February 5, 2012


…from the Greek meaning “"the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland" or "people dispersed by whatever cause to more than one location," Webster’s, 2011.

L T and I waiting for the friends to arrive sitting out on the back deck.

After lunch when G left to go to work the new Woodie Show at the Automotive Museum, I went back to scanning. I found more photographs of Aaron’s third birthday. There were some really cute shots of his sister Beth. Trains photos galore….I didn’t have to save them all. Then pictures of my 50th birthday.

I’d visited Lessa in a recovery home, and I had noticed that many things were tired or worn out. “What do you need,” I asked, and they gave me a list. So I sent the list on to some of my friends asking if they could give me birthday gifts for the recovery home. They gave by the truckload. Sofa’s and TV’s. Not just toothbrushes, but dolls and clothes. I planned a potluck lunch, I cleaned the house, and the friends came.

Lovely wonderful friends some of them I had known forever.

Here Bee and I are getting ready for the party. I think that’s Lessa in back.

Oh, Duck sat in the in the corner near the pile of presents. And too, there was Dr. Harriette, and her biologist colleague Lee. There was Hellynn Hoffa writer and teacher….how did we get her and her chair up the long flight of stairs. Was the elevator working? Janey fully of joy and laughter. Linda the librarian and poet laughing too. Ruby…the Geezers mother. They are all gone now. Died in the last twenty years, and frankly I miss them….sometimes a lot.

There’s also Bob and Mike, Sandy and Joan, Mary and her then new husband. Frankie lives inland along with Miles and his new wife Barbara. Linda and Howierd along with Chuck and Marie and Dart have all moved away. Far away. I miss them too. Dart especially. As I looked at these wonderful friends, none of whom I see any more, I was truly sad. Many of them do not write, don’t do email, and few do Facebook. Most faded away. One of the best friends didn’t understand that we couldn’t be around her new drinking husband. His drinking endangered our own new sobriety. Others, like Peggy, just faded away. Oh, where did she go.

Not only do I miss these friends, I’m reminded that I used to be a very social person. I miss that.

And look, there’s Aaron in the very back talking to Bob.

I’ve seen seniors who just fade away into the woodwork. Other’s still take part, they suit up and show up but make no new friends. Sometimes these elders move from their homes to be nearer to their families. I see this often. My birth family was never my family. Part of the artists who gathered together in the 1960s were still part of my extended family in the 1990s. Now this new family has scattered.

Those of us whose friends have been part of the great American, twentieth century diaspora must make an extra effort to make new friends. I confess that it’s hard for me. I’m still physically set up for a social life, but after many years of living with a loner, I find I have shrunk into an uncomfortable solitude.

I volunteer now not just for friends like Jo and Janey, but for me. At meetings I stick my hand out, I take jobs, I put myself out there. But I confess, I’m uncomfortable. Maybe I will get better at it.


  1. I was thinking the same thoughts last night. Where are all of my friends -- the ones I socialized with before I got married? I need to host more parties at home...

  2. "Maybe I will get better at it?" How old do you think we have to be to get better at it. Your blog today sounds like a page from my past. Please visit my past today for some pages I recall warmly.

    Loved this post of yours today, friend. Dianne

  3. Oh did that ring a bell. I used to be social, belonged to groups, had potlucks, picnics in the park. My close friends have scattered and I too moved 300 miles away from my old home decades. I've been here for 12 years and have one very close friend but am near to my sons and many grandkids. As you said I do "suit up" and "show up" but have not made any other friends. Interestingly my good friend is 20 years younger than I.

  4. It is somewhat easy to make acquaintances, but not so easy to make friends. I see this post and feel sad that I did not know you (as a friend) back then. I think we would have been good for each other.

  5. Mage, you speak for many of us. Socializing is so important to living a good life. Not parties, but good friends, food, and conversation... they bring such richness into our hearts. Lovely photos...

  6. I think this situation develops for most of us as we age. I have no answer for it. Most people label me an extreme extrovert but not so, I'm an introvert, As long as I'm connected to the Internet that's all the social contact I need. I have to force myself to go out and connect with people wearing skin.

  7. Priceless memories.
    I too have become a sort of hermit - in the family. Which is fine so long as the family is around.

  8. You hit the nail on the head. I had such a grand bunch of friends when I lived in Minnesota. I am finding that difficult here. I wonder why.

  9. Good for you, Mage. Friends are so important.

    It's important to keep meeting people. It's not easy to make good friends though... I don't know why. It seemed so much easier when we were younger. It was the hardest thing to leave our friends in Chicago to return home to Hawaii.


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