old age

been a long time been a long time been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely time

It seems as if it were only yesterday that I was a youngster.    Now that I have all sorts of Facebook friends from as far back as my days in Jackson Heights,  even before my teens, I’m constantly reminded that even my very earliest days seem quite recent in my memory.   I also spend quite a lot of time with my niece and nephews.   Bridget recently turned seventeen, Sam recently turned twenty one and Michael will be twenty six next month.     That strikes me as quite an eye opener.    It seems as if it were only yesterday that I was that young.    I don’t really mind the passage of time and can even get used to the kids’ constantly rubbing it in.    Perhaps you could say I tend passively to ignore how old I really am.     A few years ago I told my parents that I could understand that twenty years was a long time, but that I couldn’t understand that the 1990’s were a long time ago, even though we were living in the 1990’s twenty years ago.     Thanks to my lifelong obsession with the humanities.   I understand well that time is divided into both objective time and subjective duration.    Man has to deal, in one way or another, with units of time ranging from Grateful Dead time to the New York minute, depending upon his circumstances.     I still think of myself as being young, though I realize quite well that it’s now a crock.   All I have to do is to meet a former classmate or teacher of mine, or anyone else I knew a significantly long time ago.     My appearance has changed, though I’m still recognizably the same as I was in days of yore.     I sort of live in the past in certain ways.    I should like to think that I shall soon be quite a very interesting old timer, the kind who knows how to tell legitimate stories about the past, and to compare and to contrast then and now, but not in a creepy way.      It’s all a question of facing up to the inevitable.    I’ve never liked that as-young-as-you-feel crap.   I’ve also never been able to stand when characters such as Willard Scott refer to fans of his as a hundred and four years young, or anything like that.    When someone pretends that old people can be young in some way he denies the legitimate goodness, beauty and worthiness of both age and youth.    When that happens no one wins and everyone loses.







good strangers

Generous thoughtful strangers are constantly passing through each individual’s life so it’s kind of difficult for me to single one out for his having done something especially kind and selfless for me.    My mother died on September 23, 2o13 and then my father died on November 7.      Friends, acquaintances and strangers were always going out of their way to be exceptionally considerate throughout all my mother’s last illness, starting from the time she first got sick in November of 2012.   Everyone knows that old people can be difficult to handle, even at their best.   My parents needed a lot of help in their last days.   People at the Geisinger, General and Veteran’s Hospitals, and at the Mercy Hospice, in Wilkes Barre, were all  quite helpful.    They were constantly trying to explain things, and to make things as easy as possible, with food and parking among other necessary things.   People always helped with transportation and running errands.    The hospital and hospice personnel did all they could.   Even though technically they were only doing their jobs anyway, they were exceptionally good.   Other strangers were very conscientious too.     It’s very good to know that there are a lot of people who can be relied upon to do the right thing.    Often over the course of my lifetime I’ve tended to get a bit too cynical about mankind’s nasty side but ultimately there are quite a lot of good people in the world.