Saturday 21 June 2014


Perhaps you, too, have been noticing that life is inclined to meet itself coming back; that is, that what was true about the beginning is often true of the end. A few posts ago, you may remember, I told you how my professional life had come full circle: from Airline Enquiry Deak to Hospital Enquiry Desk and from part-time trolley dolly in the air to part-time trolley dolly with books around a hospital ward. I have been thinking of more subtle harkings back, though. For instance, I remember scrubbing floors immediately before the birth of my babies.'Nest building' the Old Wives called it. Now, at the other end of life I find myself not scrubbing floors but tidying drawers and cupboards and making 'where to find it' lists for my young. The wispy hair of a baby is not unlike the wispy hair of the aged, without the reassurance that the hair will soon thicken and even curl....the baby's, that is. For lots of us whatevergenerians we  have similar walking problems as those toddlers. As I watch the just -learning little ones stagger from one support to the next I see myself making my way down the road with stick and hope, jerky and unreliable but without a steadying parental hand.

I have lost my sophistication of palate and find my current favourite food to be buttered toast with apricot jam. As I remember it, little ones also eat buttered toast, soldiers with their boiled eggs. I wouldn't have fed mine curry. Now, I can no longer eat spicy food, myself. Some things are not prone to circularity, though. Babies tend not to have cupboards full of clothes they wore a stone ago - fourteen pounds if you are in Mountview California. The sheer amount of STUFF I've accumulated overwhelms me. I was looking for a small basket the other day. I found one full of shoe-cleaning kit. I haven't cleaned my shoes in years. No, not because I am a slut, but because the ones I habitually wear are patent and are managed with a wipe down with a damp cloth. My heart sank on behalf of those I shall leave behind. A month off work for each of them will only nibble the surface. I need help to muster strength to do at least some of it before I shuffle off this mortal coil. Lying on my bed with my cat on top of me is not a fair division of the end of life chores I, and the young, have to become familiar with.  What if I were to do a drawer a day?  Were I to count the drawers I may find I would need to live to a hundred and seventeen to have enough of them  - days, silly, not drawers. I have been watching a programme on television set in the early 1940s. The war is on and every aspect of people's lives is affected. Dear Reader, I was there. I feel at home with the programme. I feel strange when it is over and I have to turn off the computer and shut down the air-conditioning and even the television set, itself. None of those things existed in my 'real' life time. I understand shortage and tolerance of situations we go on strike for in the present day. Don't get me wrong: I am comfortable and somewhat blessed in the present. It's just that my present is like my past only in matters of hair and mobility. The past seems to be where my real home is and I am just a visitor in the here and now. However, I'd like the visit to go on for a little while yet. Nos da


Anonymous said...

I know just what you mean. Lovely, thank you

Anonymous said...

I too lie awake at night thinking of the mammoth task I am leaving my children. Why do I need 35 mugs and a dozen chairs and assorted bric a brac?