Yesterday, I left the warm embrace of my family, and went to see one of my oldest friends, Kathryn O'Leary Shilale, Her mom, Jackie O'Leary, and Kathryn's daughter, Elizabeth, her daughter who looks just like Kathryn did at that age, a little down the road in Osterville.
Kathryn and I met at John's Island in the late seventies, and she has been a constant in my life, even though our in person visits are rare events. Being the only girl after six boys, Kathryn has one of the quickest, funniest wits I know. We always end up laughing, no matter what it is we are talking about, and Wednesday night was no exception.
Pulling into the driveway of their yellow house, located in a shady neighborhood, is like coming home. I love Cape Cod, but I am really challenged getting around and having any kind of sense of direction. I am notorious for saying I will be at someone's house in an hour and showing up three hours later, because I took the route to Falmouth, in stead of to Harwich, on a summer Saturday night, and missing an entire anniversary party because i got so lost.
When i arrived on the Cape earlier than I thought i would, and i didn't need to call one of my cousins to lead me in, I felt so proud of myself. But it was too early for cockiness, because a few days later, I got horribly lost looking for the lake beach in my cousins' neighborhood, before finally calling it a day and going back to where i was staying.
My cousin, Ed Blute, told me once when he was on the phone leading me in from the bridge, that the reason Cape Cod is so confounding to outsiders is on purpose. Year 'rounders on the cape really don't want people to find them.
Thanks to GPS, i made it Osterville, and the O'Learys' yellow colonial house with no problem, and just in time for happy hour.
Both Kathryn and her mom, Jackie, are very hospitable, and while Kathryn made delicious grilled chicken caesar salads for us, we drank wine and Jackie filled me on the family, and we talked about writing, my trip, and news from John's Island. Four years ago, Jackie moved back to the Boston area, but people still ask about her at JI. I was so happy sitting there, in the kitchen, with people who have known me since I was a teenager.
Jackie O'Leary is one of my all-time favorite people and a true role model. She has energy to burn and a great sense of humor. She just celebrated her 88th birthday, and a few months before, when her son turned 60, she flew out to San Francisco for the party. And she ended up having such a good time that she was out until after 2:00 am!
She goes to mass every morning, plays golf and bridge regularly, plays the piano, and constantly keeps herself intellectually stimulated by taking courses on different subjects. She is getting ready to write her memoir, and I will be the first to read it.
I brought peppermint ice cream from the 4Cs, an extremely popular ice cream place, and for good reason. After dessert, Elizabeth, who turns twelve on July 26, and Jackie left us, and we had a chance to to chat and catch up.
Kathryn is one of those people I've adopted into my chosen family, and she graciously gave up her huge bed for me that night, even though she was playing in a golf tournament the next morning. She and her partner ended up winning, even after a night on the sofa bed.
I left around 11:00 am on Thursday, and headed to Norwell, to visit my cousin, Tom Flynn, and his wife, Joyce. They have three girls, but I only got to see two of them briefly, because (of course) i wasted a lot of time getting lost in the suburbs of Boston.