The Garden Club
By Irwin Gretczko
This is an email to an old girlfriend who I hadn’t seen in 30 years. We just re-connected and she asked me what have I been doing…
Well let’s see, I’m on the plane now with 3 hours to spare… So your father died and your mom remarried. I think you’re very fortunate that your mom found someone to be with in her later years. Is your estranged husband G— the bank guy you were seeing 30 years ago after we split?
Maybe things will work out for both of you after you have been separated for a while and get to miss one another. I separated from my current lady for a short period of time but after she got down on her knees and begged me to come back I gave her another chance.
After you and I went our separate ways, I spent 5 or 6 years with a party animal lady and we had wonderful times until she started looking to settle down.
After her I quit the agency and left everything there to my brother and moved toBrooklynwhere R—– and I bought some 2 family homes to invest in (ugh). I also bought a place inFloridaand moved there for about 1/2 year with another lady friend of mine (aids was a big relationship motivator at that time – especially since friends of my last girlfriend had just died of aids). We spent our time roller skating in a park by the beach.
When I came back we (R—– and I) sold those homes we had foolishly invested in just about breaking even. When I returned toNew YorkI was going to stay in my house in theHamptonsfor a while but after coming back here I ended up never leaving. I became a full timeEast Hamptonresident. The woman I was with moved in and took a 14 year vacation with me. It took about 10 years for her to finally leave (I could not get rid of her – she had nowhere to go). I was supporting her so she never worked. Those were my software years. When she left I gave her my Mercedes and all my savings of 75 grand to start a new life. I haven’t heard from her since. My friends said I was crazy but I felt good about doing the right thing. You know the saying – what goes around comes around. Well I can attest to the accuracy. We sold the agency (90th street) and so I have some money to live on for a long time. I was toying with sellingEast Hamptonand relocating toFloridabut I think I’ve given up on that idea. That’s a place where people go to vegetate and die. I still have a lot of living to do. I just sold an apt I bought 4 years ago at a great loss because they did not allow pets but I’m down there now looking to replace it with something better. Spending winters inFloridais great. It’s a change of climate and a change of scene. I know many people there and last year we were busy every day for the 2 or 3 months that we were there.
I just know the Garden Club experience might be interesting to you. I started reminiscing about it after hearing from you. Fellow travelers attract the same energy. After I came back toEast HamptonI hadFire Islandfriends come visit here to my house (M—-, G—-, R—–). We would get high and spend time pontificating in the hot tub. Conversations went from the meaning of life to the definitions of existence. We carried this “men’s club” back toFire Islandwhere it became a bi-weekly event. It grew to as many as 15 participants. Wives would approach us and ask to please let their husbands continue to join in because of the changes in their behavior after some sessions.
We would also discuss books we were into and one of those was by Wayne Dyer – who was just getting started then. You probably have seen him recently on channel13. Inone of his books he was quoting Rousseau’s idea of staying home and cultivating one’s own garden. And VOILA the garden club was born. A writer onFire Islandstarted writing a book about us but it never got off the ground.