A library is an old person’s salvation on a vacation, at home or when visiting younger family members who work. It provides books to buy, a cafe for coffee and sandwiches, magazines, free internet access, classes and all sorts of free information. It is frequently open on Sunday and always during the week.
Like many genealogical libraries. Largo is a wealth of information.There are free computers, free wi-fi and thousands of books that can be used for genealogical research.
The Pinellas County Genealogical Society meets here and sponsors lectures and help with research. There are always a few members hanging around who are happy to help you.
At the main desk you can buy genealogical forms including a 15 generation form for $2. You can make copies and there is a librarian ready to help you with any problem.
You can buy a USB flash drive for $5 and by paying $1 for a day pass you can access Ancestory.com with its infinite source of genealogical information.
The library also subscribes to about a dozen genealogy related magazines that you didn’t even know existed.
Largo is only one example. Many libraries have a genealogy section; usually run by the city or state genealogical society. In Albuquerque it covers the whole second floor of the main library and includes, copiers, thousands of books from every state, newspaper files, computer access and helpful members of the staff and the Albuquerque Genealogical Society.
In other places, Google: library+name of city+genealogy,
So, Google: library+Largo, FL+genealogy and you get:
City of Largo, Florida | Genealogy
www.largo.com › City Departments › Largo Public Library
The Largo Public Library has been designated as the center for genealogical research for the Pinellas Public Library
In Albuquerque, New Mexico,
Google: library+Albuquerque, NM and you would get:
The Genealogy Center in the Albuquerque Main Library at 501 Copper, NW is … PO Box 25512, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
You can discover the secrets of your family’s past. You hopefully will discover a number of scandalous stories to tell your friends and grandchildren. You will be more interesting than if you just talk about the last TV show you saw or about how terrible it is to grow old. You will also meet some interesting new (“old”) people.
With your genealogy as a base, you have a focus for new trips, your own living museums where you and your ancestors are the stars. You can visit the asylum where your great-great grandmother spent most of her life. Most old people aren’t really too interesting, and don’t seem to have much purpose. Don’t be one of those. Explore your past.
You can also check out old death certificates and find out what your ancestors died from; hopefully, few of them were shot by jealous spouses.
If you travel, you need to stop at a library wherever you are. Libraries serve senior travelers. This is written from the Main Branch of the Smithtown, NY Public Library. Yesterday, I was at the Huntington Station, NY Public Library.
There is free WiFi. You can sit for hours and write about your trip without being disturbed. And, you can do it from 10 in the morning to 9 at night; and, frequently on Saturdays and Sundays. There are also computers and copying machines. If you have your own i-pad you can access the library WiFi.
There are magazines and comfortable chairs. There are toilets, drinking fountains and parking.
There is local information so you can see what is happening where you are.
At Smithtown Library, pick up a copy of the monthly “Inside Your Library.” For example, in April 2015, I can attend an Estate Planning Seminar, a Seminar on “Affordable Home Buying on Long Island,” yoga, tax prep, numerous book discussion groups, movies, history lectures, a writer’s group, exhibits, and cooking classes. The Cinco de Mayo, South of the Border Cooking class, is today for $5.00 and you get to sample the results.
All the libraries that I have been in have used book sales. Here you can get paperbacks for 50 cents and hardbound books for $1.00. There are also magazines and CD’s. When traveling, you can pick up a half-dozen books, read them and donate them when you are finished.
Most libraries also have genealogical information and ties to the local historical societies. If you want to know who you are and where you came from, check out the library. In Albuquerque Public Library Main Branch, the entire second floor is devoted to genealogy, complete with thousands of books and a dozen computers that you can use for free. You can even access Ancestory.com for free within the library. And, the librarians who work the second floor are knowledgeable on researching your ancestors. An added plus is that members of the NM Genealogical Society and The Albuquerque Genealogy Society hang out there and love to help a newcomer find a person in their past.
If you have grandchildren, take a look at what libraries offer for kids. Story telling, classes, etc. If you are going to entertain a five-year old, the library is a great place.
If you travel, and even if you don’t, a library is worth a visit; especially if you want to find out about your past or if you are looking for interesting places to visit in your present.
Finally, old people have problems. They are frequently afraid to seek advice. No one wants to admit to driving problems or the possibility of cancer. A library, especially an out-of-town one, is a good place to check out your problem anonymously. You might attend a seminar on cancer; or hearing problems; or financial planning. Find out. Ask the librarian for books/information on “your problem,” and do a little research where no one knows you.
In August, 2019 we went to Philadelphia to visit relatives who live downtown on the Delaware River. The nearby Independence Seaport Museum, is home to two ships; the Cruiser Olympia, launched in 1892, and the Submarine Becuna, launched in 1944.
Most people have not been on a submarine or a cruiser, and have no idea how confining they are especially when they are as old as these are, and as I am. These are not cruise ships.
We toured the two ships and the Independence Seaport Museum. Having recently come to enjoy cruise ships due to our advanced age, we were impressed by the older ships. And, coming from Kansas and Iowa, I have always been attracted to ships.
A third ship, next to the other two, has a formal restaurant and a cafe. No one in the formal restaurant, but in the cafe, we had a shared lunch on a sailing ship. Half of a Cuban sandwich.
The submarine is not for someone who cannot manage tight spaces; narrow passageways, and low doors from one waterproof chamber to the other. It is a single narrow path through the submarine. It is climbing up and down ladders and keeping your head down. Things have probably changed in the last 80 years, or so, but I think that they must still be confining. Going through the sub is difficult, especially if you are my age, and/or have knee or balance problems. The sub is divided into sections with small (3 ft) water tight doors between them, and you have to step up and over. The hall is narrow – a fat man in front of me almost couldn’t make it through. Old person alert!
A submarine is out of my comfort zone, but irresistible. You wonder how sailers managed to get along; and, the psychological testing that they must have gone through to be assigned to a sub.
The Cruiser Olympia, is larger and had a crew of 33 officers and 396 enlisted men. Except for officers, all the sailers slept in hammocks suspended from the ceiling throughout the ship. They were narrow and suspended from hooks only when in use. You wouldn’t believe the bathroom facilities, medical areas, and the kitchens.
On the shore next to the ships is a museum of nautical exhibits. Three of the exhibits are especially interesting.
The first is devoted to the slave trade and Philadelphia, complete with photos, bills of sale, and slave success stories. They describe the horror of the slave trade which brought from 20 to 50 million slaves to the US. A moving exhibit that everyone should see. They also feature a number of slaves who were successful in Philadelphia.
The New York Times Magazine in its 1619 Project, devoted to slavery, is worth reading, and helps understand the Seaport Museum Exhibit.
The second, the ship building exhibit, follows the life of a sailor on board a ship and sailing in Philadelphia.
The third, Workshop on the Water, is not an exhibit, but a fully equipped boat building shop. There are complete boats in various stages of completion, lots of tools, and an amazing assortment of wood in various stages of shaping. Four men concentrated on the construction of several boats the day we were there.
There is one completed boat for sale for $3000.
A notice seeks teen-age apprentices who want to learn the boat-building trade. I was surprised that there were not a thousand teens lined up. If I was 65 years younger, I would be there.
The bottom line is that it is worth seeing. The space available in 100 year old ships and submarines makes assisted living facilities look like palaces.
The Seaport Museum is on the Delaware River, which runs from the Atlantic to Downsville, NY where there is a dam and the Pepacton Reservoir, a 101 miles NW of New York City. It supplies about 25% of New York’s water. It is patrolled by New York City Police Officers and is fenced and limited to boats without motors.
THINK OLD! TRAVEL MORE!
In August 2019 while visiting relatives in Philadelphia, we ate at Sky Cafe, an Indonesian restaurant that featured a rice table, known in Amsterdam as rijsttafel.
There are several Indonesian restaurants in Philadelphia; but, none in Albuquerque or Tucson. Sky Cafe is authentic, small, and except for us everyone appeared to be Indonesian. It was crowded at 6:00 and we had to sit in the hall for 20 minutes until a table was ready. Sky Cafe was down a hall in an ethnic shopping center. It was full of uncrated furniture. The sign on the door said Sky was expanding.
There is an extensive menu, but only one “rice table (rijsttafel)” for $17.
The liquor laws in Pennsylvania are BYOB (bring your own bottle) for restaurants, so we took two bottles of wine. Sky Cafe provides glasses and cork screws. There is no corkage fee.
This part of Philadelphia is out of our comfort zone, but it was not problem. An ethnic neighborhood, with a safe and local feel.
We used LYFT and when we left the restaurant, our Lyft showed up in minutes, but we did not recognize it because a cop had pulled him over for a broken tail light, which did not result in a ticket. When we got the message that “your car is here,” we discovered it was the car the cop had stopped in front of us. A story to tell.
The trip back was without incident. He told us he was about to attend the police academy in New Jersey to become a police officer. Most Lyft drivers have an interesting story to tell.
For more information on rice tables in Amsterdam search Rijsttafel on Wikipedia, which has a bunch of pictures and a list of items in a typical Rijsttafel.
Maybe you want to prepare your own rice table (Rijsttafel) with a cookbook from Amazon.
THINK OLD! TRAVEL OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE!
In July, 2019, I took a walking tour of downtown Albuquerque, NM led by one of 14 volunteers of the Albuquerque Historical Society. The tour lasted 2 hours and covered “new town” Albuquerque and focused on buildings and stories along a 10 block length of Central Ave. (formerly Railroad Avenue)
The tour was primarily of buildings built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
Janet, the tour guide was well informed, and had a notebook of historical photos. Fifteen buildings were singled out as unique in some way.
The tour starts at the site of the old Alvardo hotel, destroyed in the 1960’s and then rebuilt decades later as a transportation center for Amtrak, the RailRunner, and local and national busses.
The city tickets you for parking on Saturday on the street, so use a parking lot to avoid a $20 ticket.
A highlht of the trip is Conrad Hilton’s fourth Hotel, constructed in 1939. Hilton was born in nearby San Antonio, New Mexico.
Google Walking and the name of the city that you are visiting. Look for “free.” Check out the local historical society for information on tours and lectures.
Walking tours are, good for exercise, for meeting new people, and for keeping your old mind active.
You can find them in virtually any large city in the world.
See tripadvisor.com for walking tour ideas. Search Albuquerque, or the name of any town.
THINK OLD! TRAVEL MORE!
One of the main fears that old people have is losing their driving options. Most of us are addicted to cars. We have been driving the 450 miles from our home in Albuquerque to see our grandchildren in Tucson for years; but, since I turned 79, I am rethinking my driving before someone else rethinks it for me. Our sons watch us…
We were making the trip over two days, with a nice stop and a visit to the hot springs spa at Sierra Grande Lodge in Truth or Consequences, NM; however, now we need to think a bit further out. My no-driving future may be closer than I think. Time to experiment with a few alternatives.
Last week, we drove to El Paso; a straight 270 mile shot on I-25. We took the Amtrak from El Paso to Tucson. Cost $50 each, each way. The train was 3 hours late out of El Paso, but except for the usual stress that old people feel about sitting around in a train station, not a problem. Coming back we got into El Paso 45 minutes early, which meant that we could drive back to Albuquerque before dark. Since it was Saturday afternoon, there was not much traffic on the freeway. Dark and large trucks worry old people.
Our son met us in Tucson and the next morning we rented a car from Enterprise, who picked us up. Thus we had a car in Tucson. We turned it in on Friday at 5 and got a ride to the train station the next morning. You can save a bit of money if you go through Costco Travel.
The coach train seats were great; much better than coach airline seats.
The food was questionable. Take a look at the train menu. Next time, a picnic lunch.
Boarding was a snap. We lined up, the conductor scanned our e-tickets and gave us a paper slip with our seat numbers. We had to climb a narrow stair-case to the upper level, but, you can’t have everything when you are old. No elevator.
The train, including the bathrooms, was clean.
The observation car was comfortable with tables; and, many people with laptops, cell phones and card games.
There were electrical outlets, but no wi-fi on the Southwestern Trains. Since I am addicted to my blog, I use a personal hotspot from T-mobile; (I pay $5 extra a month for extra gigabytes and T-mobile works all over the world.)
Note that cell phone reception is not the best between Lordsburg NM and Tuson, but…
The train was not crowded; about 20 % full.
You share tables in the dining car. We were seated with an interestig man from the Phillipines who was seeing the world. He started out working on Costa Cruise Ships, heard about truck driving in the US, and came here. He is an American Citizen and drives refrigerated trucks across the US. He was going to New Orleans to pick up his car, then to Chicago to start a new truck driving job in the Northeastern part of the US. He has no overhead and plans to return to the Phillipines after Australia and New Zealand
He is also working on a blog, but has not yet published it.
In El Paso, we parked in a secure garage for $10 per day. It was about 2 blocks from the train station and a block from the bus station. It is manned 24 hours a day.
The El Paso train station is an imposing old building; but not marked in any way. So we drove around it a few times and ended up back on the freeway before someone pointed it out. Downtown El Paso is confusing. Next time we will recognize the train station. Experience works, even in old age.
The train station is large, not used much: one passenger train a day in each direction. It has vending machines, one of which takes your money and does not vend; but, there is a warning sign. All the usual junk food. Nothing healthy. Cookies, candies and chips. No restaurants close by.
Three unplanned hours of waiting.
The net result: when we really can’t drive we can take the train, even though it will mean a bus ride from Albuquerque to El Paso, which can be arranged through Amtrak. You have to walk from one station to the other.
Since there are no longer any non-stop flights from Albuquerque to Tucson, we are considering flying through Las Vegas.
Another option that I will have to try alone, since my wife is not interested, is the bus to Tucson. It is reasonable, goes through Phoenix and leaves and arrives at decent hours, albeit 12 hours apart.
The lesson learned is that I have several relatively safe options to get to Tucson; all of which I will try before I have to use them. Even at my age I can figure out what to do now that I have done it.
We can adapt to our age.
You should check out alternate means of travel.
THINK OLD! TRAVEL MORE!
If you visit Santa Fe, New Mexico, a visit to Tesuque Glass Works will provide an interesting experience; perhaps even better than the tours of the Corning Glass Museum in Corning, New York, since at Tesuque, you are closer to the action.
You can watch expert glass blowers turning out works of art, which are for sale.
If you arrange for it in advance, you can also take classes and blow your own creation. For classes contact:
You are traveling; and, of course you have to eat. Mostly it is too expensive and probably not good for you; but, at your age who cares?
I am interested in places and ideas for eating well but frugally. This means getting the most for your money, having a new experience and maybe meeting new people. And, as always, you may have a story to tell. No one is interested if you ate at a chain; however, going to a church supper in a small NM town will give you a story to tell.
Share a plate. Old people eat less. Most places will let you do it, though some charge an extra $3 or so. Always split a desert.
I have tried the following:
1. Eat at Whole Foods or other gourmet grocery store. You get good food in reasonable quantities and can eat it in the store or take it with you. You will also feel good since it is organic, humanly raised and free of additives. Your grandchildren will love it.
2. Try a university. Parking may be a problem; however, they usually have salad bars and other interesting menu items. Sometimes you can even get a beer or glass of wine.
3. Hospitals have gotten better, at least in their cafeterias. I can remember when it was all fried, but now they have salad bars and other items that reflect their “dedication” to health. Don’t stay too long as you might catch something; they are places to avoid except for a quick meal.
4. Frequently, you can visit an assisted living facility and in exchange for listening to the sales pitch, get a free meal. This would be my last resort in most cases, having seen some of the food.
5. Some chains have reasonably priced healthy food. If you see a Chipotle or a Subway, stop. Two of you can share a burrito or a 12 in. sub, for about $6 to $8.
6. Picnic. Stop at a store and buy what you need for a picnic. Remember that left-overs may be a problem.
7. Frequent bed and breakfasts. Have a big breakfast, an apple for lunch, and a nice dinner with a glass of wine.
8. Service clubs, if you are a member. Watch for signs giving the day and place as you enter a town; or, go on-line.
9. If you belong to a private club, golf club, health club, or tennis club, check them out for reciprocity. Usually they can arrange for you to be a guest and use the facilities in another town. There will probably be a small fee.
10. Church suppers are always interesting; especially in small rural towns.
11. Small town events can give you interesting food.Try the Ramp Festival in Cullowhee, NC; or the matanza in Belen, NM where you can eat outside your comfort zone.
12. Never forget museums; especially if you are in Europe. Some of the best food I have had has been at museums in Madrid, Vienna and London. The same applies to US museums. At least look at them.
Pick up small town papers. Visit your old home towns. Use the internet. Try something new. Check out small town chambers of commerce. Explore.
The High Line is an urban path that used to be an elevated train track. It runs from Gansevoort Street about 1;45 miles to 34th street. Access is by stairs and elevators. The 34th street end is about three blocks from Penn Station, so you can take a train or subway there and walk over.
The four phases were opened in 2009, 2011, 2014 and 2015. It is similar to the rails-to-trails program and other programs that have created unusual walking paths. This one is smack, dab in Manhattan and snakes through a valley of skyscrapers, with 40 added in the last 10 years and more under construction. Walking it you are surrounded by windows looking out on the High Line and cranes rigging new construction.
You can walk, but not bike, the distance. There are over 210 species of plants; and, of course, old train tracks.
There are places to sit, and ares that allow for a picnic or party for up to 20 of your friends. In addition, there are numerous events planned for the summer. Around each stair/elevator, restaurants, and bars are springing up.
I did not see any toilets; only, numerous signs on restaurants that restrooms were for customers only.
The High Line is not as wide as I expected; but, it is a use of old second story train tracks.How wide can two elevated train tracks that go through downtown Manhattan be? It is a great idea and should be, and has been, replicated in many places.
It is a tourist destination only if you want to see one of the performing groups, if you want to see what could be done in your backyard, or if you are curious.
Such paths provide old people a chance to get outside, to walk, to meet and socialize with friends and to interact with their environment.
I would like to see:
1. Chess/checker/etc. boards so that old people could play chess/checkers/cards/ etc. like they do in Europe and small town mid-western town squares.
2. Drinking fountains.
4, Maybe, but it would be tricky, ice cream carts, coffee carts, etc. on the path. Perhaps they could use the second-hand carts that airlines used to use before they stopped providing food/drinks/etc. on flights.
5. In the open space, early morning tai chi as in San Francisco China Town.
If you are interested, take a look at the following:
I checked out New Mexico on Trailink and discovered that the 16 mile long bike/walking path, 100 yards from my home was listed, in addition to dozens of others that I had not heard about. Wherever you go find an interesting walking path. Walking is what a “good” old age is all about.