Saturday, February 28, 2009


Falling away is the expression that Diana Athill, author of "Somewhere Towards The End", uses to describe her experience of growing old. She writes "There is not much on record about falling away. Being well advanced in that process...I say to myself, 'Why not have a go at it?' "

I finished reading the book. I cannot hope to emulate it, her experience is hers and mine is mine, her life history and mine are miles apart, her talent for writing far exceeds mine, but perhaps there is some value in sharing what I discover. So my blog will be my attempt at having "a go at it."

Yesterday I was walking through the aisles of my local grocery store. I was dressed very casually thinking I could get away with it since I was wearing a down coat. However it was warm in the store and I had unzipped it. The sweatshirt I was wearing was partially visible. I stopped to open the freezer door when a man diverted my attention by asking me what my sweatshirt said. I was startled but he was quite old and I had seen him earlier, a couple of aisles over, walking slowly with his wife. My sweatshirt announced the latest ad for the Army. He asked me who had served and I told him "my husband, my son and several grandchildren." He beamed and announced that he had "been in the big one." And I replied, "World War II." I told him that my father had fought in Italy until wounded. He then launched into his war story and I listened until his wife had finished her shopping and wanted to be escorted to the next aisle. He was so anxious to recount his experience and have an opportunity to talk to someone who was familiar with his jargon.

I knew why. My experience of spending fifty years on "active duty" as a dependent is still very much with me. I am still the mother of a son and grandmother to a granddaughter and two grandsons and two grandsons-in-law who are serving or have served. Now, I am separated from the life I once knew and I miss it. I miss it and am drawn to it--even by a sweatshirt.

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