By Lois Wagh Aronstein
We all experience many shifts in our lives. When bad things happen to good people, it may result in a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end — our change closes one door but opens another.
My “Shift” happened in 2002.
I had no anticipation that my marriage of 37 years would end so suddenly — I never expected it to. We were going along just fine, our family was launched, we were empty-nesters, paying attention to building our two careers. All seemed perfect…so I thought. Then came the devastating separation.
So I became a “single” again.
For a time, it was an out-of-body experience, followed by therapy, a period of grieving, anger and, finally, acceptance.
And then I knew I needed to get my mojo back.
My “crazy time” began when I signed up for an online dating site. I was close to 60 at the time, too old for speed dating, but that was actually the name of the game: Next…no…Next…NO…Next…oops, he’s not really “separated,” he’s married…Next…Yikes, that one’s weird!
“I am looking for something different,” I wrote in my online profile.
Three years passed, and man number 41 entered — there was Jerry. Yep, he sure was different!
His profile said, “Harleyskibum.” His picture showed a man more mature than I wanted but with a nice face, and he was seated at the helm of a sailboat. Hmmm, let’s give him a try: YES…click.
Then he answered my “tease.”
I was at a friend’s house; I had been separated from my wife for about nine months at this time. My friends had a computer and were helping another guy write his online dating correspondence. I was watching as he scrolled through the selection of a woman online looking for a male.
I thought online dating was “not for me,” but I joked with the guy and said, “Oh, I can steal any one of those women away from you in a heartbeat!” We all laughed at the thought (I was 69 at the time).
Then I went home, and when I turned on my computer, I noticed something different: It said, Welcome to XXX.com. I found myself now registered for an online dating site! My friends had signed me up as a joke! Funny!
What the heck, as long as my friends had already spent the money, I might as well use it! So I lied about my age and wrote my profile; I called myself “HARLEYSKIBUM.”
After a few “out-of-this-earth” adventures I found Lois’s “tease.”
On our first date, at a Greek restaurant in Manhattan, we discovered we had both lied about our ages! But we had much more in common: We’d grown up in the same area of da Bronx (albeit nine years apart) and both our dads had been butchers. We even knew some people in common. It was a small world.
We are now seven years into our relationship, and the partnership couldn’t be better. Time heals all wounds, and we’ve discovered there is love after love.
And so, Jerry introduced me to Harley. He has only seven bikes in his garages; among these are two Harleys. He is a collector of vintage motorcycles among other collections (Native American arts and crafts, perfume bottles, stamps, postcards, etc.).
Who would’ve thunk I’d be a biker chick at my age, 60-plus?
And the bonus is that Jerry’s family is now my family. I have my own wonderful adult children in New York City (and with their partners, one “granddog” and one “grandcat,” but no grandchildren yet), and now I have an “adopted” family, with two beautiful girls who call me “Grandma,” in South Dakota.
Liv (means “life”) is 7 and Nev (means “snow”) is 6, and I have been in their young lives since they were first born; these girls are bright and beautiful. Isn’t that what every grandma says? They dance, do gymnastics, are excellent readers and are highly creative.
We love making Micky Mouse pancakes together. And they are mini-bikers!
Jerry and I now travel between New York City, Vermont (Jerry’s second home) and South Dakota several times a year to visit all our family.
Now that I have recently retired, we are currently looking to buy a house to stay in South Dakota for longer periods to enjoy our grandchildren.
Hee yah! South Dakota here we come!
Jerry always says to me, “You said you were looking for something different. Be careful what you wish for — you may get it!”