I grew up, got educated, worked hard, had a stroke and retired … was there anything else?
I suppose I should mention my three marriages. The first and the third were actually to the same woman. We were worldly intellectuals ready to storm the art world or, in my case, the world of little poetry magazines that only paid with copies and a thank you letter. I know you won’t believe it, but the marriage that didn’t work out the first time also went down in flames the second time. About the only thing I look back on with fondness is that she was a librarian, and when you read a lot of books, having a librarian in the family is not a bad thing.
Number Two was my break with intellectualism. I married a nice family girl, bought a house, grew a garden, mowed the lawn, and was blessed with a daughter who to this day still likes me (daughter hasn’t spoken to mother in years). Then, despite all the messiness of marriages and divorces, I teamed up with a wonderful woman and we were together almost every day for twenty years. Unfortunately, a brain tumor suddenly appeared and I lost her in just a few short months. I am alone now but the ladies of the cul-de-sac help me out and I have abandoned all urges to do things myself when I can just as well pay someone to do it for me (hey, with my lack of balance I don’t dare stand even on the first step of a ladder so I can only change my curtains when my daughter visits).
My daughter, previously referred to as The Kid, is now in her 40s, has a hard-earned PhD in Comparative Literature, and is teaching English and Film at a major university. Up until the last day before turning in her thesis, she was emailing chapters to me for proofreading. I must say that between the constant citations in French and the depth of her knowledge of forms of criticism that were not around when I was in college, I was lost most of the time.
Just to catch up: A few years back I had a couple of health incidents that ended in hospital visits. Although I lived only a few hours away from my daughter, she now was working full time and caring for her own children so it made sense to have me move-in to created a three-generation family home and to provide a more immediate environment for the slow degeneration of my old age.
I sold my little house in Hilton Head, had an extension built onto my daughter’s house, purged three-quarters of my hoarded belongings, and moved into two lovely rooms with my dogs Luci and Ricky .. and my daughter, son-in-law, and grandkids .. and three cats.
Ricky and I are still here but neither one of us is moving too fast and Maslow’s pyramid has definitely been squashed: Sleep, Food, Toilet, Rollator, Digital Books, Shorts & T-Shirt, Mac, iPad, iPhone, but no television.
[To be continued]