Monday, February 08, 2016

with the grandson of Gen. George C. Marshall
Received a large FEDEX packet at the end of last week ... Julio had thoughtfully set it next to my computer to be discovered... .

Love receiving unexpected packages ... this one was very special.

Opened it to a 2-page letter that, in part, read,

"On behalf of the Board of Trustees at The National WWII Museum, it is my honor to share that you have been selected to receive the 2016 Silver Service Medallion at our American Spirits Awards Gala on Friday, June 10, 2016 at the Museum in New Orleans."
The American Spirit Awards celebrate individuals and organizations whose work reflects the values and spirit of those who served our country during the World War II years.  We honor those who inspire others through their own acts of courage, sacrifice, initiative and generosity - particularly in the areas of leadership, service to country or community, and education."

It was in December of 2012 that I served as a panelist for the Museum's annual convention in New Orleans; an unforgettable experience.

Met the iconic leaders and heroes of the period in a memorable setting on the edge of the old French Quarter of New Orleans -- the ancestral home of both my maternal and paternal lines -- the Breaux/Allens and the Charbonnets.  Can you imagine what this will mean to those relatives still living in this historic city?

(... and the walls come a-tumblin' down?)

Can't wait to tell them!

Now I'm being invited for a reprise of that experience, and this time as an honoree.

Among former recipients on the list are Major Norman Hatch,  Senator George McGovern, Harry Connick, Sr., Senator Robert Dole, Carl Reiner, Rear Admiral Robert F. Duncan, and a score of others too numerous to name.  It's interesting to note that -- on a list of 30 there is but one other woman, Elizabeth Dole, in 2010.

I will probably spend the rest of my life figuring out how in heaven's name I ever got on this list! Not complaining, mind you, just wondering ... .

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Still waiting for some kind of response from inner Betty about that dire diagnosis ...

... still nothing.

I assumed for a few days that the prognosis of the onset of irreversible blindness was so devastating that I'm in a state of denial, and, that at some point the ominous dark clouds will gather and I'll be engulfed by a deep depression.  Maybe.  But I've lived with the news for 3 weeks now, and nothing ... .

I did speak with my eldest son, Bob, and with our superintendent -- in the interest of full disclosure.   We even laughed at my bad Boston Marathon with the guide dog joke!  If this is cause for retirement soon, my colleagues need to know.  Neither was particularly alarmed, but took the news in stride.  I was assured that my work will go on for as long as I want or need it to.   There's a full calendar of events to take me through 'til summer, at least.  I see no need to contemplate retiring any time soon, or ever -- for that matter.  Maybe I'll just go from the park to the cemetery (crazy?).

It was after speaking with them that I wondered why I'd not hesitated blogging about it last week.  Was that wise?  Should I have not done so?  Being a public person now, this might be cause for sensationalizing.   Would never have written about it on Facebook, but my blog is my private personal space, and I didn't hesitate for one minute.  This is where I sit in the lamplight in my pajamas and bunny slippers at day's end, and process life.  Family and friends remain my perceived audience, but there's more awareness of others in the mix now, but they remain "virtual."  There's a growing suspicion that my only real audience is myself. 

After thinking it over I decided that to have held the news in secret would be giving it too much power over me.  It just isn't that important, I think, but is a part of a naturally-occurring development in the aging process.  There's surely need to deal with the changes that should be anticipated, but there's time to adjust, learn, and to adapt.

All this is barring accidents, of course, one can never count on having that much control over life.

Decided yesterday after running into our city councilman Vinay Pimplé at a reception -- an
accomplished attorney who has probably dealt with blindness over a lifetime, but who has been active in politics of my city for a number of years.  This raises the possibility that this will simply be a new edge to grow from.   Vinay provides such a great example of positive energy well used.

His woman friend and escort stopped me to say that Vinay would love to hear my talk at the Visitor Center and wished to know my schedule.  We'd never met, though I've been watching his work on the council on the public access channel every Tuesday evening, so he didn't feel like a total stranger to me.

I found myself standing very close; at least close enough to place my hand on his arm.  Intuition was operating at full tilt, and I sensed the need to make physical contact.  He didn't recoil at my touch, so it must have been right.  There must be residual knowings that carry over from life with my sightless father in his final years. 

It could be that -- at this point in life -- I'm being affirmed in so many ways -- that the downside is having a difficult time getting through to me.

I'll settle for that, and prepare for a busy and exciting next few months.

Wait'll you hear!