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Sixty-Something: The Best Days Of Our Lives

T.J. Clemente

The author on vacation. (Courtesy Photo)

In a lifetime there are good days and bad days, and then there are the best days and perhaps the worst days. Today I am focusing on the best days of my lifetime, because they may be similar to the best days everyone has had, besides at this point in life who wants to talk about our worst days?

When I was very young the last day of school each year was a best day. For whatever reason the last day of the school year wasn't even a full day and consisted of absolutely no learning. There was the ritual of going in, siting in seats, turning in text books, cleaning out our desks and lockers, and with the final bell of the school year letting out a roar as we exited the school. We'd say goodbye to some teachers and classmates and run into summer vacation. I can still recall that joy, each year.

I will always remember the Saturday in the spring of 1968 when The American Legion Baseball team won the Pelham Babe Ruth League championship. I was the catcher on that team and reveled in how well David Fenwick pitched completing a season where he never lost a game. My nickname for David was "pinner," because he had amazing pinpoint accuracy. The joy we all had after the last out is still in my heart. Tragically, David Fenwick was killed just a few weeks later in a car accident coming back from a church event. Thinking back, I now know, 50 years later, how much time and life experiences he was robbed of and how tragic his death really was.

High school graduation weekend was epic. There was a senior prom, a graduation ceremony in the gym (perhaps 100 degrees in there) and a class Circle Line Cruise followed by the traditional final class trip to Jones Beach. No, all this didn't happen on just one day yet now in my memory it seems like it did.

I will never forget the actual birth-days of my two daughters. My first daughter was born just a few hours after her due date on a full moon at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. Whereas my youngest daughter was born on her actual due date in the birthing section of Lawrence Hospital, in Bronxville, N.Y. and has never been on time since. How can I ever forget calling my mom and dad and both nights to tell them the news?

An unusual best day for me was on a day I was covering a fundraiser for the Montauk Playhouse at the East Lake Yacht Club for the Montauk Pioneer. The main event was a check given to the playhouse by the famed playwright Edward Albee who penned, Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf, along with other award winning plays. Afterwards I went up to Mr. Albee and introduced myself because I needed a photo for the paper. He said, "I know who you are. I have read your articles." And he shook his head in a most disapproving way, which to this day I look back as a supreme compliment.

Again the last best day of my life also took place on a full moon night. It was in 2009 and I was in the musical, Anything Goes, being produced by the Springs Theater Group and performed at Guild Hall. We had one of our last rehearsals canceled because the director, Peter Fitzgerald's mom was ill. That cancellation allowed me to go to an event at Ziggy's, a short lived restaurant in Sag Harbor. My friend from many Sarabelle Prince's "Journal" writing classes, Judy Lynn McDowell had asked me to attend and finally meet her 90ish mother. Judy was at the door greeting everyone and pointed toward where her mother was. However when I reached her mother she was talking to this very beautiful blonde woman. I stood and waited to get my chance to introduce myself. In those short moments I instantly fell in love with that blonde woman, even before I ever uttered a word. That blonde woman and I have been together since and she is now my wife, "my last wife," as I like to proudly tell all. The best thing about that best day is that it has been a never ending best day. I know many understand because they too, are living in a very similar never ending best day.

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