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  • Marilyn Saltzman

Memories of travels with Malcolm

Over six decades ago, my husband, Irv, made friends with a boy named Malcolm in third grade at PS 235 in Brooklyn, NY. About ten years later, shortly after we started dating, Irv introduced me to his best friend. Then Judy came into Malcolm’s life…and ours. And the friendship and adventures endured.


Having visited over 100 countries with impressive slide shows to prove it, our dear friend Malcolm was eager to share his love of travel with Irv and me, or sometimes just me. Last night, Malcolm embarked on his final journey. So I offer a MALCOLM tribute with a few favorite travel memories.


M is for Machias, Maine. A road trip to the Wild Blueberry Festival brings smiles as I recall the four of us laughing until it hurt during the locally written and produced blueberry musical. We gorged on lobster and blueberry pie and visited a farm to pick berries. On the way back to Massachusetts, we sought an out-of-the way place to spend the night, and boy did we find one! The B&B wound up being a nudist camp with X-rated magazines on the guest room night tables. And only cold cereal for breakfast.


A is for Africa. “Judy and I think it’s time we take you to Africa,” Malcolm announced one day on the phone. And so we did. Safaris in South Africa, Malawi and Zambia created memories that will last a lifetime. Just a few: Spending an hour watching elephants hog a waterhole as the antelope and zebras waited patiently in the background; pulling over on the side of the road to observe two lions mating; Judy and I on a walking safari being chased by two rhinos (our guides scared them off); and a monkey stealing a muffin off Malcolm’s breakfast plate. With every turn of the car, I marveled at new animals –zebra, giraffes, water buffalo, warthogs and hyenas. And all the varieties of antelope – kudu, springbok, impala, sable and more. Then there was the rental car that we drove through Malawi and Zambia, returning it with three of the four hubcaps missing, thanks to the rough roads. Though we hadn’t shared our fears with each other, none of us thought the rickety car would make it back to the airport.


L is for Lou and Chris Sedaris’ home in Sedona, Arizona, where Mal, Judy and I visited after exploring the Grand Canyon. Traveling in Mal’s and Judy’s RV, Harvey, we arrived at the lovely Sedaris home by wending our way through breath-taking Arizona scenery. Lou introduced me to grits for breakfast, and I was able to walk right out their front door and into the beautiful red sandstone park. We took lovely hikes in the hills and visited an outdoor mineral sale where we all purchased precious rocks, mine still displayed on the fireplace hearth.


C is for Conifer, Colorado. Judy’s and Malcolm’s visits became an annual tradition. Whether Judy and I were cooking up our own recipe for Indian-style curried scallops, we were enjoying a hike in Staunton State Park or the four of us were playing Pictionary, the times together were filled with love and laughter.


O is for Ouray. For Mal and Judy’s 50th anniversary, the three of us took a road trip to Ouray where I made a nail-biting drive over the Million Dollar Highway. We visited a ghost town, went to a movie in the old opera house, toured the Box Canyon Falls and spent a morning in the Ouray Historical Museum. While Judy and I shared a salad at a local restaurant, I teased Mal for his “heart attack on a bun” sandwich.


L is for Long Island, where we explored the site of a plat map that Mal and Judy had found in family archives. Then we turned the antique document over to the delighted curator of the local historical museum. And L is for the long-range plans (OK, I’m cheating here, not a location), we made for the 2017 solar eclipse in Wyoming. Irv was so excited he tried to book a hotel a decade in advance. Not possible. But a year ahead we snagged 12 rooms in two hotels for groups of friends. We all met in Thermopolis, Wyoming, for the big event and shared communal dinners at Jan’s place. We arose at in the wee hours of the morning to grab the perfect eclipse viewing site that Mal and Judy had scoped in advance. The eclipse exceeded our greatest expectations, and sharing the experience with dear friends made it that much more treasured.


M is for Massachusetts. I especially recall two very special trips to celebrate Mal’s and Judy’s landmark anniversary and birthdays at the beautiful Plymouth home they rented, where guests came and went all week. It was a food and a fun fest. We kayaked around the bay, played Quiddler and Apples to Apples, took walks into town and visited the local historical museum. Mal enthralled the guests with tales of their travels around the world. Some of the women took a shopping trip to town and chipped in to buy Judy a birthday dress. On the way back, we got caught in a torrential downpour, and Mal drove over to rescue us. It reminded me that he had done the same thing in Colorado when Judy and I were hiking in the hills above my neighborhood and a sudden thunderstorm brought lightening that was much too close for comfort.


MALCOLM memories that evoke gratitude, love and joy. May his memory be for a blessing.

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