My New iPhone

Recently, my brother asked my how I liked my new iPhone 6. I like it but I don’t feel particularly enthusiastic about it. At this point smart phones are mainstream a without any major new features that significantly affect how I use my cell phone, everything is a subtle to me improvement.

Then this morning it hit me how I miss Matt telling me about new technology. He did love checking out the latest and greatest technologies. It was part of his job for a long time and he bought each new Apple mobile product as it came out. I will never forget the day he very carefully, clearly and completely explained to me how GSM and WCDMA cell phone technology works. I could not repeat the explanation to anyone but I remember Matt. These are technologies that developed in our life time.

With the absence of Matt keeping me up to date on the latest technology comes the realization just how much we human beings get out of communication. It’s not just that I’m missing out on delighting in the advancements of my cell phone. I miss all the gentle mannerisms, words,  tones, and expressions of Matt talking about something he was passionate about.

Curly Hair

I was resting, half asleep, half dreaming. I started thinking of the first time that I kissed Matt. I don’t remember very much more about it than the circumstances. I had been hanging out with Matt a lot and it was pretty clear that he was interested in being more than friends (he did try to kiss me first.) I thought about it and decided I would date him. To let him know, one evening when we were hanging out in his dorm room, I leaned in and kissed him. I remember his dorm room and I remember his curly hair. It’s such a vague, fleeting memory, like a fairy, except for the curly hair.

So why was I thinking about this as I sat in the piano studio waiting while the kids had their lesson? I have been grieving some things this summer and I started wondering what it must have felt like for Matt to have me kiss him. He was pursuing me, and at that moment he caught me. I wonder what it was like for him to be in love and how it affected what he did and felt when I wasn’t there.


Recently, I started thinking about buying myself a pair of aviator sunglasses. Not because they’re my style or because I think they’re especially flattering to me. No, I bought a pair because they remind me of Matt when I first started dating him. I remember that first semester of sophomore year, Matt would sit out on the Cut at Carnegie Mellon in his aviators with his curly hair, boat shoes and what I called his snaggle tooth and I thought he was so cute and cool. He dropped two of his classes that semester because he was failing them so he had a really light load and could sit around a lot.

Crab Cakes

Matt was the person who introduced me to crab cakes. I had never had a crab cake before I met Matt. I remember one day in particular that Matt said, “Let’s go get crab cakes” and there was nothing else on the agenda. I don’t remember when or where this was, but I think we must have been in Annapolis and gone to some restaurant on the Chesapeake Bay. I remember it was broad daylight and the restaurant was not busy. I also remember that Matt didn’t necessarily know the restaurant. You must also consider that good crab cakes are expensive fare for college students/young adults. I can’t remember if we were still in college, but I do remember it being a bit of a splurge, and of course, I wasn’t even sure if they were good crab cakes or not at the time.

The funny thing (or maybe the purist thing) is that I don’t remember ever having crab cakes with Matt anywhere else except in Maryland. I don’t think he was a huge crab cake aficionado; I think he was trying to do something sweet with me (i.e. impress me).

Gorham Melon Bud

Matt and I registered at Macy’s for our wedding gifts. I remember going with him to register. He was definitely into choosing all the things we wanted to furnish our house with, but I knew what I liked and considered the aesthetic choices to be left up to me for the most part. That is, Matt had veto power and went along with the rest. However, when it came to choosing flatware, I was completely overwhelmed with the choices and had very little sense of what I liked. Matt surveyed the field briefly, chose the Gorham Melon Bud pattern, and I went along with it. I don’t think that I would ever have chosen this pattern if left to myself. At the same time, it is beautiful and I have always been very happy with it.

I was thinking about this memory this Thanksgiving as I was eating with my parents’ flatware. On the one hand, it seems silly to be so particular about flatware. On the other hand, I have been eating with my Gorham Melon Bud for fifteen years and they are very special to me. They are special because Matt chose them so easily and with such good taste, and special because they are somehow wonderfully orthogonal to what I would have ever expected to be using.

Elephant Juice

I remember a conversation with Matt where he told me that if you want to mouth the words ‘I love you’ to someone, it’s actually better to mouth the words ‘Elephant juice’ because it will look more like ‘I love you’ since there is no sound. Of course, having such a conversation meant trying it out a lot, mouthing ‘Elephant juice’ and ‘I love you’ over and over to each other.

This afternoon, I was walking in the neighborhood with the kids. Summer and Cole had run ahead and Luke was disappointed he couldn’t keep up. “I’m tired,” he says and begins to trudge like an old man. Right on the spot, I invented ‘I love you juice.’ “Do you need some ‘I love you juice’?” I ask him.

“Yes,” he says.

“Do you know what that is?” I ask. And just as I know exactly what it is, Matt’s face mouthing ‘elephant juice’ with exaggerated expression and silliness flashes before my mind’s eye. “It’s the ‘I love you’ that helps you do whatever you need to do.”



Recently, I was telling a friend that Matt and I never really dated. She laughed at me and said, “What? You just got married?”

What I meant was that we didn’t really go on dates. Matt just kind of attached himself to me and would invite himself along to wherever I was going. Of course, we were in college so a lot of the time, it also meant that Matt would just sit down next to me in the dorm cafeteria or on the lawn in early fall to enjoy the weather. I’m sure I was also inclined to stop and talk to him when I saw him because he made it so easy.

After we were a couple, I learned that all along Matt was using his strategy to “reel me in.” He told me that in high school, his best friend and he had discovered a very successful way to attract women. He would approach a girl and be very friendly, talking her up (“macking” as I learned the term from Matt), and generally giving her a lot of attention. Then he would withdraw that attention. Nine times out of ten, the girl when then come after him. I wouldn’t say I ever went after Matt, but it was so easy to talk and be with him that it was natural to progress from friendship to dating. And he always made me laugh.




Matt was a sleepwalker. The first time he ever did it with me was when we lived in our first house, not long after we were married. One night, he sat bolt upright in bed and said, “There’s someone in the house!” Needless to say, it scared me to death. Once I discovered that he was just dreaming, I never took alarm again. I would just give him a pat and tell him to go back to sleep. Matt didn’t actually get out of bed and walk around very often, although he certainly hurt himself falling out of bed a few times. More often he just sat up and started talking in a very lucid way. If I woke him up he would be quite confused and I would laugh at him in the morning. I remember Matt sleepwalking like one remembers that special curl or dimple or that endearing habit a loved one has, even if it was disruptive to my night’s sleep. I think Cole is a sleepwalker too.