Thursday, June 06, 2024

No Catchy Title Can Help Me Now...


In this edition of the Change the Journey Blog I have decided to write about Pam.  I thought that writing a few stories about her would give you a little more insight into the kind of person she was before the dementia.  

One of the very first things that I learned about Pam was that she valued her independence.   She felt that being married did not mean that you were attached at the hip.  She felt that women gave up part of their independence by pooling  financial resources in the family account, often controlled by the husband.  I could tell that this issue was very important to her.  So we did it differently.  Her paycheck went into her bank account and mine went into my account.  We agreed on how the family bills were to be paid, but our accounts were separate.  Credit cards were handled the same way, I had mine, she had hers and we each paid on them ourselves.    Large purchases were always joint decisions.  But she never lost her ability to spend her money and maintain her independence.  

Shortly after we moved to Londonderry in 1979, Pam went to work for an newly opened children's shoe store called The Shoe Zoo.  It wasn't long before the owner made Pam the manager.  Pam easily built a rapport with the kids and made the entire process much easier for the parents.  She was well known in the community for her ability to remember the child's name and shoe size the next time they came in.  When JC Penney decided to open a store in the new mall in Salem, Pam was hired to manage the shoe department.   Over her eighteen year career with them she held several positions including Training Supervisor and Customer Service Supervisor.  When we moved to Maine, she transferred to the South Portland store and sold custom window coverings for many years.

Friends was another area where she maintained some independence.  She had her friends, I had my friends, and we had our friends.  Obviously, over time  there was only one group, the later.  Many of her friends came from bowling.  Neither of us were very athletic growing up.   But she was always interested in bowling.  She liked candle-pin bowling, but I did not.  Pam joined several women's bowling leagues and had many friends among the other bowlers.   I preferred ten-pin bowling, so we also joined a Friday night couples league.  Our team was called Lefties Plus One.  As you might guess, Pam was the only right-hander on our team.  For a decade, we also played on a couples softball team   So while she maintained her independence, we did a lot of things together,

Automobiles were another place that we were were different.  As I used to put it... "I had the family car and Pam had her play toy".   For much of my career, I commuted down Interstate 93 into Massachusetts.  For safety and comfort, I chose to drive a Crown Victoria or a Grand Marquis.  But Pam always wanted a convertible.  For twenty years, she drove convertibles.  It started with a old Le Baron convertible for sale on the side of the road.   We had to install new floorboards just to get it to get through inspection.  But she had her convertible!  Shortly before Pam's 50th birthday she spotted a dark blue Chrysler Sebring convertible that was for sale at our mechanics used car lot.  A few weeks later she was very disappointed when we returned to the lot and the car was gone.  Little did she know, I had already purchased it and it was hiding in the back lot until her birthday.   It was many years later that I bought my Dodge Challenger and together, Pam and I proudly displayed it at many cars shows.

Another interesting story is how we both came to love Bermuda.  At some point, I had promised Pam that I would take her on a cruise to somewhere exotic.  As a typical guy, I never seemed to get around to it.  When several of the women on one of her bowling leagues mentioned that they were booking a cruise to Bermuda with their spouses,  Pam went ahead and booked it.  That was one advantage of her financial independence.  For our twentieth anniversary, we took the Norwegian Majesty to St. Georges, Bermuda.  The cruise and our visit to Bermuda were a great success.  Before the ship docks back in Boston, they hard sell you on booking for the following season.   Pam asked if we could.  My response was "the girls will love this".  Needless to say, we returned the next two years, with our daughters, and made the love of Bermuda a family affair.  Pam and I have traveled to Bermuda a total of nine times.  Our youngest daughter loved it so much that her wedding was held there.

Another area of common joy for us was horseback riding.  Pam had done a little riding in her youth.  I had never been on a horse.   In the early 1980's, I took Pam on a business trip out to Phoenix, Arizona.  we had several days after the business activities had ended and we decided to go horseback riding in the Arizona desert.  We went to McDonald's Ranch and had a guided ride out among the saguaro cactus and mule deer.   We returned to New Hampshire and started booking rides at Lucky Seven Stables.  Eventually, we bought two horses and boarded them at Lucky Seven.  About a year later, we bought Shaving Hill Farm in Maine.  For the first year, we just spent holidays and vacations there.  Eventually,I built stalls in the barn and moved the horses up there.  It provided great riding opportunities for us.  Eventually, the horses became ill and they are buried there.

So while Pam valued her independence, we had much in common.  Given that we only knew each other about eight months before were got married, we have done well.  Our three daughters and five grandsons make us very proud.  While the dementia may be taking her from us very slowly, it can never diminish what we have accomplished together.


  1. So that's where Jay and I get it huh?? We also have his/hers and ours bank accounts. And Jay was along for the last cruise to Bermuda...although we love Aruba more:)

  2. Wow - sounds familiar - fearlessly independent. I love the stories - I didn't realize the backstory of Bermuda. Enjoy reading your blog every time! Love you both!

  3. Thanks for the delightful back stories, Cuz. I feel like I know Pam better. Much love to you both.

  4. Great stories! Thanks for sharing them.

  5. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thanks for sharing! Jen and I just returned from Bermuda for our 34th Anniversary. We also cruised to Bermuda on the Majesty in 2000 and 2002. Maybe we were on the same cruise way back in the day? :)

  7. Thank you for sharing your beautiful stories with Pam, Love, Maureen💗💗