Yesterday I spent the day with my old friend Lois Juliber. I hadn’t seen her in years because I live on the west coast and she lives on the east coast and we lead very different lives these days. When I was a New Yorker, she and I played tennis every weekend in the summer and spent memorable evenings with our husbands and other friends and it was great fun. Now I’m holed up in my home office in California writing and she’s traveling the world. The former VP of General Foods and Vice Chairman of Colgate-Palmolive (we’re talking about one of the highest-ranking women in corporate America), she now either chairs or sits on multiple boards. In between trips to Uganda, she plays a mean game of golf and has played the world’s best courses. Yesterday we met up and caught up and talked for hours. At times she was making me awestruck with tales of moving in circles I couldn’t fathom. At other times she was “just Lois,” telling me with pride that she has all the hardcover copies of my books displayed at her house. It was a lovely day.
As have been so many other days during my month in Connecticut. I’ve had laughs with old publishing pals and have reunited with one of my closest friends from summer camp. I’ve seen cousins I rarely get to see. And I’ve spent time with my mother, who came to California for her 96th birthday but rarely ventures out of New York.
So with only a week to go on my summer vacation, it’s with a wistfulness that I go about the rest of the trip. The weather has turned cool – kind of strange for July – and I slept with all the covers on for the first time since I got here. Maybe it’s telling me it’s time to go home. Or am I home? Hard to tell right now.
Spending the month of July in Washington, CT in beautiful, bucolic Litchfield County, has become a tradition and there’s nothing I don’t love about it except the mosquitoes, which love me as much as I despise them (and I’ve got the bites to prove it).
California is home now, no question, but there will always be a pull toward the east coast where I was born and raised and still have family and friends. Besides, while others complain about the heat and humidity, they’re just fine with me. I’m always cold in California and in Connecticut I can go sweater-less and enjoy it.
One of the best reasons for coming east is to head over to the Bridgewater Village Market for pie. And I don’t just mean any old pie. I mean pie as in the best crust, the best fruit, the best everything I’ve ever tasted. We had their blueberry pie on July 4th and it was as heavenly as ever. I don’t know how they get it right every single time, but they do.
I’ve already had my share of corn on the cob too, plus swordfish straight from Maine. (The best fish purveyor around these parts is a guy with a fish truck that he parks on Route 7 in New Milford; he drives down from Maine all night so he can sell fresh fish and seafood from the truck – he’s known as “the fish guy.”)
Swimming is another pleasure that’s exclusive to my visit here. I never swim in California. Too cold. But here I plunge right in and it feels great.
The only bad thing about my month here is that it’s just that: a month. Much too short.