Monday, August 25, 2014

PUBLIC AGING

My elders always said they felt younger than their
Age, although exteriors showed passage of time.

Similarly, as I approach my 8th decade, 
I feel 35-or-so years old--half my age!

During recent trips via public transportation,
Others offered a bus seat; sent my luggage

Ahead rather than my trudging down airline 
Passage, tugging bags via my own energy.

Proudly flaunting my salt-n-pepper hair undoubtedly 
Contributes to others' perceptions and assumptions of

Advancing age and progressing physical limitations,
Projecting their mothers and grandmothers onto me.

Although I appreciate considerateness and respect,
I am astounded by being treated like a little old lady.

Despite aching knees and early-evening fatigue,
I continue to feel vital, energetic, and capable of 

Great things: complicated and creative endeavors,
Jam-packed social calendar, and long reading lists.

Like recalcitrant children, self-perceptions lag behind 
Actual alterations and reality-based bodily changes.

Only ten years younger than my mother at her death,
Perhaps I can receive an occasional helping hand.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) August 25, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

SISTERS OF THE 'HOOD

Genetics, of course, leave marks.
Proximity, also, has influence.

Known since 7-years-olds, second grade;
One short-end-of-block between homes;
Frequent contact, daily during summers;
Taught me to ride a bike; matching sailor
Hats, yellow T-shirts, and tan Wrangler jeans;
After watching Charlie Chan, walking back
Home down middle of street at midnight.
Making up mnemonics to study biology.
Post-junior-college moves--last two
Baccalaureate years at state colleges in 
Southern Minnesota and Eastern North Dakota.
Got on with adult loves, work, and lives.

Christmas cards, occasional e-mails.
Reconnect at 50th High School Reunion
On Minnesota's Iron Ore Range. 
Shared childhood photographs.
Regular Sunday phone conversations.
Summer, 2014, All-Class Reunion,
Preceded by several days at her home, 
During which we discovered similarities.

Similar moral/ethical codes; 
Similar level of tidiness; 
Similar red decorative accents;
Same red frying pan;
Similar taste in clothing styles;
Same taste in clothing stores;
Same green earrings.
Similar easy laughter.
Emotional comfort in her company.
Physical comfort in her home.

Blood is thick; propinquity is powerful.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) August 12, 2013