In Memorium

He took full advantage of the GI Bill to forward his education.
As a young man in the U. S. Navy. He took full advantage of the GI Bill to further his education.

Yesterday early morning, my uncle passed away.  It wasn’t an unexpected event; he had been placed in hospice the early part of June.  Brain tumor, the same thing that took his father.  I hadn’t seen him for last 35 years but had remained in casual contact through Facebook and email within the last decade.  You wouldn’t think that the passing of such a person, relative or not, who had virtually no presence in my life would affect me the way it has.  Of course, I feel sorry for my cousins, Ken and Chris, and their children who had such a wonderful grandfather.  It must really be hurting them.  But me?  A distant niece?  Surprisingly, yes.

While I was driving around carrying out some mundane errands today, it hit me:  he’s gone for good.  And I started crying.  I cried for missed opportunities and the distant memories I had of him.  He was a decent man who treated his sister’s children, my mother, like regular children and not the evil spawn of the demented sister.  His higher education and inventions gained him a comfortable living, but he didn’t allow that to change him.  He visited his parents often and his youngest son, Chris, who was closer to our age, was always fun to play with.  His employment with an oil company allowed them to live in exotic places.  They would come back with cool stories to tell and neat gifts to give.  It was always fun visiting him and his family.  When he was able,

Here he was at 84, still flying.
Here he was at 84, still flying.

he learned how to fly and purchased a plane.  I remember when we were staying with him in Valencia, we went to the local airport and I got to fly for the first time.  He took us to California City where we had french fries at the airport cafe, then went back home.  I was never afraid because it was Uncle Bill.

But life went on, and my rebellious teen years landed me in the Air Force.  That was last time I spoke directly to him.  It was a Saturday.  I was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base and I was in the middle of my technical training to be an air traffic controller.  I just felt like talking to him, so I called him.  We had a nice conversation and he got a kick out of my choice of career field.  I was all of 19 years old, though, and had to drink, cavort and sow wild oats.  And all of a sudden, it was 30 some odd years later and through the ubiquitousness of Facebook, the older son Ken, found me, and we were in communication again.

So, I’m done crying – mostly – and just wanted to say good-bye one last time.

            Bill Smith  11/12/1925---7/1/2015
Bill Smith


What’s in the number 52? Looks innocent enough. However, when employed in statistics, it means that whatever you’re polling has a better than half rating; as a decibel measurement, it’s a whisper.  In 1952, the average cost of a home was $9,050.  Additionally, it’s the number of weeks in a year and the number of white keys on a piano.  To be terribly obscure, it’s also a significant number in the Mayan calendar.  We all know how important the Mayan calendar is in our daily lives. *cough*2012*cough, cough*

It’s also means that AARP has been sending you membership cards for the last two years; that you see your doctor twice a year instead of once a year; that you’ve had your colon probed at least once, and the mammograms are really starting to wrack up in number.  And because progressive lenses don’t work for you, you have bifocals and now you’re thinking of tri-focals. old age humor It means you don’t especially know what YOLO means, nor do you care enough to Google it.  Ok…I looked it up.  You Only Live Once.  True enough, but are we saying it that much that it warrants an acronym?   

But, if you’re damned lucky, it means you’re 52 years old and in relatively good health.

Happy birthday to me!

The Contents of My Purse

I think it will be the bane and boon for every woman over the age of 44: the well-stocked purse.  You know…the middle-aged woman who works with you in your office; the go-to lady when you have a headache, an acidic stomach, or your button has fallen off and you’ll get either a safety pin, or some highly skilled tailor services for free and said button is repaired.  When disaster befalls your office, she is the one with some chocolate to soothe the nerves, and perhaps, even, a book that materializes out of her magic bag to distract or inform the beleaguered office worker.

Ah, yes. A random pic of the interior of my purse to illustrate my point. Beanos, hand sanitizer, aspirin, cough drops, kleenex, and I know there’s Immodium and Tums in there somewhere!

After all the services you have received from her, there is still a little joke that runs around the office about her age. Yes, the old lady’s purse, and the more she carries, the older she is. And you will never do that, because you’ll be young forever…Or something to that effect.

Yet here I am, carrying, in effect, the contents of a pharmacy. (See image) I have also come to the conclusion that, as I grow older, I don’t care what the young ones think; I’m a middle-aged woman who doesn’t want to feel uncomfortable just so I can be hip, because that’s not happening no matter what I do!

So go ahead and feel smug in your youth. Make the jokes, because I’m going to laugh at them also, knowing eventually, the joke is ultimately on all of us!

A Vanity Piece

Do I look 35? My niece said I would. Somehow, I think I’ve been lied to, but in a considerate way!! LOL Notice the clever placement of my hands so you don’t see the turkey neck!
The royal wave…

As I look at my new hair color juxtapositioned with my face, I remember thinking as an ignorant 30-something, how I would never be one of those ladies whose hair doesn’t match their face.  I think what compelled me more than anything else was that I missed the shine my hair used to have; each individual strand glimmering with vibrance.  Does this mean I’m vain?  I’m to the point where I almost don’t care.  And let me emphasize the “almost”.  The beauty and terror of growing older is knowing yourself, what you want and who you are…mostly.  That’s why older people are less inclined to try the newest food craze or sport or what have you that comes down the pike.  They know what they like, they’ve been there and done it, or something close enough.  I like to think that for my age I keep an open mind, but recently, the doors have started slowly closing, hence the  word “almost”.

As I warned in the title, this is a vanity piece!  Will I continue to let my past haunt me?  Probably.  We all have a specific image ingrained in our ego of what we should look like.  I would say that most of us are stuck in our 20s, so every time I look in the mirror I’m confronted with the reality of who I am at 50.  At that point, my inner pragmatist says “Welcome to reality, my dear.  We all age.”  I think a lot of us women are compelled to color our hair and use every quackery type potion that claims will reverse aging because we are trying to reconcile what we imagine ourselves to be and what we are.  At least, that’s the case with me.

Some women can age gracefully, i.e., they don’t look their age, and some women such as myself are going to fight it as best we can.  That doesn’t mean facelifts or Botox injections.  I don’t believe in unnecessary surgery and even the most accomplished plastic surgeons can have off-days.  There are some celebrities whose face work I would mention, but I think that’s harsh.  They have to live with the results.  No, in my case, I’ll color my hair and reconfigure my beauty regimen to best suit what is going on at the time.

I would like to hear how my fellow mature women are handling this in their lives!