My mother has written three books–two novels, one nonfiction–and numerous newspaper columns and magazine articles. And now she has published a new book, a marvelous travel memoir of the three winters she and her partner spent chasing the sun. She and Sandy traveled, in successive winters, to New Zealand, South Africa and Spain, and Argentina and Antarctica. My mother kept a journal of their experiences, beginning with that first essential decision as she faced both retirement and the prospect of living perhaps ten years longer than a person born in the early 1930s might have anticipated. What to do with all that time? Hunker or stretch? She and Sandy stretched.
I was continually involved in Mom and Sandy’s adventures, both the traveling and the writing, as a daughter and then as my mother’s editor. For me, reading about my mother’s thought processes as she and Sandy decided where, when, and how to go where they did; the continual need to then choose, once they were in a particular country, where to go next and how to get there; their joy at unexpected marvels and frustrations when things just didn’t work out (and those occasions seem rare); and my mother’s insights into what she was experiencing, viewed in part from knowledge gathered over her years as a social studies teacher at a private school, all thrilled and enlightened me.
As Rebecca Rule wrote in her review of the book: “… youth is not a prerequisite for adventure. … Nothing about Sandy and Martha’s series of adventures is usual. They break every stereotype. In the beginning, the question plagued them: Can we afford to go? In the end, it’s clear they couldn’t afford not to.”
I can only hope I have such marvelous adventures in my seventies.