Monday, August 25, 2014


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


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