Going on 87...Savoring and Surviving the Senior Years
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Hi There! Lucy here---relatively healthy, relatively sane and always aspiring to be grateful. Just bits and pieces today as I'm waiting to go fishing. I wrote a fishing blog last week while I was wallowing in self-pity. I had the flu and felt every ache and pain of my 84 years and then some.
My daughter-in-law Carole and her sister Sue are North Dakota Norwegians. That means you suck it up and don't you dare try to make it somebody else's fault. I hate that about North Dakota Norwegians---or anybody else, for that matter. I absolutely adore making my misery the responsibility of others. But I digress...and I also love doing that.
In any case, I felt icky for at least two weeks. Not finding an audience for my whining and complaining I determined to find something enjoyable to think about while everybody ignored my obvious pain.
I was 40 before I went fishing. I'd never considered doing it...it was hardly part of my urban/shetel mindset. Then I met Ted. He introduced me to both baseball and fishing---for which I'm eternally grateful. (Excuse me. Here I must inset a note to The Eternally Young and Lovely Naomi at http://sitteninthehills64.blogspot.com/. No, Naomi, I never married Ted. But I wish I had---though it may not have made such a dramatic story!)
The original point is, I love fishing and will expound on it in my blog, "Lucy and the Art of Fishing," soon to be appearing on this site. However, I must have pictures to actually prove my ability and those are not immediately available. But they will be soon and I hope I look really young.
Is this a blog or merely a promise of a blog? Both, I hope. Please stay with me in spirit by looking "on the bright side of life." No, not the "Blight side"... the Bright Side. Yes. Please try. We all hurt. We all regret and we all fear. But none of those things must rule how we live---at least 51% of the time! And No! That's not easy for me to say. So promise me you'll try!
Here's a picture that made me happy yesterday. My granddaughter was hosting her Dutch pal in Manhattan. I hope we can all remember and continue to enjoy the riches of dear friends!
I saw Alice in Wonderland at the bagel shop yesterday. She was perfect: about 8 years old, long blond hair tied in a big bow, sky-blue dress and crisp white pinafore with a finely embroidered "A" on the right corner of a scalloped lace hem...Voluminous fluffy petticoats, long white stockings and dainty, strapped black slippers.
Alice was escorted by an apparently prosperous and preeningly proud papa. She was chatting with her mother on a purple cell phone. I craned my neck and strained my ears to hear every word. (The bagel shop is small so I succeeded.) Alice was returning home after starring in a matinee performance of a Lewis Carroll Anthology at the local arts center. "Alice" reported her performance had been stellar. Everyone thought she was fabulous. How nice for her.
Imagine. An 84 year old woman jealous of an 8 year old. Well, not exactly jealous, but certainly wistful. I was remembering when I tried to be Alice. It all started when my Aunt Hannah took me to a pre-Disney performance of Alice in Wonderland at the Taft Theater in Cincinnati. I was about 10 years old and I'd never been to a live performance of a play. I was therefore deeply grateful to my Aunt Hannah and transported by the play and the exquisite Alice.
About a year later I was inexplicably invited to a Halloween costume party. I say inexplicably because at 11 or 12 years and 5 feet tall I was poor, shy and weighed 140 pounds. Even at a time when anorexia was not the fashion norm I was hardly the social butterfly. In any case, I was invited to the party and inspired by the costume of the play I'd attended, decided to dress as Alice in Wonderland.
I appropriated my mother's apron to make a skirt. I found a scarf and, Ta-Da! fashioned a sash and bow. Then, Voila! I dug up a something-or-other to use as a bow for my hair. Just picture it. Luckily we didn't have a full-length mirror and I set out for the party in my truly bizarre "Alice" costume. None of the other guests even suspected who I was supposed to be, nor being interested enough, asked. I sat, as usual, quiet and unobtrusive---imagined I think, by others to be a dull gypsy or eccentric fat lady.
Sitting unobtrusively was not unfamiliar to me. However what happened next was truly traumatic. The boys at the party decided that we should play Post Office. One at a time, the boys would shut themselves in a dark closet and call one of the girls in for a kiss. I thought this sounded like fun and waited expectantly for my name to be called. It never was. Even the more unattractive, unpopular boys chose to go unkissed rather than call my name. I was mortified--but at some level not surprised. After all, I wasn't Alice and I certainly wasn't in Wonderland.
I spent decades proving those boys wrong. I became attractive, successful and confident---at least to others. But my real Alice didn't truly emerge until I gave all that up and embraced the lovely, inquisitive child I'd always been. How sad nobody recognized her when I was young. It would have saved me a lot of pointless anxiety. But then, on the other hand, perhaps Alice wouldn't have grown up to be me.