for a part to come so we can fix it. I’ll send someone up right away.”
John and I knew we had to take our showers immediately while the water was running. The repairman applied great force to pull the knob out, and we weren’t going to risk pushing it back in until we were through. John said he was sorry I didn’t get my promised sleep. I laughed andsaid, “Well, I’m awake NOW!”
Our next stop was to visit people we had never met. Years ago a man named Michael read about the Long Island Live Steamers, the train club for which John was the secretary. They corresponded, and Michael joined the club. He read the newsletter and renewed his membership every year, yet he never once went out to the track. John knew he lived in Manhattan, taught at Julliard, and drove a camper to Colorado every summer to be in Aspen for the music activities there. The camper was stored in New Jersey. Michael did not have a car, it being a hindrance in the city. Time went by, and he and his wife Sandy retired to Colorado. When John said we would be in the area, they graciously invited us to drop by. I took a photo of them on their balcony, trying to show the view of a snow-capped mountain to the left of the building. I should have focused on them alone.
Since we have always been interested in music, we were dying to know what Michael taught at Julliard. He answered readily that for much of his career, he taught music theory. The last few years he taught electronic music, which of course, was on the cutting edge. Sandy also worked at Julliard as a music librarian. We sat on that lovely balcony and talked about trains, New York, knee problems, two train clubs, and birds. What a delight it was to chat with them and have a tour of their spacious apartment! We laughed that we both did not downsize, as so many people do, but moved to larger homes on retirement. As we were leaving, Michael pulled out a folder in which he kept his correspondence with John. What an organized man he was to be able to put his hand on it immediately! We envied that as we said our goodbyes.