Forty Seven and Counting

Dear Liza,

Yep, Grandpa Nelson and I are celebrating another anniversary! They just keep coming around, as they have since 1975.

We have celebrated in a variety of ways, as our circumstances (and the world) have changed. Our first anniversary saw us re-visit Francisco and run out of cash. In a world before ATMs and with no credit card, we two barely-adult-people ended up wiring my folks for gas money to get home.

Much later, after our kids (your Auntie Katie and Daddy David) grew up, we flew to Hawaii to celebrate. We had a wonderful time and I got third degree sunburn, just on my back, from snorkeling for three hours. Fortunately, there are no pictures!

This year, of course, there was no travel. The continuing pandemic and Omicron variant, and the cold winter weather, have put a snag in anything like that. We did manage to get a few blocks over to The HobNob, our local pub, for their Customer Appreciation night.

We saw neighbors there, and Jason, the owner. I respect Jason immensely. Like your Auntie Katie, he has managed to keep his small business alive during a really tough time. Through a combination of reduced hours and extra work, he has stayed afloat, and the whole neighborhood came to show their love.

Even the dogs!

After egg nog, dinner, and cookies, we headed home to warm pajamas, a cat for our laps, and a fireplace. Happy forty seven, sweet man.


Grandma Judy

Bistro Agnes

Dear Liza,

Bistro Agnes, sparkly with Christmas lights

Just about a year ago, we three went to the delightful French restaurant, Bistro Agnes to celebrate our anniversaries. It is in downtown Portland at the corner of SW 12th Avenue and Alder Street. We enjoyed it so much, we went back again this year!

Bistro Agnes is the perfect place to celebrate special occasions. The food, from escargots to moules mariniere to creme brûlée, are classicly prepared and delicious. The wines choices are local, Californian and French, and all good.

My loving people

The service is friendly and expert. Our same waiter, Justin from last year, took care of us expertly.

A very happy Grandma Judy

When we ran into our friend Nicole celebrating her birthday, we sent Justin on a spy mission to find out what she was drinking so we could send her another as a birthday surprise. It was a happy conspiracy which got her absinthe frappe!

We enjoy the decor and mood of the place, which is very French and politely chatty, but not loud. Although we could hear the other people, no one’s conversation overpowered the place. This is the usual in France, but sadly, not always the case in the U.S.

Cognac for dessert!

We finished our meal with ice cream and coffee, and a cognac for Auntie Bridgett. We bundled up and were home by 7:30, full and cozy and happy to all be together.


Grandma Judy

Forty-Five Years and Counting

Dear Liza,

It is the Winter Solstice again, and I am remembering marrying your Grandpa Nelson back in 1974.

Grandpa Nelson and me, 1974

We met and dated in high school. My best friend had a crush on his best friend, so he and I spent a lot of time walking behind them as they flirted with each other, making faces and talking about life.

When he went off to Long Beach State, I followed, and that year during winter break, we got married. It felt inevitable, like the thing that was supposed to happen next. As it turned out, it was. We were, and are, a good fit.

We moved to Eugene, Oregon, had your Daddy David and Auntie Katie, went broke, and moved to Salinas. Grandpa started a business and I taught other people’s kids. We never fought about money, because most of the time we didn’t have any to fight over.

Once our kids were grown, we got to do other stuff. Grandpa Nelson started sailing in the Monterey Bay. I took a writing class and met dear Kitty Petruccelli who encouraged me to continue writing.

While helping Kitty move (three times in two years) I met Auntie Bridgett. We became friends and, after a few years, she and Grandpa Nelson and I decided we should all live together and take care of each other forever. Again, it felt like what was supposed to happen next.

Auntie Bridgett, Me, and Grandpa Nelson

That was twelve years ago next week, so my two anniversaries are just eight days apart. I am a very blessed woman to have such loving people in my life, my house, and my heart.


Grandma Judy

Anniversary Celebration

Dear Liza,

Yes, that’s us!

Grandpa Nelson and I got married 44 years ago, on the Winter Solstice in 1974. We had been dating almost four years, and I had graduated high school just six months earlier. We were on winter break from the California State University at Long Beach.

The wedding was at the church I had gone to as a child, and the reception was at Great Grandma Billie’s house in Manhattan Beach. The caterer was her best friend, Millie Meyer, who ran a sandwich shop and owned a meat slicer. We acted very grown up.

When you get married at 18, acting grown up feels important.

Here in Portland yesterday, I walked the mile down to Auntie Katie’s house. She is suffering from a cold and needed a little help. I took the makings of chicken soup, got it going, did some dishes, gave Katie her lunch, and went to the market for groceries. Then I walked home and helped Auntie Bridgett clean the house.

I AM the grown up now, so pretending I am one is less important.

So, for our big anniversary celebration this evening, we will walk down to Bread and Ink for dinner and then over to the Bagdad Theater to watch the new Mary Poppins movie. The child in me will delight in Disney joy while appreciating the man who married me all those years ago, when we were so young our friends gave us giant candles and houseplants for wedding gifts because they were kids, too.

A more recent picture

Ah, perspective!


Grandma Judy