The Consummate Walker

This blog is about walking, so today I want to remember a walker.  My Mom, Thelma Spinrad, passed away on Friday night, November 18th, 2016, just a few months short of her 100th birthday.  

Mom, having a little fun, about 10 years ago

I’m pretty sure I inherited my passion for walking from Mom. She lived her whole life in New York City, never once having a mailing address outside of the Big Apple.  In fact, she died just a short distance from where she grew up, in the Bronx.  She loved walking the streets of the city.  I have great memories of strolling with her in uptown Manhattan, across town to Chelsea, down to the village, to the Lower East Side.  Even well into her late 80s, Mom was always up for a walk.  And remarkably, for a woman who measured just about 5 feet tall (in heels … with a hat on!) she was usually the pace-setter.  

I have no idea how far Mom walked through her life, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s measured in light years (FitBit  would probably have to define a new badge for her total distance).  As an aside, when she moved out of her apartment four years ago, we noted that her exercycle – a first generation job with only two pedals, a wheel, handlebars and an analog odometer … that’s it – had over 20,000 miles recorded on it!  She used that when it was too cold or wet to walk, so you can imaginary what her aggregate share of shank’s mare miles must have been.

If you’ve been reading this blog in the past, you know that I intend to start The Long Walk Home on February 3, 2017.  That date was chosen for several minor reasons and one particularly meaningful one: it is Mom’s 100th birthday.  I never expected her to live to see that date, and her passing last week was, in fact, a blessing.  But rest assured that on Friday, February 3, 2017, as I dip my heel into the Atlantic Ocean, the picture in my mind will be of my favorite walking partner, my Mom.

13 thoughts on “The Consummate Walker

  1. Please accept our condolences with the passing of your mom. She sounds like an active and wonderful person. You can hold on to all her good qualities at this difficult time.
    Is your plan to walk from NYC to Oregon??


    1. Thanks, Jackie and Ron. We will miss her a lot. She suffered from dementia and went downhill slowly for many years. As for my walk, yes, I’ll go from Delaware to Oregon. It’ll take 7 months. Can’t wait.


  2. I am so sorry to hear about your mother. My condolences to you and your family. I remember well you telling me about your mother. My prayers are with you.


  3. Hi Rick. So sorry to hear of the passing of your mom. Times were so different when she was born. Many stayed near their birthplace their entire life–just as your mom and my parents did. I on the other hand have lived many places, but was thankful that my parents provided a familiar haven for me when I needed it. I suspect the same is true for you. Glad you enjoyed your mom for almost a century. Safe journeys on your cross country trek. Nice seeing you in San Diego recently. Hal.


  4. Hello Dr. Spinrad~ This is Neysa, Rachelle’s mom. I was so sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. What a blessing to have had her on this planet for 99 years and this post is such a lovely tribute to her! May she rest in peace…
    I pray that you find the comfort you need in knowing that she is taking the journey with you on your “Long Walk Home”.
    Peace & Blessings,
    Neysa Matthews


  5. Rick,
    Our condolences to you and your family. I remember well some of the wonderful stories about your mother. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    What an adventure you will embark on in February. May your Mom be with you every step of the way! Keep in touch.


  6. Michael and I are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your family. Your walk will be a wonderful way to honor your mother’s life and spirit.


  7. So today’s the day!! While some may say God’s speed I get the sense the idea is the exact opposite. I envy you the endless hours of peace, fresh air and self relection. Soothing to the soul for sure. Very best wishes for a safe and healthy journey.


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