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.
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.
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.