It was a Sunday morning brunch of pancakes and coffee in a house on a hill in Gaviota, and Jack and Barbara, both in their 90s, were reminiscing a bit. Here's what they were telling me at this particular moment:
Barbara: When I first started teaching, my salary was $1300...for the year. That seemed pretty good.
Jack: I was off fightin’ a war.
Barbara: I had about 42 second graders in my class. I spent most of the time pulling boys apart, trying to keep them from beating each other up. But it’s true, money was worth more then.
Jack: You put enough aside for us to buy that Chevy when I got home.
Barbara: Used. A 1941, I think.
Jack: Yup, a '41 Chevy. That was a good car.
There were lot of stories here, a lot of humor, a lot of strength...and I wish I had written more down. But there were also great-grandchildren running around and climbing on laps, and a clatter of dishes and kitchen sounds, and the happy chaos of conversation and laughter. Sometimes the best we can do is be present and appreciate. A year or so later, Barbara passed away. She and Jack were just shy of their 72nd wedding anniversary.