I was delighted when Ellin offered to write some pieces for Serendipity. Good friend, passionate animal advocate, gourmet cook … a women who has done a lot of living and has made the best lemonade out of life’s lemons.


by Ellin Curley

I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of time travel. I’m particularly fond of the fantasy of going back in time, knowing what you know now, and changing some pivotal moment in your past. I used to wish fervently for this fantasy to become a reality so I could undo some of my Top 10 “mistakes” and bad judgement calls. Many of those involved my first husband – like deciding to marry him and deciding — multiple times — to stay with him when reason told me I should leave.


I’m a logical person. The problem with this fantasy is I would have to accept the drastic changes in my personal time line which would inevitably flow from new and improved life choices.

The biggest and most obvious change is obvious: if I didn’t marry my ex, I wouldn’t have my children. I can’t imagine life without them, so, scratch that option.

If I leave him after I have my kids, life still changes so dramatically the odds of my ever meeting my current husband are virtually nil. I’m not prepared to give him up. He’s the best piece of luck I ever had, the best decision I ever made.

What this adds up to? I seem to have reached a point in my life I never thought I would achieve: at peace. Knowing all the crap I went through led me to where I am now. Made me into who I am.

My husband and I often talk about how, without the angst in our past, we wouldn’t have appreciated each other when we did meet. We’re pretty sure we wouldn’t have gotten along nearly as well without having had to pass through the sturm-und-drang of our first marriages.

It turns out I don’t really wish my past would go away. Not anymore. I wouldn’t have minded it being a bit easier, leaving fewer scars. Even so, I’m content with where I am and who I’ve become. Whatever the price I paid, it was worth it.


If you are a women, discovering you don’t have suitable clothing for an upcoming event is a crisis. I don’t care how old you are. Since retirement, we go to so few events where anything dressier than yoga pants and a tunic is required that I don’t have “dressy” clothing.

Nonetheless, it happens. Someone invites us to an affair that requires dressing up. Not jeans. Not yoga pants. Not clogs. Not sweats. Real clothing. Without dog hair and lint.

Photo by Bob Mielke

Photo by Bob Mielke

Garry needed a tie and jacket. He has that. I needed a dress. Which I ought to have, but somehow, don’t. It’s one of the baffling things  in my life, how clothing I am absolutely sure I own isn’t there when I go looking for it. Pixies again?

So in answer to Garry’s question: “Do you have anything to wear to the wedding?”, I bought two dresses. One from Land’s End, another from J.Jill. Both arrived in time, but Land’s End won.

Shoes were a whole different problem. I eventually found the missing “box shoes” for which I searched, but they were higher than I remembered. Too wobbly. I wasn’t sure I’d make it down the stairs and into the car, much less to a wedding. I thought maybe I’d skip the falling down and breaking my hip part of our evening out.

Fortunately, in another box in a shady corner of my bedroom were a pair of new lower heeled dress shoes in go-anywhere black kid. Oh yeah.

Garry found his dress shirt and a brand new tie he’d bought, but never worn. Matching shoes and pants. The you-can’t-go-wrong-with-Harris-tweed jacket he bought in Dublin — on our honeymoon — and being Garry, it still fits just fine.

It was heart-warming and touching to be at the wedding of the woman who had been our flower girl when we were married — 25 years ago. Congratulations, Melissa and Christopher. May your marriage be long and rich with happiness.

And thank you, Bob Mielke for this great picture of us in our glad rags!