Retirement Talk for Boomers, Seniors and Retirees

                                                                                                                                            What to do with the Rest of Your Life?

Episode 121 Road Trip Part 14: Durham & Chapel Hill


Durham and Chapel Hill are sister cities in North Carolina. It is hard to tell where one stops and the other begins. They tend to look similar to this visitor. They have winding streets, big oak trees, wooded yards and neighborhoods, and rather small downtowns which are not heavily populated. It is easy to tell that both cities have been mauled. The downtowns are making a comeback but it is easy to see that they have been abandoned by most folks for the shopping centers along the strips. It is also easy to tell that the main focus of each community is their university; Duke in Durham and University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The tobacco industry that formerly dominated this area seems to have, “gone up in smoke”.

This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery.

In my childhood, silence was golden and God’s rule when one entered a library. It remains that way in the Duke University library. It was deathly silence. I found myself whispering to the librarian at the main desk. The students were all silent. I haven’t experienced this type of silence among so many people in a library in many decades. I needed a few pages of a file printed out and asked the librarian if that was possible. She showed me to a computer, gave me a guest password, and told me to print away – no charge.

The buildings are of stone. The students are well mannered. We asked directions several times and were always greeted with sincerity and openness. They spoke with a certain intelligence and confidence. We walked the campus and noted the high number of medical related buildings. This seemed like a great place for a serious student. The picture we got of the place is consistent with its’ reputation.

The University of North Carolina is not far away – perhaps 10 or 15 miles. Brick and casual are two words that pop into my mind when I think of this sister school. The students seemed a bit more laid-back; chattier, a bit more typical college student than the Duke students. A young man in the visitor center was informative, friendly, well dressed, well mannered, and exuberant.

We very much enjoyed one of the very old libraries on this campus that holds the rare book collection and a museum concerning the early days in the development of the Carolinas. Our walk across the campus was wonderful in the winter sun. The large, old, bare oak trees gave testimony to the wonderful shade they must give in the summer sun.

Jill, my nice, and her husband, Will live in Durham; she is a medical ethicist at the Duke University and at the large Veterans Hospital that sits just across the street from the campus. She invited us out for dinner one evening. We had a wonderful dinner and delightful conversation. Will is an adjunct professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina and also a private practitioner. Jill’s degree is also in psychology.

They love the area. It is intellectual stimulating and personally challenging. They have a 15 year old son and they like the local public school system. It seemed like they enjoy their career track and have no intent of changing it. Although, a possibility looms that might require a move to Washington D.C. The job would be challenging and present possibilities of influencing medical ethics at the highest level in America. If the opportunity presents itself, I’m sure the decision to accept it will not be easy. Life is good for these folks in Durham right now.

Our home exchange host, Polly Medlicott, proved a wonderful host. We could not arrange a simultaneous exchange so she was in the house at the same time we were. Her visit to our place in Vancouver will have to be arranged for a later date. She was very accommodating to our needs. We found ourselves feeling welcome at all times in the kitchen and dinning area. We enjoyed sharing conversation and she gave us hints as to where to go and what to do.

She told us that she was preparing the house for sale and planned on retiring herself in the near future. She had listened to some of these podcasts and wanted to know more about where we had been and where we were going.

She also told us of her step-mother, Joan Medlicott, who started writing books in her early sixties. She and a group of women had gotten together and started talking about marriage without sex. The conversation evolved into a book entitled, “Celibate Wives”. Joan completed this book and then went on with several books concerning ghost tales. Then she moved into romantic fiction. She is now nearing 80 years of age and the books continue to flow. She has gone through several publishers and agents. She has become very good at promoting her own work. There are probably many retired folks who are closeted writers; looks like age is not an impediment to the launching of a writing career.  

 We are off to Washington DC our countries capital next. I am not looking forward to driving into the heart of the city. Brenda is serving as our GPS unit. We have heard it is a difficult city to find your way around so we are going to allow time to get lost and find ourselves, then get lost and find ourselves again. We plan on getting into the city around three so that we can have several hours of day light which will help us read street signs.

This is Retirement Talk.