Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Second thoughts ... on retirement ... or not,

And no, I'm not about to dash off into some sensational late-in-life marriage either. Besides, most of the men in my age bracket don't do "dash" anymore. It was just one of those entries that got away from me. I tend to forget that anyone is actually reading this stuff, and when I do my fingers take over from my brain and havoc reigns!

A couple of dear friends were alarmed by what they thought might be impulsive decisions on my part and picked up the phone to say, "...Whoa, Betty!"

And of course they were right. This simply isn't the way such things are done. When I make that important decision, it will be after very careful consideration. However, it's quite possible that I'll leave my office one of these days horizontal and feet first! And maybe that's as it should be. What better way to go -- hell-bent on changing the world and defying fate to the end!

But I was also reminded of something else that removed some of the sting of the momentary dip into depression (if that's what it was): Nostalgia for the sweet sound of children in the background of my life may be rooted in something quite real. After all, living within extended family clusters (until the fairly recent past) was the norm for most of my generation. We've only ghetto-ized age groups with communities made up of elders, others for teens, men, gangs, women, singles, married folks, children, living in social groupings isolated from one another. We're now little more than "markets," and that may be the norm of the present and the future, but for those in my age group it is still not what some would define as the "good life".

My earliest memories are of sitting in my grandmother Victoria's lap -- brushing her waist length hair -- in that creaky old rocking chair on the front porch of the house on Lapyrouse Street in New Orleans. I suspect that my mother was in the kitchen preparing dinner for the family. I can't remember much else from those early years (I must have been about 3), but my grandmother still looms large and real and loving in those memories. And I am probably that laughing child whose sounds I'm still drawn to from far far back in time. Having several generations living under one roof was the norm for most families.

But the lifestyle disappeared during my own children's childhood. We lived some miles from both sets of grandparents, and except for late in my mother's life when she came to live with me after my father's death, we never lived under one roof. Both sets of grandparents prided themselves for their independence.

But I can't remember separate senior housing developments until fairly recently, can you?

Was I experiencing an unsatisfied hunger -- an unanswered need?

At some subconscious level I suspect that I was reaching back to another time and remembering ... .

Perhaps the best thing about this year's Fourth of July is the fact that I found those laughing voices -- they were there all the time -- in today's children and someday -- in theirs -- and I also discovered just what it was that I needed and the means to satisfy the hunger once identified.

Being intuitive has it's rewards, though sometimes it takes a journey through pain to find them.

Photo: Meet young cousin, Desmond.

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