passages (life and time march forward)


With Lily my first dog. 1960s – maybe 1966

My apologies to author Gail Sheedy for my post title.  But it (passages) just sort of popped into my head and there it sits.  That is how writing happens for me – often with just a word that dangles there until I pick it up.

I know I am recovering from my surgery and although exhausted and still experiencing pain, I am feeling better because I woke up with the beginnings of something to write navigating my brain from subconscious to conscious.

I woke up thinking about my childhood friend Suzette. I don’t know why I thought of her in particular but I had this random thought of her parents’ house in Gladwyne. And watching M*A*S*H on television with her. I think we were around 12.

Her neighborhood was one of my favorites back then. It was when Gladwyne still had lots of woods, open space, and fewer McMansions and the pretense of the people who go with them.  People still rode horses on the roads.

Ok so all my childhood friends are the average age of 50 to 52.  Some are in the 48 to 50 range.  ‘When did we get to this age?” I ask myself sometimes.

At historic Harriton House circa 1976 - 1977

At historic Harriton House circa 1976 – 1977

It’s a crazy concept how fast time goes.  I knew my sweet man in high school and I can still see him in my mind’s eye wearing a brown turtleneck leaning against a door jamb and looking really amused at something.  He spent a lot of time looking amused at us girls during high school.

I remember sneaking out of the Shipley Boarding Department with my friend Abbi to take the train and go to a UPenn party given by or partially hosted by another girl’s older brother.  Of course then, I also remember barely making the last train home and getting back into the dorm without the dorm mother knowing. I can’t remember her name but she just made you want to get stuff by her.  She was like a prison warden.

Now all of a sudden I am not quite but almost 50 but looking at it closely.  How in the heck did that happen?

I remember talking to another life long friend Liza a couple of weeks ago. I said to her I remember our parents being our age…and now we are their age from back then.  Boy did we laugh.  Our parents back in the day…together…was so much fun.

Same with my friends Lizzy and Nicky.  I have so many memories with them.  Their father is the first person who took me to the Library of Congress. I also remember the Italian car – Alpha maybe – that their father had that had this horrible smell when they bought it.  It was new, directly from Italy, and eventually we learned the odor – a salami sandwich left inside by one of the factory workers behind a door panel.  Their father, like mine is gone, but their mother is still with us.  And what a cool smart woman she is. Who can cook better than Julia child. She is amazing.

Some of my friends are grandparents already. And then there is me, the late bloomer, just getting used to helping to raise a teenager.  And I look at him and remember being that age. It is such a weird concept. And when I was his age, my life wasn’t about video games and texting my friends. We used the phone (too much) and we wore…wait for it…Love’s Baby Soft. (Talk about an OMG you just dated yourself moment…)

My sister and I with Riccardo Muti and Eugene Ormandy. Sometime in the late 1970s or maybe 1980

My sister and I with Riccardo Muti and Eugene Ormandy. Sometime in the late 1970s or maybe 1980

So I have pretty much completed the first 50.  Was it all I had hoped?  I am not really sure.  I know it has taken me a little longer to get where I wanted to be, but that is partially fate and partially me.  I think if I had listened to my inner voice more often I would have made fewer mistakes. But aren’t mistakes part of how you gain that elusive thing called life experience? And who is perfect, anyway? I certainly am not (my mother will tell you she is, but that is a mother thing that just makes you smile.)

Some people get really bent when they hit that half century mark.  I don’t know what I am.  I don’t feel 50, generally speaking.  I am still figuring out when I stopped being a teenager.  It just seems that in a blink of an eye, here I am.  I guess that is why when you are growing up, those older than you like grandparents will tell you not to waste your life.

If I measure my life by the dogs I have owned it has been a pretty awesome journey.  I won’t however, measure my age in dog years.

As I look out my window I see my world as it exists today.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself.  It is what I always wished for in my heart of hearts. My own house, my own garden, my own family. It’s nice, really nice to have all this and I value and appreciate it.

I love my life, but still I ask: when did I get to the point that I am looking at 50? I guess that is a great mystery of life I will continue to unravel. But I have to say being almost there, it’s not so bad.  Nor is it as old as I thought it would be when I was a teenager.

Life and time march on.  Your life doesn’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to be perfect. But as we age and gain that thing called life experience I think we at least learn to value the important things, the right things. And I am not talking money and social stature.  I am talking hearth and home.  I am talking good relationships and real friendships.  Because face it, after the superficial is gone, that is what is important.  That and a little faith in God.

Have a good Sunday, everyone.  Thanks for joining me on this slightly philosophical ramble.