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Laura Lipari, Author Part XX: Shaker Heights, Ohio and Bemus Point, New York

Neighbors in Shaker Heights, OH

We had lovely neighbors in Shaker Heights (near Cleveland, OH), who lived right across the street, but I can’t remember their names. I remember when the daughter was a little girl.  I would take her to the bus stop for school. She got married about six months ago to one of our other neighbors. I was so surprised that she and her husband went to school together, graduated together, and when they graduated, they went to live in their own home. They bought a house before they got married! It was a surprise that they both worked and bought the house for themselves before they married. That is the first time I had heard of that. Their parents live one street over from where they live now. I thought that was very cute to live so close to their parents.

Presently: Bemus Point, New York

We moved to Bemus Point to be closer to our family. Virginia and I have about six caretakers that each come twice a week. I have a male physical therapist who earned his degree from Holland. He is Italian, but doesn’t know how to speak Italian anymore. He went to Holland to get his masters in caretaking and that’s where he met his wife who came back to America with him and they now have four children. He is a hard worker and his kids take after him.  They are all good in school and are athletes as well.  They vacation together and have visited Holland a number of times. His wife wakes him up and makes him go swimming every morning! He is a great athlete himself, and he joined John-John’s (my first grandchild) karate dojo and he liked it so much that he had his children join. But the trouble with him is that–we have developed a reputation–when he comes over, he is always late for supper back at home! He asks me a question about my experiences during the war, because he is very much interested in what really happened and not what the paper says. I have really interesting facts about eye witness accounts to which he responds, “Oh my gosh!” I tell him he would never see it in the paper, and he says he is glad that I told him the truth. But in order to give him the answer he is looking for, I have to give him the background information which can take quite a bit of time. So sometimes my sister says to me, “Laura, why do you have to tell him all the details? It takes so long.” and I say, “Well, he shouldn’t have asked me! I can’t give him the answer without telling him the beginning too!” The firehouse, right across the street from our house, goes off every day at noon, six pm, and whenever there is an emergency. You count one….two….three… and it tells you what the issue is.  But as I am over the age limit to volunteer, I haven’t bothered to memorize the code! When the siren goes off, you will see people running down the street to the station. Women too! We have women in the fire department and then we have the first aid and the ambulance. I “tested” the system two months ago when I went to the hospital. My blood pressure was 219 over 180. But I got better. When I first found out the fire station would be right across the street from us, I wasn’t sure I wanted them there. But now I am thankful, we are just two older women that are alone. We have everything we need around us in this town! First aid right down the street, on the corner of this street is the bank, and the next street over is the post office. The grocery store is very near too! When we first moved here years ago, we walked every place and everyone would ask if we needed help. Even the cars would stop and ask if we needed help. Then at the restaurants, we have had several free lunches. My daughter, Myriam, heard and saw all of this because she lives here too and said, “They’ve never offered me anything!” Even when we tried to pay, they say they won’t accept it! Someone may think I am showing off, but Myriam says since I was 100-years-old at that time, which made an impression on everybody so everyone knows who I am. More recently, there was a lady at the grocery store who wanted to take our pictures to tell her friends back home that she knows someone who is 103-years-old with a younger sister who is 100-years-old! The lady on the corner also sent us flowers when we first moved here!  Then there is the man across the street who, every morning, will put our newspaper right next to the front door so it is closer for us to retrieve in the morning. The reason I don’t answer the phone anymore is because I can’t hear anything. I can hear their voices, but can’t make out what they are saying. It makes me feel bad because I used to be very close to my grandchildren and children. I still wish to be very close to them, but it makes it a little more difficult when I can’t talk on the phone. When we lived in the same town, I used to see my grandkids every day. I would take Angelique and Desiree to lunch and get little toys every day. People would say, “Here come the Lipari kids!”, but they look like their mother’s side, the Muratores, and I would say, “They may look like Muratores, but they are Liparis!”