Where’s the Equality?

August 17th, 2014 by Evelyn

I don’t understand. More and more often I confront people who regard the ability to do something with one’s hands as superior to that which is achieved by brainpower. Regretfully, I use the word superior, when I want to say, different but equal, and yet I cannot, in the face of what I see as wrong headedness, on the part of so many people

Fortunately, this belief is not held across the board by the entire world, but unfortunately, depending on the surrounding community, beliefs may vary. For instance, in the academic community, there is no such thing as too much education or over development of the brain. In fact, the greater the number of degrees, the greater the respect for the individual, and this before inclusion of books authored, or papers written, or speeches given etc.. In further fact, skills other than those acquired by the various degrees, are often prevalent in these same people. Forgive my seeming repetition, but  these same people are most frequently the ones who respect the skills and abilities of people who are competent in any way.

But, to return to my confusion regarding the varying abilities of different people, I must reiterate that I don’t understand. Is someone who has driven a truck across the country all of his or her life, more accomplished than some other one who has studied for many years and learned how to construct the truck, which will be used to cross the country? Is the doer more important than the planner? Do we have to feel someone’s muscle to respect their strength, and do we have to see a brain scan to respect what a person is capable of creating?
I live in a senior complex and I wonder, as a part of those  who are growing older disgracefully, what are the acceptable terms of what is considered important and worthy of respect. A poem is only words on a page, but a wreath can have flowers and ribbons and seem to have taken hours to assemble. Is it not possible that the poet who created the poem also spent hours assembling the words from which that poem is created? Do we have to touch and actually feel a creation in order for it to be validated? Can we only respect that which we fully comprehend and which we might possibly regard as something we could possibly accomplish? In other words, if I don’t play golf, what meaning can the skills of the man who is considered the greatest golfer in the world, have to me?

And so I respectfully ask, where is the equality? If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, is value in the brain of just one singular creature? No, we all have the ability to see, to appreciate, to respect. Please, let us see in each human being the special  qualities that have been given to all. Let us open our minds and see and see and see. Can you see?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hurry Up and Slow Down

August 5th, 2014 by Evelyn

I’m in no rush to get off the telephone, unless I have an appointment with a doctor or plans for lunch, and that happens 2 or 3 times a week, so I forget that for most of the world, the ring a ding or buzz or whatever sound is their interrupter- because that is what most phone calls are – I forget because I do not have an interrupter, I have a connector. That beautiful sound which floats into my ears means that I will have a conversation and how nice that is.

Some one is going to connect with me and if I am lucky and have been intermittently napping in front of the TV, I will interact with another person. We will exchange ideas, thoughts or maybe just gossip and I will again appreciate how the spoken word fills up space so deliciously. Oh I’m so delighted I do not text! That’s because I refused to learn to type when I was young, since proper young ladies learned to type so that they could – if all else failed – become someone’s secretary, and type and bring the morning coffee. I did not want to do any of those things and did not add typing to my skills. I could tell my younger friends that texting means they are typists, using a rather short handed form of the alphabet, but typing, none the less. Of course they run circles around me at the computer and the cell phone, but it’s nice to know some of the old time skills are still around.

But back to the phone and its connections. Sometimes, I hear in the voice at the other end, a soupcon of impatience that is telling me my time is up or rather their time is up, and we have to cut the cord. There is no cord, but we have to cut something, and I am reminded of a doctor who stands at the door with his hand on the knob at the end of our session, another example of hurry up and slow down and you know which is which.

I watch people at the elevator, ire rising as the elevator does not and I wonder at their impatience. We who are growing older disgracefully, have learned that time is a commodity we have in abundance, and yet we are greedy at having to spend it. If truth be told, I am hardly ever in a rush. There are chores I must do daily – eye drops,pills, feed my dog and my fish – but then, extravagantly, I can spread my minutes wherever I wish. How decadent I have become. Thinking and day dreaming, what luxuries they are! People chafe at getting old and make negative comments, but we know the good stuff.

All my life I was in a hurry. Time was in a short supply. But now, I’ll put on my music or watch a DVD and I’ve forgotten how it feels to be in a hurry. I’m too busy slowing down, slowing down, slowing down. Oh, it feels so good. Wish you had more time?

Home is Where the Hearts are

July 20th, 2014 by Evelyn

Where is home, anyway? Where the heart is? No, I’d say where the soul is and since it’s impossible to say just what we mean by that, I’m going to take a leap and say that for me it’s the core, that little something inside that makes me the human being I hope I am, the one who feels the world’s pain as well as my own. Home.The place within which dwells our family.

But I have lost my way and I have no family. Impossible, you say. Everyone has some sort of family. Agreed, if you mean by that some strands of relationship, or kinship of some sort, but not if  you mean a connection – most often by blood but could be by adoption or annexation.

How did it happen? I don’t know. The circle grows bigger and the elastic begins to stretch and there is seemingly always room for more and more and more and then there is no more room. Why not? Because we have gone outside the circle and we can’t let strangers in. Am I a stranger? Who can answer? Ask a woman and she points to her womb. Ask a man and he points to that same womb. If I have born you, I will always love you. If not yes, you are a stranger. You have taken the fruit of my womb.

From where I stand, there are too many questions and too few answers. I used to be surrounded by love and I miss it. I’ve joined the ranks of those who  are growing older disgracefully and I have left the mainstream. Loneliness insulates my home. I bang on the walls and no one hears. But my  heart is here and so is my soul and I cry for the world beyond. Yes, I cry. I cry, silly me. Do you cry along with me?

 

 

 

 

 

Time to Retire Or Retread?

July 9th, 2014 by Evelyn

It used to be – across the board – when  you reached a certain age – you retired. Ah yes, you  had reached the promised land and for the rest of your life you could do nothing, or something of your own choosing. In your mind, the years stretched ahead like  holiday lights on a string and you were in a celebratory mood. But then, the lights began to dim and the string stretched out more and more and what happened to that party, anyway?

I’ll tell you what. Time, like any good thing, became too  much and you couldn’t use  it all up. You know, left overs are good the next day or so ,but after that you seriously think about pitching them. Easier said than done as I, and many of us who have been growing older disgracefully, have found out.

On the other hand, if you took early  retirement, so to speak, and planned to find a second career for yourself,  you might just be ahead of the game. For example, if you spent your life behind a desk crunching numbers ,and were feeling down for the count, this might be your moment or many moments, in fact, to do something entirely different. Of  course your physical condition might impact your choice, but setting that aside, maybe this is the moment to consider life  as a ski instructor or maybe, after watching the Academy Awards, you realize that it’s not too late for a few acting lessons, leading to a career  trodding the boards. as we say.

The point is- and there is a point, as always, to my rambles, retiring too early  is not a fast track to the yellow brick road which, when your feet are traversing it, stretches on and on and  on – get my drift? You need a destination. The part of your life, which is behind you, was probably filled with all sorts of things and you had a focus – places to go, people to see and you moaned and groaned, but you were never at loose ends finding ways to kill the time, which you never seemed to have.

We are growing older but we are the young old, and we may fill a rocking chair once in a while, but our minds haven’t gone to sleep. So,we must find ways to occupy ourselves. To keep on working, if we’re able and willing, is one cause for gratitude. To retire at will and not when society wills it, is another. Retirement should have meaning and every day should be part of that string of holiday lights . Really, what ‘s more glorious than the words,  I’ve got the world on a string? My world? Or your world? Or just the whole darn world?

Let’s Hear it For Generation Speak

July 6th, 2014 by Evelyn

Is it some weird means of expression or are we speaking in some new form of code? Well, yes and no, depending on your point of view. I have made a critical and quite significant discovery, and along with the belief that all men are created equal – along with some women-  I believe that all generations are not. The disparity among generations is overwhelming  and that’s why we need to find  new way to communicate.

Depending on the generation to which you belong, you will perceive the world in a particular way, and that way will belong to your generation only, despite protestations from those in or  even outside of your group. Yes, perception  is a generational thing and although sometimes I wish it were not, we all know that wishing does not make it so, regardless of our generational affiliation.

So, we, in the growing older disgracefully generation, look at those who have succeeded us, and try to explain that we have walked in their shoes- perhaps what seems like a long time ago- but they have not yet walked in ours and until they do, they cannot understand how we feel – impossible, no matter how hard they try.

It’s a generational thing, we protest, but our words fall on deaf ears. We understand, they say, and of course they do not. In the simplest of words, you are not there until you are there, and could we make it any plainer than that? Oh my dear, I doubt it, but none are so deaf as those who will not hear.

I’m frustrated. In that long ago time when my parents said that I didn’t understand, did I understand that I didn’t understand, or was I stuck in the generational gap? I was. Was I? Oh yes, I’m sure I was.

 

 

 

 

Where Have All The People Gone?

June 25th, 2014 by Evelyn

Poignant words from Peter, Paul and Mary, but they were referring to flowers. No less poignant our words, only we refer to people. Where have they all gone, anyway? That question is a biggie and there’s no simple answer, at least not in our book, and I’ll bet your book has the same old pages as mine. In fact, that sentiment was the basis of a discussion that a friend and I had the other night. We decided  that we who are growing older disgracefully have many more similarities than differences, only since we have pretty much stopped listening to one another, we obviously think that we’re unique.

For instance, we’re all lonely at times- different times, varied times – but here it is, a paucity of people, contrasting with those times when we would have sold our souls to be given a moment’s peace and quiet. You know, those, why don’t they ever leave me alone moments. Remember that old saying about being wary of what you ask for etc. etc. etc.. I’m not an I told you so type, but I did tell you so, more times that I can recall.

Anyway, to get back on track, we decided that after a certain age, you get tired more easily, you lose the energy you used to have, something always hurts when you get out of bed in the morning, you always feel alone at some time or another and you forget  things, things that you knew as well as the back of your hand, the  same hand that ached when you got out of bed this morning. But – and this is important – you never talk about your feelings. Just about your pain, like your aching back or knees or neuropathies or whatever.

But what about if something happens and you need help and might become a burden? What about being nervous sometimes  about driving, even though you still have your car? What about worrying about falling because everyone tells you that you could lose your balance, and that taking a tumble could change your life? What about the times when the phone doesn’t ring and you know your family  cares, but they have lives of their own? You have friends and you play cards and you eat lunch, but when you get up at night, where’s the voice that asks if you’re all right?

That’s when we ask where have all the people gone? We all do. We all ask, each and every one of us. We’re not alone, and only we understand what is happening. We’re in a very special club and you can’t join till you’re  standing in our shoes. Hey, let’s speak up. We’re unique, but we’re not alone. Sounds good to me. How about you?

 

 

A Son is a Son

June 15th, 2014 by Evelyn

Till he takes him a wife.  A daughter’s a daughter for all of your life. Not absolutely true. A son is still yours, to be shared with another woman, a woman who sometimes forgets his beginning years when you were the sole caretaker. You were privy to his private parts and there were no raised eyebrows, and his early meals were just the way he liked them, and on time. Was  everything perfect? No, of course not  Remember, a mother starts out as someone’s wife and there’s a steep learning curve between the two positions,  but despite our perceived shortcomings, we seem to do well at mastering both. Until we become the daughters in law who will, in the natural order of progressions, wear the hats of wife, mother, and so on, ad infinitum or ad nauseam,  if you prefer.

I’m still on the fence, I confess. Have been a daughter in law and a mother in law and thought I was exemplary in the first role but now I’m not so sure. My husband’s mother went most everywhere with us, meaning my husband and children, especially after she was widowed, and she  hardly was left to be on her own but she’s not around anymore. Exemplary does not seem to be something to strive for these days, be it  kin by blood, or by statute. Busy is the buzz word, and as we who are growing older disgracefully have learned, the shortage of time is not experienced by ourselves, but mostly by those others in our lives who do not have any time on their hands – time for us, that is.

So what I have learned is that we live  in a frenzied world and that a daughter in law is not a daughter and having started out as someone’s daughter we may remain in the daughter category, and mothers in law will not be  mothers after having worn the pseudo stigma of in law status. Therefore, when you get old and need the ministrations of a daughter, such ministrations will not be readily  available without a genuine daughter to offer them.

There is no remedial solution to the absence of  a daughter, at the time of life when most of us no longer have the equipment to be in production. Amen to that, I must say, thinking about additional nocturnal visits to the bathroom and the abdomens which refuse to keep their place.

So, if there is no daughter, sons will sometimes rise to the occasion, but with wives who have supplanted daughters, beginnings will be ground into the dust and a son will be the child who has taken a wife. Where is the son? Where is the mother? Lost to the wife? Not always. After all, a son is still a son.

 

 

We Have Seen The Glory

June 9th, 2014 by Evelyn

It’s one of those days, just one of those days. You know, the kind where doing anything is almost more than you  can bear. Tomorrow I’ll do it, you told yourself the day before, forgetting how fast tomorrows come, and it’s here now and you can bite the bullet. Or not. But you’ve always been a biter, so you hit the glory road.

Only now you see it, now you don’t. My eyes begin their fight with my computer. Am I too enlightened?  So I close the blinds and there’s still lots of white space refusing to accept the gray matter from my brain.  I’m on the third round of drops to take the pressure off. Preservatives, preservative free, although far from free in any other guise. When asked if the tier can be lowered to lower the cost, the insurance company gurus say, “No, no, a thousand times, no.” Well, I exaggerate, it only seems a thousand. Maybe I refer to the number of over the counter tears I put into my eyes to soothe the cornea, or maybe it’s the number of tears I shed in despair for my eyesight.

As we who are growing older disgracefully, have discovered, there must be a focus in our lives, or time forgets to march on, it just crawls along to some extraterrestrial beat. My focus has been my blog. When all else fails, I blog  and life picks up the pace once again. I admit to a bit of self indulgence. There are days when I can hit the computer with some discomfort, but I’m not always sure the discomfort is only in my eyes or perhaps also in the connection to my brain.

We recall the old song about the knee bone and its connection to the hip bone and so on down or up the line. Our discomfort or pain, as we might call it, could be anywhere, and we could decide that we don’t want to add to our grief by forcing ourselves to do something, or anything, for that matter, and so we remove focus from our vocabulary – at least for the moment – and we plant our butts in our favorite chair and space out for a while.

Okay for once in a while, but if you have learned, as have I, that a good conversation with oneself is very helpful and keeps you on the straight and narrow, you’ll say the words that we all need to hear now and then. For me, it’s “get up”, “walk”, “read”, “write your blog”. And a few other words that I prefer to keep to myself.

Get it? Pick your own words and be sure to have that conversation with yourself. What is your focus? Do you enjoy playing cards?  Great, then do it. You had too much to eat and a little nap would be good, but it would interfere with your card game. There’s always manana and manana and no one will miss you, but they will, and it will mess up the game. Go, you lazy sluggard. Good friends and some fun, and you might win. Feel better after, don ‘t you?

Me, too. Did my blog and it was no big deal. Eyes a little foggy? Yes, they are, but brain feels pretty good. I’ve been putting things off. Been having a little pity party for me. You know how that goes, but no one shows up and you might as well have saved the pity.

Forget the eyes. The ayes have it ! The ayes always win – don’t they?  Aye, they do.

 

Mother’s Day. A commercial holiday?

May 10th, 2014 by Evelyn

Maybe that’s why I feel so sold out. Seems to me it was quite a big deal when the kids were growing up, but maybe that’s because Daddy was the one who made the fuss and took everyone out to eat at some special restaurant. This was not the day for mom to cook. These days I’ve learned not to be too inquisitive, but I confess to a bit of curiosity. Is mother’s day a special time for my daughters in law, or has that gone the way of real letters and cursive writing?

I see flower deliveries on the front desk of the lobby, in the complex where I live. To be honest, I was the recipient of flowers from my darling dog, Daisy, by way of a friend, who is growing older disgracefully as am I, and whose 2 legged daughter still indulges her. My friend and I spent a wonderful week together and she will foster Daisy, if I am given early retirement to my cabin in the sky.

I always sent my mother a card, even when we were apart, but that probably wasn’t enough and is on my list of do- overs, should I get the chance. My mother in law, who lived nearby, was given a celebratory day alongside me.

Since I have concluded that growing older is a reversal of the steps taken when we are growing up, I understand why we are so affected by those around us. It’s like being back in school, where your ranking was so important. Those of us who are not taken out on Mother’s Day, sit together at what I have characterized as the orphan’s table, so that we don’t feel alone.

I hate to admit to being so mean spirited, but all the showing around of cards proclaiming love and all that jazz, does make me wish that I had more dogs. Also sad for the son who is no longer here and who I always miss,and who didn’t consider mother’s day a commercial holiday. He’s also on my list of do-overs.

Mother’s Day. Makes me question my skills as a mother and also makes me question what I could have done or should have been. For me, the longer I live, the longer  my list of do-overs gets. It’s okay. They’re part of the human condition. As am I .

Happy Mother’s Day.  You, too, Hallmark!

You don’t Bring Me Flowers…..

March 3rd, 2014 by Evelyn

Seems like the last time I got flowers I was lying in a hospital bed, and the time before that I was going to my senior prom. Perhaps I exaggerate slightly, but truth to tell, I was never surrounded by romantic men. My first husband was never empty handed, but his taste ran more to pastrami than  roses and far be it from me to minimize a pastrami sandwich on rye, but a rose is a roes is a rose -You get my drift?

We who are growing older disgracefully, seem at times to be most sensitive to the sweetness  of yesteryear. We remember gestures of sentiment that made us feel so special, and we yearn to experience those feelings once more.

Anyway, I guess I’ve made my point, that it’s been a long time between horticultural offerings, and when the delivery men come to the lobby of my apartment complex with a magnificent floral display, I admit to sometimes feeling a little sad  and even a tad envious, at times. My neighbor and good friend’s daughter, sent her a beautiful pot of tulips for valentine’s Day, but not having a daughter has lowered my expectations for the “girlie” things in life.

So, the most amazing thing happened to me last Sunday morning and it set me to thinking about lots of things. My neighbor from down the hall knocked on my door- I had just stepped out of the shower and was damply disheveled. She held out her arm, hand grasping a bunch of flowers and said that the flowers she was holding were from Church and were for me.

I stuck them into a vase filled with water and philodendra and spent the next few minutes admiring their beauty. They were more like wild flowers than flower shop display, but that was not important. Someone had given me flowers and I was such a woman again. Really, it takes so little for us to make one another happy. Why don’t we do it more often?

To be more specific, why don’t we take the time to find out what will please the other person or persons in our lives? If you’d said that to my husband, he would have said,” why didn’t she speak up? I would have gladly have also given her a pickle. If garlic be the food of love, then why did it take me so long to find out?”