The Best Gift We Can Give Each Other (and It’s Free)

Growing up, we got our Christmas trees from Mr. Munro, the man who owned our house before us. He had studied horticulture in college and taught at a school for years. He owned a tree farm a few hours away from his home, so in his 70s, he decided to sell that home and move to the farm full time. My mom and dad were new to town and in their late 20s — sans kids and dog. Those would come later. …

The Skype Solution for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

The other day I was sitting in my neighborhood Starbucks surrounded by the chatter of conversation and people hunched over their laptops or newspapers. At one table, however, something remarkable was going on. A woman was sitting in an armchair, her laptop perched on a table in front of her. She was having an exuberant conversation — in sign language. Not a sound came from her except for an occasional guffaw, but her conversation was so animated you almost felt you …

9 Life Lessons From My 90-Year-OId Friend

I met Arthur six years ago, thanks to an online ad. A community-based nonprofit called DOROT — meaning “generations” in Hebrew — was looking for volunteers to visit older New Yorkers, many of whom couldn’t easily leave their homes. The commitment was once a week for an hour. Knowing how much my Pop Pop loved (and needed) company, I signed on. Little did I know that the decision would change my life. DOROT paired me with Arthur, and we hit …

Having My FaceTime With Arthur

I didn’t know what to expect from my long-distance friendship with Arthur – but it wasn’t this. It’s been three months since I moved from Brooklyn, N.Y., to small-town Ohio for grad school. It was tough telling friends I was leaving, especially Arthur, who had come to rely on my Friday visits. Several weeks before the move date, I called our social worker Sasha at DOROT to strategize about how to break the news. “When do you think I should …

The Beginning of a Beautiful (Long-Distance) Friendship

One Friday last month, I finally broke my news to Arthur. “I have something I need to tell you,” I said, taking a deep breath. “I’m going to graduate school.” “That’s great!” “For gerontology.” “To study old people?” “Yep. And it’s in Ohio.” “Ohio?!” That’s the part I had been nervous about – telling him I’m leaving New York. Apart from his time in the Navy and a year sabbatical in China, Arthur has lived in New York his whole …