Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Daily Journal September 9; Our Labor Day Visitors

My partner Mark and I had a small barbecue in our backyard this past Sunday afternoon, during Labor Day Weekend. We did the usual suburban cookout on the back patio, fought the yellowjackets who bombarded us but meant no real harm, checked our behavior (no spontaneous kissing or holding hands on the driveway--more on this in future posts about living gay in a conservative middle-class suburb), and sat around later in a digestive lull before we finished off our guests with ice cream sundaes. Mark invited his 86-year-old mother, his sister and her husband, and our soon-to-be 90-year-old neighbor, Millie.....

Millie reminds me of both of my late Italian grandparents. She is tiny, like my grandmother was, barely five feet tall; and has my grandfather's coarse facial features, including a prominent nose above a small mouth with bowed, thin lips. She was very comfortable at our house, and very grateful to be there. She dominated the conversation, both in the number of stories she told, and the volume at which she told them... She did not mean for others not to get their word in; but she so clearly needed to leave a record of her life's more unusual moments, that no one minded letting her go on.

I speak here of reinventing myself......and it is while listening to Millie's stories, and Mark's mother's many anecdotes of her past, that I am reminded that, if all goes well, and if I attain their longevity, I have at least another 35 years left...about half a lifetime in modern terms. So I am having a conversation with myself----and often with Mark----about what life will be like, and what it can be, given the uncertainty of the world, the fragility of older age, and our resources. Can I go back to college? Will I write a blockbuster novel? Will we travel the world? Will we remain reasonably healthy, and can we make that happen? And on and on............ Reinvention, large and small...This is the guiding principal of this journal.

Re-Invention--an idea I mean to define and discuss throughout.....

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