Today is Friday, February 26th, 2016. Four weeks ago today, on Friday, January 29th, I worked my last day at WABC. The last four weeks have been a mix of fun times….retirement parties, get togethers with our family, time spent with friends, and doing what we want, when we want, but there also have been Doctor’s appointments for both Susie and myself, and issues dealing with her Mom. So, the last month has been busy, but it has also been easier to deal with it all because we were able to do it all on our schedule. You have no idea how much fun it is when you’re making Doctor’s appointments and you’re asked, “Do you need a late afternoon appointment?”, to reply, “No, I’m retired. I can come anytime.”
First, I have to thank New York Market Manager Chad Lopez for an incredible sendoff after my 40 years at WABC. On my last Thursday, there was a lunchtime pizza party in the conference room for me. That was followed up late that afternoon by a retirement party at Lucie’s Cantina around the corner from WABC. Surrounded by my family, my current group of WABC. WPLJ, WMBM, and Nash FM Family, with some special visits from past 17th Floor Family members, it was a really excellent celebration! Then, on Friday after the floor’s typical Free Bagel Friday breakfast, he took me out to lunch with Leslie Slender at Nick and Stefs Steak House! A good guy who made me feel very special, and who I’m sorry I only worked for during my last 10 months of employment!
Then, thanks to my wonderful wife Susie, there was another great Retirement Party on my last day, at one of our favorite Mineola spots, The St. James Restaurant. Surrounded by lots of neighborhood friends, some folks I’d just finished working with, some folks I used to work with, and my family, it was another wonderful part of what was shaping up to me an incredible weekend!
But wait….there’s more! On Saturday night, it was time for one more celebration, this one just for family. That night Susie, Krissi, Kenny, Billy, Lori and I had an incredible dinner at one of our all time favorites, Piccolos of Mineola. This has been the site of many D’Elia Family celebrations, and what better place to celebrate the end of my 44 years of working in New York Radio, surrounded by the love of my life and our children! It was another special moment in a couple of days that were filled with special moments!
After a round of celebrations like this (and Susie has one more planned next month for our Ocean City Family down at the shore) ,I joked that the best present anyone could have given me was a free pass to the Betty Ford Clinic! So far, so good!
So today, I’m out in the car on the way home from a morning Doctor’s appointment, and I did something I haven’t done in 4 weeks! I punched the car radio to the AM band, pushed button number 3, and for the first time since I walked out the door, I listened to WABC. I heard a few minutes of the new (well, not so new now) Bernie and Sid show, and then heard my good friend Noam Laden’s 10:30 AM News (good job Noam by the way). I also heard a few promos (which I used to do on a weekly basis) and a few commercials, that I did all the time. After about 5 or 6 minutes, I once again pushed the Sirius/XM selector and went back to listening to 60s on 6, and thinking back to those days a real long time ago, when I used to play that exact music on Musicradio 77, WABC.
After four weeks of not being a part of the radio station, it was kind of funny to be listening to voices I knew, doing something very familiar to me, but feeling some what disconnected. I guess I have made the transition from participant to listener, and although a lot of these folks are friends on Facebook, and in that way are still in my life, I no longer have a radio life, and you know what? I don’t miss it one bit! So, as long as I don’t drive Susie nuts, and she will put up with having me around 24/7, I think I could get used to this retirement thing…I really do!
Next week, we commence our first retirement, “We Can Go Anytime We Want Because We’re Retired” trip! We’re heading down to Florida, and we’re going to take in a couple of Mets Spring Training games, spend three nights at Walt Disney World (thank you ABC for my lifetime Disney retiree privileges), and just have a good time. We’re driving, and looking forward to spending about 10 days doing what we want to, when we want to, on what we hope will be the first of many of these trips!
I’m sure I will return to more Radio Stories as I look back on my 44 years of craziness in NY Radio, but for the immediate future, I’m thinking more about me and Susie and what’s next! Follow as we go forward to our next chapter on our new blog called, R New Adventures (http://rnewadventures.com). Hope to see you there, and that you’ll be along for the ride!!!