Doctors and Nostalgia for Urbana

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I had some leftovers until Monday, as Anna brought us the whole turkey meal on Thursday, R brought us dinner on Friday, and Ludy arrived with a bag from Whole Foods on Saturday!  I welcome their help, since I am quite drowsy, but Guido has become quite good at shopping and even cooking.  He makes my lunch now every day, after zillions of years I made his 😉

The holidays had also postponed my visit to the doctor.  Instead of going on Monday I had to go yesterday, Wednesday.  The blood test results were not ready until then.  Dr. P still thinks I have something other than thyroid problems (when doctors refuse to concentrate on the disease, maybe because they don’t know what to do, they look for other causes). He thinks I may have had a stroke when I had anesthesia during surgery. He says it happens (!). Another possibility is Celiac disease.  He had already done a complete Celiac panel not long ago, but he claims that now there is a new and better test. I know it is a waste of his time and mine, but he insists. He is fixed on this because his wife has it.  I’ll have the test next week as well as an MRI of the brain.  This means that I am still in limbo. What’s new???   He has also reduced my thyroid medication because the tests show that now I am still hyperthyroid, according to him.  On with the show!

When I posted my comments about Urbana, Rosana told me that indeed we are all nostalgic about those days. For our daughters, that was the place where they grew up. When we came to this country in 1964 Rosana was almost three years old and Valeria five months old.  They grew up in the best possible environment, surrounded by friends who are still part of their lives and of ours. They were also among people who shared their and our ideas and ideals – all very progressive.  I remember that Valerie wanted to take a recording of the musical “Hair” to school when she was in kindergarten or first grade, and the teacher told me she would not mind, but wondered how she’d explain some of the words to the young students!  The girls went to day camp, which was basically swimming.  Every day they would make a circle around the flag and recite the pledge of allegiance. Valeria would turn her back to the flag and refuse to say it, claiming she was not born here.  Nobody complained, I think, and she was not expelled.

For Rosana too, this environment helped to shape her.  We had watched a film by Costa Gavras, “Z”, and it affected her very deeply. On Saturdays they both went to “Saturday children” where they did ceramics.  Rosana made quite a large medallion with the hammer and hoe and wore it to school.  Since she attended Uni high, a “laboratory school” funded by the University of Illinois  (,_Illinois%29), nobody complained.  She was strongly politicized then, and wanted to be dictator of the world to bring justice!

Our friends there were mostly at the university, but they were not limited to our fields.  A few even live in this area now, but some are in other states or all over the world.  However, we are still close to several.  It seems that the memories we share are a strong part of our lives, more than any others after we left in 1978.  The place was small, and that fostered a sense of community, something totally lacking here, unfortunately…

Am I becoming “old” and nostalgic?  I think that being sick makes me appreciate better what we had then, which was so special.  Nothing has ever replaced it.  We were with friends almost daily, and there wasn’t a weekend when we didn’t have parties or outings.  Reggie once told me that I fed them all!  We even took trips to Chicago together on shopping sprees, and to go to Vidal Sassoon to have our hair cut (yes!). And, in spite of being in the midst of cornfields, Guido drove to Long Island with our huge Cadillac and “trailered” back a sailboat he had bought there.  No, we did not sail on the corn, but in a man made lake, Carlyle, close to Urbana.  Reggie and Ted helped us launch it, and many were guests for the day in that small boat.  Guido could never live without a boat!

It gives me great satisfaction that our daughters have turned out to be so environment conscious, and willing to help the community either through Habitat for Humanity or Grid alternatives (solar panels).  And it is true that Urbana had something to do with this. Why did we leave?  Like many others, the opportunities were elsewhere after we graduated.  We had both been students there, and even though we both got to have tenured positions, we were always viewed as students, especially in my case, when I was the only woman in a faculty of 21.

But I also need to look to the future now, and continue hoping that soon somebody can find out what I have and I can go back to my “normal” self.  I can hardly remember what that was…


About martisima

After over 50 years of teaching literature to undergraduate and graduate students, I feel I have earned my retirement (it happened when I was 72, five years ago). I do miss the classroom, however, but not the meetings and all other requirements of the profession. I love teaching, and wish I could still do it. But now I read for pleasure, and watch films, and listen to all kinds of music (no TV, though). I love to travel, and hope I can resume doing it soon. I need to get over my health issues caused by thyroid surgery three years ago!
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4 Responses to Doctors and Nostalgia for Urbana

  1. anna amato says:

    I think we of a certain age are nostalgic for what I have to believe was a better time. I grew up in an environment like Urbana and look back on that time and the 70’s as the best time of my life.
    I hope the doctor figures this out quickly for all your sakes and you can move on.
    A Blessed Hanukkah

  2. martisima says:

    True, dear Anna, but of course it helped we were younger. Still, I think the time in Urbana was wonderful for our family!

    Who knows what the doctors are thinking and (not) doing. I am getting tired.

    I never knew about Hanukkah in Buenos Aires, and we don’t celebrate much anything, but I thank you for your good wishes!

  3. Pat says:

    Very beautifully remembered visit to your bygone years, Marta. Didn’t Forrester say that ‘The past is a different country’? It is.

    Vi mando abbracci.

  4. martisima says:

    Yes, it is a different country, and maybe we idolize it too much, but life was so simple in a small university town… At the beginning we didn’t even lock our doors or the car! And we had so many friends, and everybody lived close by and……

    Grazie and abbracci to you too, Pat!

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