The day audibly begins at seven am, nearly every day. I hear a greeting, or a bump on the floor above my downstairs apartment, and know that one or both of the dear people upstairs are ready for the routine that puts them above and beyond any married people I have ever known personally.
The sounds morph into a stair creaks, and two sets of footsteps that stop for the next half hour. I know where they stop. It is at the double recliner love-seat that is well named. My daughter and her husband are sitting there in bathrobes with their bare feet up and the morning paper out. If the TV is on, I don’t hear it.
What I do hear is two voices. TALKING TO ONE ANOTHER! Often there is just a comfortable burble of sound, intermittent, and reciprocal. Sometimes, like this morning, there is an outburst– I don’t hear the words. It sounds heartfelt, but I can’t really tell the nature of the passion… excitement, assertiveness, or consternation? Can’t tell.
What I do know is that these people spend the first half hour of each morning at a regular meeting with coffee, newspaper, and each other. They share the news. They offer their opinions. They don’t always agree. But they always talk.
My daughter and her husband have been married for 33 years. They are dynamic, opinionated people with an inbuilt portion of “feist” that is not boring, and is sometimes volatile. They have powered through serious differences of opinion, and some big weather-changes. My own marriage did not survive such stresses, but theirs has.
These two are evidence that love is an action verb.
Living with relatives is a dicey matter sometimes. And I am mindful of the stresses to my own marriage caused by the in-house residency of my own mother in years past. No doubt my former husband suffered somewhat silently. We didn’t talk to each other every day at seven. Sometimes we didn’t talk to each other at all…other than in passing. We lasted 20 rather passive-aggressive years.
Neither of us found success in remarriage. We never learned how to “love”, v. trans. Not at least the talking back and forth kind of love.
Today there was an outburst…just about fifteen minutes ago. Footsteps went rather loudly up the stairs at 7:30 am…to the shower. As usual.
Outbursts are not terminal here, with them. They are fearless about communication of nearly any sort. They work the muscles of this marriage. Sometimes they get sore.
But they talk to each other. And answer. Every day.
I am in awe. And not walking on eggshells here. Seems as if their stability will withstand the presence of a mother-in-law. If not, they will say so. I count on it by now.
Posted in family, Human Nature, Op-Ed, PEOPLE, The Human Condition, True Stories | Tagged children, communication, family, habit, human nature, love, marriage, passages, Seniors | Leave a Comment »
Statue on Temple University Campus of Johnny Ring, bronze by Boris Blai, Dean of Tyler School of Art 1959
There is actually a statue of me in Philly! Gathering patina from passing birds!!!
Seth Godin’s blog today was an enervating Dutch Uncle talk about critics and how important they really are. I saved the following from that post, and have been thinking all day about statues, and how they stand there for long years, unlike critics who come and go without commemoration.
“No one has ever built a statue to a critic, it’s true. On the other hand, it’s only the people with statues that get pooped on by birds flying by.” from Seth’s blog today
It always surpises me to remember that I posed for Boris Blai’s rendition of the little boy who served alongside the soldier in the Civil War. Dean Blai asked if I would like to pose for him as he worked on the plastilene model that was eventually cast into this statue. I was glad for the money, and had the added allure of a Civil War uniform in the attic that belonged to one of my ancestors who fought on the Union Side. Dean Blai was thrilled to have an authentic hat and real buttons, etc., for his project.
His wonderfully pleasant wife served us rose hip tea while I posed with sword and uniform for hours. I suppose my strong legs (swimming, dancing, fencing) were an asset, and I was not very bosomy, so could pass for a boy in enough ways to adapt. I went away with a bit of pocket change and an interesting memory. I really never thought much about the final product until I ran across an article about the statue, and realized it was ME…my statue…in BRONZE, standing there in the garden at Temple U.
I can tell you, that I don’t really feel anything physical about my effigy standing there in snow and sleet and blistering heat, but it gives me a sort of smug feeling to know how that statue was sculpted, conceived, researched.
Boris Blai studied with Rodin! He used to rifle through the wastebasket at Rodin’s studio and snitch discarded sketches. He told us students at Tyler about his nights sleeping on benches on the Champs–Elysées and wearing the art student attire of the starving artists in Paris. I am not sure how much of his memories were embellished, but he was indeed a man with a fascinating history, and not a bad sculptor!
So, for the record, this Old Swimmer is immortalized (I guess statues are more or less immortal) in bronze for all to see, and no one to get excited about. But me.
Smiling, as I gather bird poop. Old Swimmer
Posted in Art, Sculpture and Carving | Tagged Civil War Uniform, Dean Boris Blai, Johnny Ring, memories, statue, Temple University | Leave a Comment »
A day for mischief
but now Christ is risen
See? the joke’s on me!
Posted in The Human Condition | Tagged NaPoWriMo | Leave a Comment »
Mike Grinding counter clockwise
Posted in The Human Condition | Tagged Mike Grinding | Leave a Comment »