where the crawdads sing and the theory of acceptance

I have been re-reading the Delia Owens book Where The Crawdads Sing. The book was optioned for a movie and I wanted to reread it before I see the movie, which is now newly released. Not that I am going to rush to see the movie right away, but I will eventually because I love the book.

The cover of the book declares it “a murder mystery, a coming of age-narrative, and a celebration of nature.” That is practically a dumbing down of the novel. It is so much more than the obviousness pitched on the cover to sell copies to the masses. It’s also about isolation and acceptance.

This book took the author a decade to write and has been sitting for 168 weeks on the top of the New York Times Best Seller List. It’s a haunting book, and a twisty-turny one for sure. But there are so many nuances. The main character is Kya.

Kya is a product of a dysfunctional Southern family riddled with issues and abuse. Her father beats everyone and is a crazy alcoholic and World War II veteran whom today probably would have been diagnosed at a minimum with PTSD. Eventually, Kya’s multiple siblings and her mother leave. They leave a then rather little girl with a dangerously abusive man, her father. Kya is also treated horribly by her community at large, a victim of nasty small town gossip, prejudice, and bullying. She is a poor white kid in a small town who lives in a marsh.

This Kya is called all sorts of names. Marsh Girl, missing link, marsh trash, dirty. She goes to school for like a day and runs away from it because the kids are so horrible. She is an outcast, an outsider. A few befriend her including member of the small black community who know all well the reality of prejudice and racism, and that is how she learns to read, take care of herself. Through these people she is introduced to a book publisher as she gets older because of her nature watercolors and accounts of wildlife living in and around her on the marsh. Her life experience, what she knows.

A lot of the book shows you the aching loneliness of a human being who only wants to be seen and loved. Her friends whom she actually trusts are the wild things in the marsh. Kya grow up naïve, world weary, mistrusting. Always the outsider looking in and so alone. People like that live among us every day. The people most don’t take the time to get to know.

The undercurrent of any human being’s need for acceptance is something that flows throughout this book. That got me thinking.

I remember growing up, I often felt like I didn’t fit. And I was by no means an outsider or outcast. I began to contemplate it when I was at Shipley, which then was predominantly WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) and some of the people I went to school just came from these families with insane money and pedigrees going back centuries. I was average middle class and had a vowel on the end of my name and was Catholic. Where many were blonde and blue eyed with adorable figures and killer equestrian and other sporting related genes, I had dark hair and was distinctly average. And it wasn’t that people weren’t nice, most were even if some weren’t. But it was sometimes it was like, where did I fit? Or was I just thinking too much and over-thinking? Probably. It may have been the experience before Shipley that caused that.

I had experienced that whole not fitting most acutely and didn’t know really what it was when we first moved to the Main Line from the Society Hill section of Philadelphia. My parents plunked me in Welsh Valley Junior High School, part of the esteemed Lower Merion School District.

Welsh Valley in my day was a hot bed of some of the meanest mean girls who walked the earth to this day. I wasn’t called “Marsh Girl” but I was called “City Girl” with derision and often. And I was bullied a bit. Even as I made friends, I was bullied and simultaneously watched the girls who were friends with me get a hard time sometimes because of association with me. And for what? I was new, didn’t fit into their then molds of having all mostly known each other since kindergarten. It didn’t just happen to me, and I knew many girls and boys they were just as miserable to. These were girls who literally just did this for the sheer sport of it.

I actually didn’t buckle to those girls, although the one who went to school with me but was a year behind me did make me come close in Sunday school. Yes, Sunday school. We lived in the same neighborhood at one time, and everything was fine until my mother bought me a pair of French jeans and a narrow wale corduroy jumper from a store in Ardmore where young to mid- teen and tween girls shopped. It’s been so long I forget the name. It was down the street on Lancaster Avenue from the Army-Navy.

I had not seen the clothing on anyone. These were styles everyone was wearing, and pretty much every girl I knew or knew of then shopped at this store in Ardmore. So I wore the jumper to church and Sunday school one Sunday. This girl literally came after me during a break in Sunday school. I remember I just kept moving to get away from her. She was yelling at me, trying to hit me. She was taller than me too. Yelling mainly that I was a copycat (‘take it off”) and worse. Yes…she happened to be wearing the same jumper…in a different color. I had never seen her wear it. Our mothers must have bought it at the same time. She had a sister in my class. She was a quieter more calculating version of her younger sister. They left me alone in school, and came after me in Sunday school. I remember my mother thought I was making it up at first until other parents kind of said “Oh THOSE girls.

This was just one example.

No one ever stopped them. The other mean girls were the Monday through Friday variety. They were even worse. They were especially delightful during lunch period and gym. I was grateful that my parents let me go to Shipley. There I found my fit and my footing, but sometimes I just felt odd man out, like I didn’t belong. But Shipley at least gave me the courage to see the junior high bullies for what and who they were. And I remember being very amused by some of the attempts of a few of them to quasi friend me when I was a junior and senior in high school because one of the cute high school jocks they liked to chase was my neighbor and we were friends. Of course, that was a foreign concept to them to be friends with a guy. For the most part, they were what my friend’s grandmother would describe as being fast and having round heels. I didn’t quite get the round heels reference at first. Like I said, I was naiive. But I knew enough to be amused by the false offers of friendship, and to keep my distance. However, I did learn a valuable lesson then: throughout your life there will people who will always need you more than you need them.

This whole not quite fitting at times doesn’t end with middle school or high school. It exists with adults and has become more prevalent in the age of social media. Take for example, this woman who is all over social media and in her business model about how important it is to lift up and support other women. Anyway, she is on this thread mocking another woman, a stranger to her, over a local fundraising calendar that was like the UK movie Calendar Girls. The comments are nasty, sexist, ageist, sizeist. Their target was a woman who is not size four skinny with Botox, breast enhancements, tons of makeup always, hair extensions, or Come-F-Me pumps. She is an actual real woman who is truthfully pretty, smart, and nice…but outspoken.

Outspoken always gets punished. Outspoken never quite fits and I know that first hand. It’s like yawn, why be so predictable…yet they are predictable and practically run off of a script. Similar to sniping at me, another stranger from a strange land to them.

These are the people in today’s world in general who seem to find it their mission to make everyone not them not fit. They are the only ones whose acceptance in this world should matter. Basically pick a year, a decade, a century and you will find people, especially women like this. They exist to wound. Be mean. You don’t fit in whatever notion they have of the big, wide word and society.

A couple of years ago I heard a story of a woman who was then a new breast cancer survivor who had horrible complications. Another survivor, supposedly a “friend”, offers her clothes she was finished with because she lost weight. But she was neither nice nor kind about it. More like “Here I won’t need these fat clothes any more.” Took my breath away hearing that. Just gratuitously mean, and again from a woman who supposedly likes to tell people how wonderful she is and supportive of other women.

As an adult, I have experienced the don’t quite fit at different stages of adulthood. First when I was among those who didn’t get married and procreate right away. It just wasn’t in the cards at first, and guess what? Some of those who were the harshest of that brand of critics are now all divorced at least once. And about the having no kids naturally out of my womb of it all? Couldn’t have them. Knew that early enough on in my life. It bothered me at times, but then it just didn’t because it was simply beyond my control.

Then I experienced the don’t quite fit when I moved to Chester County. At first it was because I was new and some folks had been around forever between their lives, and the lives of family members. Then it was because I was living with someone and not married. Yes, really. How do people have so much time on their hands to do this crap to other people?

Slowly over time, I have been accepted by some, not all. Ironically those who accepted me first are a lot of the people a generation or two above me who are long term residents of Chester County. Just nice, decent people. Also slowly over time you learn to let go of the negative feelings caused by the non-accepting. But you also learn over time it is O.K. to stand up for yourself and tell them what they are doing is not acceptable if you want.

But still, not everyone is accepting. It’s life. I ran into it again recently. Very hurtful, and caught me by surprise because it was unexpected. But it’s mostly because they have never met anyone like me that can’t just be put into a comfort category and left there. I am also outspoken. I stand up for myself. Standing up for myself is something I learned to do. You can thank Welsh Valley Junior High School in Lower Merion Township for that. When you are going to a school that is sometimes like a literal Mean Girls meets Lord of the Flies or bad Darwinian theory, you learn.

What it comes down to is simple: if you aren’t from someone else’s precise world, people may or may not be comfortable with you. It just is what it is. Where The Crawdads Sing definitely delves into this and the question of acceptance within a community and how isolating people changes them and you. That is also what I think plays into the realities of racism at times.

Today, in the USA we live in a world of extremism. Politically, socially, financially, and oh yes climatically. It’s sad and tiring. I wonder what other countries think of us? Maybe I don’t want to know because maybe it is just too embarrassing.

If you haven’t read Where The Crawdads Sing, you should. And before you see the movie because I am told sadly the movie still doesn’t capture all the myriad nuances of the book BUT that doesn’t surprise me. It would have to be a Netflix or Prime series, not just a two hour movie to capture it all.

Where The Crawdads Sing has also reignited a murder mystery surrounding the author. That is another fascinating aspect of the book, and does make you just wonder.

What happens when you don’t quite know how you fit? In the end it just depends how strong you are and if you are willing to be human as well. People always say “be kind” but they should add also don’t be fake. Being genuine goes a long way.

Thanks for stopping by.

“adults” and social media

The more I learn about the way people behave, the more I realize there are a lot of messy people in this world.

Lessons learned this weekend from “adults” and the log book of kiss kiss and bless your hearts, haters:

You can’t say Nancy Fuller from Food Network is “annoying AF”, because it’s “unkind.” Please note she’s not some neighbor’s mom or grandmother, she’s on TELEVISION, and she’s not Julia Child and is even more annoying than Martha Stewart or Paula Deen can be. I will occasionally share the woman’s recipes, I just can’t watch her live either on a Facebook video or some show she’s in because she grates on me. It’s kind of like people whose music you like but you don’t want see them perform in person. Above all else? It’s just one opinion.

Yes that really happened. Up pops this woman in a Facebook cooking group I run. This woman couldn’t just say that she disagreed with how I felt about a Food Network TV personality, no she had to be extra. This person had to say how terrible a person I was, my pizzas were repetitive, no one likes me or my cooking group. (I am still trying to understand how pizza entered the conversation because we were not talking about pizza.)

All of this because I said I thought a television personality was annoying A.F.?

But wait, there’s more. Next this woman private messages me. She has to make the extra point to tell me that I am a horrible person and everybody hates me and everybody makes fun of me.

Oh yes, the invisibles/nameless shamers and finger pointers in life. I thought I left them behind after high school. Apparently not. People you don’t know, don’t know actually exist, who want to define you. (A perennial favorite with me, can’t you tell?)

Seriously, like we’re young teenagers. Also, this is someone I literally don’t know, I have never met nor had a conversation with. Quite literally a stranger who happens to be in two of my Facebook groups. And she did a similar thing with me in my Facebook gardening group a while back which I let slide.

Allow me to circle back and make sure I have this correct: according to her, I am a terribly horrible person who apparently knows nothing about anything, yet she stays in my groups for years? How is this a normal person?

Alrighty then. I am a shameless hussy. Next?

Maybe it’s yet another Facebook phenomenon in the category of Stupid Human Tricks. Facebook is as we all know, fun to be on with friends, but often a really weird place ruled by inconsistent algorithms and full of super messy people. There are people you meet who are completely different in person, versus on a social media platform. Then there are people who pretend to be other people even though you know who they really are. And that’s their business and their story to tell, I just don’t understand it at times.

Sometimes the way purported adults behave on social media leaves you with a case of the why, why, whys. Another example? People you don’t hear from very often who won’t be Facebook friends with you in case “certain” people see who message you only when information seeking. That always cracks me up. But that’s their comfort level.

Facebook, however, is not the real world, and neither is Instagram. Some people use both platforms to post about their world. but for others it is just a playground for narcissistic behavior. I use both platforms to stay connected to friends. I post a lot about gardening and cooking, because those are two of my passions. I share what I write. Once in a while I post a selfie, as opposed to some people who all they do is post selfies or photos others have taken of them, professional or otherwise. Yes, I really find it amusing when people constantly have professional head shots and other photos taken for their Facebook profile photo and other posts. That is “Look at me, I am Sandra Dee” syndrome.

It’s all fairly ordinary. Until it isn’t when you encounter one of these virtual human land mines like I did…in a cooking group over a less than important TV personality. Encountering people like this is something that just makes you world weary at times. It makes you sit back and wonder why you bother to try to do anything. But then it comes back to what my Pennsylvania German grandmother always used to say: “consider the source.”

So I am considering the source, but I just find it puzzling and bizarre behavior. It makes you almost feel sorry for this woman, except it doesn’t.

I will never ever say “why can’t we all get along?” I am a realist, and I don’t think it’s possible. But what I don’t understand about these mostly women on social media platforms, is if they have such an intense dislike for someone on social media, why be in their groups?

What did I do in the end with this woman? I removed her from my groups. She doesn’t have to be my best friend, but life is too short for attack rats.

Thanks for stopping by.

the new feminism or revisiting old issues?

I don’t know if any of you are watching the HBO/MAX series on the life of Julia Child called “Julia”. I have always been a fan of the French Chef, and I love to cook and I have a bunch of her cookbooks so I really enjoy the show, which began before I was even born. I also enjoy the show and the way that it has blended the era in which she started in TV with the world around them.

In one of the episodes Julia Child has an encounter with Betty Friedan. My research indicates this encounter never actually happened. But another article I read said that the show was perhaps exploring Julia’s brand of feminism versus Betty’s. And that made me think of how do we define feminists and feminism today? The show makes valid points, it also makes you ponder sometimes why as women we are our own sex’s worst enemies.

When I look back on life, you naturally start when we were growing up. Especially if you grew up in an area like the Main Line, which isn’t necessarily the real world. Graduating high school in 1981 meant sure we were being groomed to have the big female careers, but conversely we were also still being groomed to be lovely hostesses in our husbands’ homes. And no one told us or showed which choice was the right choice for us as individuals.

My career was not some giant six-figure career with fancy cars and penthouse apartments. I think that was harder on my mother for a lot of years as opposed to me. Just like it was hard on her when I was single, and sometimes she made me feel like that was a huge flaw in me as a human being. I liked what I did. Never wanted to just be with a partner or date, or even marry just so I could say I did that. I wanted it to be right.

But what I discovered when I got what should have been a career dream job is I didn’t really like it as much as the other things I had done all the other years. But it was an accomplishment. I will note that I was definitely deserving of a six-figure salary for a lot of those years, and I honestly never attained it. However, you know what? That was fine. I wasn’t a millionaire but I had enough money to take care of myself most of the time, and sometimes it was tight and I managed. And the truth of the matter is, employers are cheap. The key to their particular brand of success is not making you wealthy, but making them wealthy. Just another version of plantation mentality.

I have also always been opinionated. Sometimes that’s welcome in a corporate setting, sometimes not. as I entered into my 30s I began to realize there were other things out there. There wasn’t just being on socially correct junior committees and going to the right parties and being seen with the right people. There were the things in life that you took a look at and made you realize that all the people you were on committees with would always need you more than you needed them.

Gradually I became active in my community. I became kind of a community/grassroots activist of sorts. But sometimes who I was clashed with some of the people I was a community activist with, as well as people I grew up with . And sometimes these two sides of me clashed within myself. It took me until I was well into my 40s to understand that I could be both of those people.

And then there is the whole me as I have gotten older. I married later than a lot of people, and when I was marrying for the first time a lot of people I know were not only divorcing but onto subsequent spouses. Sometimes in that part of my world I felt judged. And I don’t really know why I think it’s just because I kind of did me all of these years. Not always easily because as we grow we learn more about ourselves. Especially as women.

Sometimes now, I feel myself judged by an entirely different generation of women. I am a stepparent and I never had my own children, somehow that goes against you and I don’t quite know how. It would’ve been nice if I had been able to bear my own children, but medically that was never possible for me, and it just never would’ve presented itself as an opportunity in the more traditional “childbearing years.”

And there’s the whole idea of feminism and having it all. But at on the eve of 58 I still wonder if you can have it all? Or is what makes you happy in fact actually having it all? I think it’s that. I think having it all, is being content with your life. And maybe that runs counter to feminism. Maybe I personally run counter to feminism because I like to do things like garden and cook and keep my house. I don’t think for years you were supposed to admit that out loud.

I look around me and we all spend a lot of our time as women in general, telling everyone else what they should do with their lives. And now once again we are coming full circle to wondering if a bunch of folks in judicial robes are going to be telling women what they should do, and more importantly what they should do with their bodies?

Oh yes, readers, I am going there. No matter what my personal choices are vis-à-vis my own body, I have never believed it was my place to tell another woman what she should do with hers. And I have always resented it when those in clerical robes and judicial robes have tried to tell us what it meant to be a woman. And I resent most of all the politicians who take this issue on on both sides and pander.

Feminism in the 60s and 70s gave women the power to be whom they felt they should be. We have in a sense, enjoyed that since then. But we’ve all gotten lackadaisical and somewhat complacent. And that’s men and women, and look where it’s gotten us in this country? Politically, we are a cesspool.

I also get tired of those who go around proselytizing in political campaigns and even within our own communities telling us what our families are supposed to look like, and what our family values according to them are supposed to be. They also want to tell us what our sexual preferences and gender identity are supposed to be, and there’s no room for anything else because it makes all of those people uncomfortable.

All of this behavior has extended itself into our schools, our libraries, our daily lives. The ultimate echo chamber is social media and certain social media groups. And what they don’t understand is they are free to have their opinions but rights are not subjective and they don’t get to foist their opinions on us and tell us that is what we are supposed to do.

All of these people want to tell you that their First Amendment rights are of more value than ours. They also want to tell you how the life during the last political administration and president was so wonderful, and today is a mess. I am wondering if they will ever be able to pull their heads out of their collective asses and realize everything they are bemoaning as a mess today is a result of what we went through with the last administration? Do I think that the current administration is doing a particularly fabulous job? To be honest no not all of the time, but then you look at realistically what they were left to deal with. Also politics has gotten ridiculously reactive and over-reactive. Being a moderate is like a four letter word.

Then you look at what we are dealing with today. You have the people who are saying that they are so against socialism and totalitarianism and they are true conservatives yet they don’t know the basics of the United States Constitution, our history as a country, and what it is to be a true conservative. Truthfully, a lot of those people don’t even realize that they are closer to socialism, communism, and totalitarianism than anyone. Sometimes I wonder if what the U.S. is experiencing today is actually closer to what Great Britain saw in post WWII England? That was some truly ugly stuff for a while. And it seems to be here today.

What we are living today is what it’s like trying to exist in a country full of political extremism. And as women in this country, I think we are feeling that acutely. And I think as women we are looking at a horrible future for future generations of American women, if we all don’t speak up.

And we as women all need to stop thinking that there’s always something wrong with who we are because of how other people see us. I realized that again this weekend when a lot of high school reunions took place. Ladies, we are who we are, and just because the “it girls“ from back in the day still think they are “it girls” it doesn’t mean they are ….it just means perhaps they are stuck in a time warp. Interestingly enough, most of them still do not know how to behave, which is something I find very amusing personally.

When it comes to women there will always be strivers. There are strivers in the personal sense of those who have amazing career goals and attain them. Then there are the strivers who are perhaps not as appealing. Like social strivers.

The social strivers are often the women who are trying to run as fast as possible from what they’re from. Instead of embracing what they’re from, they only wish to project essentially a fake persona and are often label conscious, trendy Wendy types.

Where women always will fall short in this world is not embracing that part of who you are based on what you’re from. And maybe what you’re from isn’t what you feel is socially acceptable, but it’s stupid to try to deny it because everybody knows it anyway.

There’s nothing wrong with a woman who doesn’t color her hair, doesn’t have plastic surgery, and doesn’t get Botox and other fillers every few weeks from not even their dermatologist half of the time, but a spa or salon somewhere.

Women as a species will always be competitive on some level with other women. It’s human nature. But the thing is it’s how you use that competitive nature, and ironically some of the most hyper competitive women I’ve ever met in my entire life I’ve also been among the most insecure.

I’m not saying we’re supposed to all stop shaving our legs and armpits and we’re supposed to sing Kumbaya around the campfire, what I’m saying is maybe as part of the brand of the new feminism we need to actually be real.

So what is the new feminism? I’m still not really sure. But I do think part of it is being able to speak our peace. And I think part of being real is actually acknowledging you don’t want to lift up every woman. Because sometimes there are just some women who piss you off, or irritate you, or you question their inherent value as human beings and just do not like. And that’s OK as a woman to actually say that out loud. You can be your authentic self without worrying about having to be perfect every five minutes.

Obviously I don’t have the answers, and these are just some of my rambling thoughts. I’m sure not everyone will like what I have written today, but these are things I’m thinking about.

Thanks for stopping by.

time passages

My husband loves Al Stewart’s music. I have always liked it as well. So every once on Spotify, I turn on some Al Stewart. One of his songs is running in a loop through my brain. Has been since I received some news that kind of upended me yesterday and today. The song is Time Passages. So that is why the video is in this post. Another song too has been in that loop. Supertramp’s Lord Is It Mine. Both my husband and I also love Supertramp. Also added a favorite Genesis song and a Steve Winwood too. Might as well do the full music I liked then and today. Music helps.

But…..Damn my age is showing. The music is all from “back in the [proverbial] day”. And this really has nothing to do with what I have been trying to write since this morning. It’s like if I write it out, it becomes more real. Music cushions the thoughts.

I have been sitting in front of my computer screen. I know what I want to say, but have been somewhat stuck in my own head since last evening when I received completely unexpected news.

One of my favorite people, a friend who feels like he’s been around literally since almost forever has died. Forever meaning I think we met circa 1976 or so. I know this is something I have to write about because it just needs to leave my brain. The memories need to settle and go back to happy, not swirl in my brain like an unhappy tornado.

Yes, a lot of tears have been quietly shed today.

He was hit by a car while walking. Just a freak accident a fluke. He wasn’t sick, he loved his life, was in the prime of his life, nice career, nice man. The kind of person you want in your life until we are really old and gray, only that won’t happen now.

Somewhere in a trunk I have photos from when we were teenagers and older. So many memories. Damn it David, I am not grown up enough for this.

I will start with one a friend reminded me of last night. Sitting in the middle of my parents’ driveway and David shouting “To the airport and hop on it!” when a VW rabbit went by. And that day multiple VW rabbits drove down our then quiet road. It was a hot car then. We laughed and laughed.

Another memory sitting in my parents’ library with him and three or four other friends. Don’t know why. It may have been after JDA (Junior Dancing Assemblies.)

Ahh what were the Junior Dancing Assemblies (“JDA”)? They were formal by invitation dances. The Senior Dancing Assemblies (‘SDA”) followed. They were held at the Merion Tribute House in Merion Station. Every time it was my father’s turn to drive us kids, he got lost. I still get lost going there.

Girls in long dresses or long formal tartan skirts and an appropriate top. Note that appropriate those days was NOT short skirts or skimpy tops or even spaghetti straps or strapless. Somewhere I have the original invitation that had the dress code. It was a tradition starting to wane by the time we went. Sometimes it was a bad cover band, other times a D.J.

A few years ago, David and I had some serious giggles over JDA and SDA and that Gold Lamé dragon Mrs. Farber. She was the one who ran the dances. Seriously, she seemed to have an endless supply of Gold Lamé dresses that had these almost bullet bra tops and didn’t move anymore than her Aqua Net cemented hair do. She was terrifying. She dragged me into the service kitchen at Merion Tribute one night and called my mother on the kitchen phone to report that I wouldn’t dance with someone she picked out for me to dance with. Fortunately, David and another friend rescued me. I remember coming home that night and my mother wondering why THAT woman called her. And of course a resounding chorus of “Don’t do that again, you were lucky to be invited.”

We would camp out during JDA and SDA intermissions or breaks and hangout on the window seats at Merion Tribute House and the other seating areas and shove stale pretzels down the heater grates as we drank our slightly warm and slightly flat Coca Colas out of Dixie Cups. During those intermissions we would think up grand schemes never executed to torture Mrs. Farber. Mostly we wondered how her bras were so pointy, how big was that closet of Gold Lamé dresses, and what was actually in her hair.

And then there were our mischief night escapades. One year we took apart a split rail fence and created an obstacle course on the road. We almost got caught that year as we also toilet papered several trees. Another year someone (David) magically re-painted the tops of someone’s wrought iron fence from gaudy gold to black I think it was.

Another thing we did once in a while? Roaming around the back of the estate known as Dolobran in Haverford. Why? So we could peek in the windows of the ballroom. It was so cool. At that point I believe there was just one tiny old lady living there. That was back when said little old lady gave me a $20 bill for Halloween one year back then. I had dressed my dog up as a cat to go trick or treating.

During the high school years we all went to different schools. So there were parties at Kip’s house or Adam’s house. Then there were the Philadelphia Charity Ball Years. David rescued me a couple of times when I did not have a date and my mother said I could not go with “just friends.” So he really wasn’t my escort, but covered for me and another friend so we could go.

Eventually we all went our separate ways and wouldn’t see each other as often. While I stayed pretty much in the Philadelphia area, David and other friends were spread out all over the east coast, out west, down south. So then there was Christmas.

Christmas Eve for decades meant one Christmas party in particular for many of us in Gladwyne. So I always saw David and his family there. When we were younger, we would be with the kids downstairs in a big rec room for the most part. As we got older we migrated upstairs and would take over the hosts’ study.

Then at some point, we all stopped going. In recent years, David and I would connect by phone, email, and like so many others Facebook. We would occasionally see each other when he was up from Florida to see family still in the area.

David did things liked sent me little gifts sometimes for no reason. A couple of years ago it was a set of whimsical kitchen towels he thought I would like.

The last time we connected was his birthday….barely a month ago.

Hopping around: I remember when his mother died. April, 1978. Not too long from now is the anniversary. I remember when he called me. She was the first parent of someone I knew who passed away. His dad remarried a few years later, and his father and stepmother and siblings and family and friends all survive him. His stepmother is truly lovely. And I remember that was not easy coming into the world of three boys of various ages who had lost their mother.

My head is calmer now as I have written down some of these memories and allowed the memories of laughter wash over me. Today has been full of phone calls from some of our old friends, which is comforting for all of us. It gives us a chance to quietly remember someone who was just a wonderful person, one of our life long friends.

Telling my mother was no fun. She always adored David. My past is her past here. And his stepmother and father are still alive and such nice people. She said to me no parent wants to outlive their children.

Now David wasn’t someone who would want us to be endlessly sad. So I am celebrating him right now with a post traveling down a meandering multi-decade memory lane. The meandering includes music. What I have shared plus a favorite playlist from Spotify.

David gave his friends a precious gift one last time. And that gift is allowing some of us to reconnect. We will honor that gift and remember him. (Umm he also gave me his grandmother’s pound cake recipe and THAT is priceless.)

David, we will all miss you, and when I have my next glass of Rosé, I will lift a glass in your honor. Thanks for the memories, but it just wasn’t time enough.

The older I get, the more I realize loss is not for sissies.

Goodbye, old friend.

and just like that…even our t.v. characters age…and all of our lives change as we age and that’s o.k.

This morning I had a giggle. Sex & The City started on HBO in June, 1998. Cable was ridiculously expensive and I remember hunting the various COMCAST “special deals” just so I could have HBO. Nope, no Manolo budget here. I was single, watching the ultimate single girl television show.

Ok yes, I have talked about this show before, but come on? The original was a big part of all of our lives. Kind of like Star Trek for some of the guys I know.

I loved the cast, part of which was New York City. The clothes and the shoes I could never afford unless they were dumped at Loehmann’s or Daffy’s or Century21. And I could never walk in the shoes. The shoes I left and still leave to my sister (and her fabulous shoe closet/racks.)

This morning I had a giggle because I realized that way back when I used to watch Sex & The City in bed like my big single girl not so secret, sometimes with a glass of wine. Now I watch And Just Like That on Thursday mornings in bed with a cup of coffee.

Yup the 50s. Struck me as so funny. I don’t know why. Well maybe because I watch the new show drinking my coffee and then I go and clean up the rest of the kitchen and sort the laundry. Back then, in the Sex & The City Days, yes I did laundry and cleaned up the kitchen. Just didn’t admit it out loud.

So now I am a few episodes into the new show. I like it. It’s getting a lot of flak like the actresses were supposed to have been cryovaced and opened as their 1990s selves once again. Well gee, that would be a neat trick. They have aged, pretty damn well if you ask me and you can see a little “work” but at least they don’t have frozen face syndrome. I have seen a lot less of that frozen face syndrome since COVID started, but still, it’s out there.

Probably I am an anomaly. I don’t do fillers or injectables. No plastic surgery, still on my original body parts. If liposuction didn’t look incredibly painful, maybe that would be an option (I am actually joking) but I think I will just try to exercise more and eat less? I am not a perfect 10 now, wasn’t back then. After breast cancer surgery, people kept telling me about their favorite plastic surgeons. Well once you have had a couple non-elective surgeries that kind of hurt and if you hate needles, that is not really an option. Besides, ask your radiology technician sometime what they have to do to get a mammogram on ladies with glorious fake breasts. One word: contortion. Two words: no thanks.

Things about the show that still crack me up is they all still breathe the rarified air. They are mixing in more everyday kind of available clothes, but still the wardrobes and where they live. Pretty fun and fantastical. But those are ladies in menopause and I envy them their lack of hot flashes. Or they could just be like my mother was back then and simply not acknowledge their existence.

The conversations have shifted some with them. The hair coloring vs. not coloring crack me up. Oh I have had those because once I started breast cancer treatment I stopped experimenting with color. It was never much to begin with, just the occasional semi permanent color job. Now a decade plus later, my hair still has a lot of my original dark. I will admit some days I freak myself out because when I look in the mirror I see my paternal grandmother Beatrice, but for me I made the right choice. And my hair actually looks and feels better.

I am aging. I will admit to taking collagen supplements, but with age comes dry skin. But when I look in the mirror, except for the occasional glimpse of Beatrice and wondering how almost 60 years of life seem gone in a blink, it’s ok.

Now these television characters and the actors which portray them have all aged. I kind of like that they have aged right along with me. I think I would have been upset if the re-boot occurred with a new young cast.

I often wonder what women think as they age. We all know quite a few who aren’t doing it quite gracefully. The still too short skirts, tight pants, and short shorts. Overly carefully lit selfies and professionally taken social media photos. Some of these ladies have amazing figures, others do not. It’s just about aging gracefully, perhaps with humor. I mean we do have options other than mom jeans, right? I will admit to missing my leather and sued pants, however, and being able to wear strapless gowns.

Back then when the original show aired, I was wondering what this current part of my life would be like. I had a bunch of friends who married young, and I couldn’t see myself in their lives then. I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t about sowing the proverbial wild oats, never did so much of that, it was just about growing into myself I think. I wasn’t there yet. (However, I will tell you that back then, I still did cook, go antique and vintage treasure hunting, and garden.)

One of the best things for women about these shows is showing the relationships between the women and their partners, and the dating then and now. I was never much of a dater although I did it. I always found recreational dating much like the job interviews for the jobs I didn’t want.

But the characters the women’s characters dated in the original series? Cracked me up. I could see them in so many people my friends had dated and even I dated. Like Mr. Big. We all had one of those, I think. But we didn’t marry them, so it’s kind of no wonder they made her a widow. But I do know some young widows, so on the other hand I actually get that (and wish it on no one.)

And the Samanthas. We all had them, even if their clothes weren’t as good. But they grew up too, and not all friendships transcend the test of time. So no matter why that character is gone, I get it. I have a lot of my core friends, but I am exceptionally lucky. Some of the other friendships didn’t make it but it kind of falls into that saying about friendships being reason, season, or lifetime.

Truthfully I am glad to be me now, and that I am not dating in my 50s. I am grateful for my life and marriage. I know who I am, I know who he is. We aren’t ever perfect, but I know what it is to love and be loved, and there comes a point where that is just right and very lovely. Now granted, I know I am a very lucky woman, and I never take that for granted (or try not to.) However, I will completely admit it’s a little annoying that he can still imitate my high school self walking down the halls at Shipley carrying my book bag. So no, I do not get away with much, ladies.

Another thing I admire about the new series are the people they have around them. It’s not just bars and cosmopolitans. It’s the bitchy women’s committees and PTA savages. It’s the reinventing yourself when you thought you were all set, including sometimes starting over.

We can all relate. After all, I still remember the first time I did a car rider line, didn’t know where to go, and got in the wrong part of the line. I was literally surrounded by mini vans and had moms and dads who got out of their vehicles to SCREAM at me. Oh and the teachers and school personnel watched from the sidelines like it was a spectator sport.

And then there were the moms who wanted their high school kids to slow dance at their dances like “the holy spirit was in between them.” Had to bite my tongue with that one because did they actually know what their teenagers were up to and it certainly didn’t involve the holy spirit. But hey, whatever gets you through the day.

And now today add to the average and annoying PTA moms we have the anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, conservative beacons of light who will save all of us from ourselves while searching for that perfect hair color shade. The new Stepford Wives.

And then you have the not Stepford Wives who are just amusing. Self-described social media experts because they have a few Facebook group pages. And they still copy their material from everyone else and don’t have an original bone in their bodies. And they still want you to think certain communities adjacent to the Main Line are the Main Line, and why? Is the Main Line all that and a bag of chips? No sadly, and hasn’t been in years, just like there is no real “society” left to photograph.

Thanks but no, I will take me, lumps and all. It’s ok to age. We have much better shoes to choose from these days, and you only have to have a rocking chair on your front porch if you want one.

Thanks for stopping by.