“I Am Not Old”I am not old.. she said
I am rare.I am the standing ovation…
At the end of the play.I am the retrospective
Of my life as artI am the hours
Connected like dots
Into good senseI am the fullness
Of existing.You think I am waiting to die..
But I am waiting to be found
I am a treasure.
I am a map.
And these wrinkles are
Imprints of my journey
Ask me anything.
~ Samantha Reynolds
When I read this poem this evening, I was reminded of the elder women who have graced my life. I toast them; raising a glass of sparkling cider. To my maternal grandmother Henrietta whom I dubbed Giggie since I couldn’t pronounce anything remotely sounding like grandmom and the name stuck, who was like a third parent to me and for whom my mother grieved in one way or another and strove to emulate. I wear her pinkie ring that she gave to my mother and my mother passed on to me before she herself passed on. It feels as if I am wearing the love of two generations on my hand.
To my paternal grandmother Rebecca a.k.a – Bubbe who crossed the ocean from Russia to America and lived in South Philadelphia all of her adult life until she moved in with us. I remember her watching her soap operas and talking to the characters in her Yiddish accented voice saying “You never listen to me. Don’t go vit him. He’s a bad guy!”
I honor my aunts Edith and Kate, from whom I learned resilience and creativity. Aunt Ede died at 103 after living solo until she was 92. She was an artist; think Grandma Moses who began painting likely in her 50’s. Aunt Katie was a playful child in the body of a responsible adult who ran a corner store after her husband died and once hopped a bus, unbeknownst to her son (my cousin Sid) and came to our house. When he called my mother to see if she had heard from her, was told that she was sitting on the kitchen floor playing jacks with my sister and me.
My mother Selma was a nurturing Force of Nature who was the ‘broad shoulders’ on which she encouraged others to lean. She gathered around her friends and fans who adored her, although she didn’t see it. She perceived herself as being shy, although I didn’t see that. She saw herself as ‘Moish’s wife and Edie and Jan’s mom.’ She was far more than that. She was intelligent, creative, resourceful; a friend and welcoming presence to all her crossed her path. I never heard an ill word spoken about her. Three years after her death, she remains my guardian angel.
I honor Yvonne Kaye who has been my friend and mentor for 25 years, whose reminder that “Discipline is freedom,” keeps me on my toes as I live my life full out, now that I have structure in it. She has been a solid cheerleader for my achievements and encourages me never to settle for less than my heart’s desires. She is a role model for ‘ripening’ which is her word for aging.
I am grateful for Hannelore Goodwin who I have known since 2001 and who doesn’t let me or anyone else play small. She was my Reiki Master who told me “Never let your Reiki hands go to waste.” Her grace and humor in the face of life challenges is inspiring.
I am amazed by Denny Daikeler whose magnificence on the dance floor, which could be any surface, astounds me. She is life energy in flow, grace in action.
To all of these ‘rare women’….I love you and bless you for blessing my life~