In seventh grade, Seth, our now-forty-eight-year-old son, had a leading role in a musical you’ve never heard of called “Winning Isn’t Everything.” In high school, he starred in Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes”. Since I can’t carry a tune and his father refuses to sing, it was quite a revelation that there was a spark of musical talent in our first-born.”
Fortunately, he didn’t pursue a stage career and although we have heard him speak before, his appearance on Monday in a popular Boston bookstore to read from his just-published book, Rediscovering Travel: A Guide for the Globally Curious brought those earlier triumphs to mind.
The bookstore space was packed—camp friends, school friends, our friends and perfect strangers filled the room. The Boston Globe’s top travel writer interviewed Seth. I know I am his mom, but he was articulate, informative, amusing, and handsome.
Fifty years and five months ago, Peter and I got married. Although only twelve people attended our wedding, I did wear a white dress. A friend of my mother made an “unrequested” wedding veil for me. Its headband was covered in (not real) daisies.
I remember putting the box containing the veil on the roof of my red VW beetle while I unlocked the car. Then I drove off.
So much for my veil.
Unfortunately, someone found it and turned it in to the little corner grocery store. So I wore it, but it didn’t stop me from loving daisies.
Earlier this week, walking back from the gym, I decided to buy some flowers. Although much of Harvard Square near where we live is mall-ified, the florist shop has been there forever. The owner’s son was not surprised when I asked for daisies.
“You know,” I said to him, “I think I have been buying daisies from you for more than forty years.” “It’s possible,” he said. “I’ve been here for fifty.”
The outpouring of good wishes from 70/80-Something readers in response to my breast cancer diagnosis has been astonishing. It was difficult for me to share it because I am normally pretty upbeat. And other than being grateful for having had such a wonderful cancer-free life for so long, it’s hard to feel positive about my diagnosis. Your caring thoughts mean so much to me.
I am determined not to let cancer define my life—at least not once we have what we refer to as “a plan.”
Cancer will not define this blog either. There’s too much else to talk about. For one thing, after a gloomy November, the sun has been shining for a week.
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because it’s about food and gratitude. But after many years of Cambridge Thanksgivings, it was time to pass the hosting on to the next generation.
(After all, I am eighty).
Fourteen of us, ranging in age from twelve to eighty-eight gathered in Silver Spring, Maryland. Our son Jeremy and his wife Katrina were in charge.
The wild rice stuffing and French Silk Pie were the same as they had been in Cambridge, but Katrina brined the turkey for the first time and the next-door neighbors brought some vegetarian dishes for their non-meat-eating family members that our meat-eating family ate with pleasure.
The food was divine, and there was plenty of good conversation, although some of the teenage vernacular had to be translated into English for the older generation. The readings from our Grateful Jar were funnier than ever. But what I loved the most was the six kids, singing and dancing to music they asked “Alexa” to play for them while they did the cleanup, thus allowing the cooking-weary older generation to rest and hang out together.
The joyful conversations we have when we are surrounded by kids are what I miss most in my eighty-year-old life. And one of the best things about Thanksgiving.
Peter and I have been “home” for two months now, but we still haven’t determined what our new life is all about. We haven’t worked out a regular schedule of activities because we have been busy seeing friends--and far too many doctors.
We are trying to figure out how to give meaning to the rest of our lives. As my cousin Gerry put it so well, “What can we do to earn our space on this planet and yet not be obligated?” A former colleague used to remind us to always be “on time, dressed, and ready to play”. What does that mean for 80-somethings?
Before we moved to Washington DC last year, we had appointments with all of our doctors in Boston, partly because we wanted to thank them for taking care of us and partly because we were worried that we wouldn’t find such good doctors where we were going.
One of the plusses of our return to Cambridge is that all our doctors are still here and they have welcomed us back.
But each doctor seems to find something to worry about that’s not in their area of expertise. And that leads to more appointments.
I am convinced that going to doctors is what we eighty-somethings do for a living.
That’s why it was such a pleasure to visit our financial advisor the other day. Our financial condition looked healthy, we caught up on each other’s children, and in thirty minutes, we were on our way.