On the Subject of Children

I ruminate frequently, as I am alone much of the time, and that makes me quite unusual, in the grand scheme of things. Very few women at my stage of life have even a few spare minutes 4 themselves to indulge, sleep or even take a luxurious bath! Or to really cook, assemble complex dishes, of far flung ingredients, travel, or make plans for travel, for yourself, or occasionally, w others too, who r invited as guests. My female friends who r all around me in age, give or take 3 yrs, all of us from 56-60 now, r all mothers and have been or r currently wives, have had children…and this gives me pause.

I HAVE MISSED THAT BOAT IN LIFE. I tried, of course: dating, serious romances, even a one time Black gent who was angling for a coming inheritance, when he cared for my father in a hospital. He was about to take me to buy an engagement ring the next day…but I am alternately cursed w a deliberative nature, that looks at both emotion, plus the logic of the situation, and whether it is a good fit. After all, marriage is a multi-factorial decision, not easily taken into, on a whim, say, wow, I’m in love! That’s it! Let’s get married! Nope, Marsha is very discerning, and knows this is not her way. So that offer went to the scrap heap as well, rather quickly too. As u age, u pick up wisdom, and also knowledge about the big picture that life is. But back to kids…

Some of u know that I offered a close friend an arrangement, that is to be artificially inseminated, when I was but age 36, in the year 2000, still fertile, presumably…and that person was already involved w another person, but was also close to me, as a friend. That friend’s partner was not comfortable w the offer, and it was also scrapped, even tho my close friend and I both wanted to be parents…it was left in the air tonight…in abeyance, indefinitely. I have never forgotten that stance the other person took, even tho I can certainly understand that it would be uncomfortable for a lady friend to be raising a child that was fathered biologically w her boyfriend. An eternal triangle that clearly does not work. Two is company, three’s a crowd, yup. They could go on to have their own child, independent of me. Even tho that is not what ultimately happened. My friend and I both wound up childless, biologically anyway. The lady friend had had a child prior to knowing my close friend.

And I also explored adoption, twice over. Once had an accepted home study even, in search of adopting a girl, out of foster care, from mid child ages to age 12, preferred. But no child materialized that met our criteria at that time. And the 2nd time, post my mother’s passing, the adoption agency felt that I wasn’t in a good situation then, as to taking on another family member. So I was put aside, yet again. And there was always the issue that I did have friends, really good ones even, but not any of them could be a substitute guardian 4 me, in case of my own death…and that would be devastating 4 a child in my care. I would not put anyone in such a pickle, to be delivered up to foster care, and then thrown out on the street at age 18! Nope, that’s not Marsha either. My mom died when I was 50 years old, so it was getting to be too old already, legally, and I had to also evaluate my existing health at that time. U can adopt in NYS up till age 55, but I again was ill at ease, given my iffy health status at that time.

AND SO, I ACCEPTED MY FATE: NO CHILD 4 ME. U need to be a certain type to accept anyone who offers u such an option. I have a lady friend whose only criterion was that he be a Greek man, that’s it, nothing more! And if so, she would bear him a child. And that’s what they did, getting married after the birth was accomplished. Mixed blessings, that one…aging w a teenager at home…and flagging energy. I act as a virtual aunt to all my dear friends’ children, and they r many! Of all my close lady friends, there r a total of 10 children who r honorary nieces/nephews to me. That’s a lot. Especially w regard to needs they all have. I am not however directly obligated for any of them, and there is a certain freedom in that, especially when things go wrong. I can swoop in or out at my own volition. Help from time to time; they r not my direct responsibility. I actually see the downside to parenting, when your kids r growing into adulthood, and r not able to carry their own weight financially, which is increasingly the case these days. And the college fund is either inadequate or nonexistent. How will Junior support him/herself in an increasingly expensive world that demands skills that u don’t graduate high school with? Or go off to college, get into major loan debt, and be completely unable to pay it off after graduation? Increasingly the story for millions of Americans. Nope, no way out of the family house 4 Junior. No money, well, not enough, and the bitch of it is this Generation Z kid is maybe the 1st in American history to be looking at a downwardly mobile standard of living. That is that your parents r going to be richer than u can ever hope to be, on your own. Own a home of your own? Nope, with what kind of salary, and that enormous educational debt? Or that high school diploma, a ticket to nowhere…or marriage going the way of the dodo too, as tomorrow’s generation doesn’t see the value therein, just hitching up, living together, until one of them flies the coop…and the woman is left w the children too, to fend 4 herself and them also, w no paid child care affordable or even available…this is the US of A, right? No funding for paid parental leave, none!

Yup, maybe I dodged a bullet when my time ran out on having a child. Even tho I wanted one, rather badly even. And in memory of my mother, who died on Halloween, she died w two daughters being alive and no children from either of us. She cried long and hard, as did I, for the losses of this life, as I would have been a really good mother, overall, even w my unusual ways of looking at the big picture. I always put the child’s interest first, as I did in caring for my elders, as they aged also. I did what was in their best interests, looking at it logically, even dispassionately. But I also ponder how good a grandmother she would have been, and never given that chance. In Memory of Harriett S and Gerald Newman, my parents. The bloodline ends w me, although one 1st cousin had two children, who continue as the Newman lineage.

And also, in hopes for the lady friends who did bear children, and have yet to see any grandchildren: I hope that day comes 4 u, as I do not wish to see u weep, as my mother did, at the knowledge that there will be no more of your lineage. These r very hard times we r living through, and forces beyond our control r engulfing us, simultaneously. It’s no wonder that the younger generations r disillusioned and somber. They have reason to be. Count yourself lucky if they can make it on their own, even in an apartment somewhere. And not have to ask u 4 money every month. This is increasingly a magic trick that only some few people will get.

The Law of Reciprocity

How is it that I am allowed to be happy, yet being alone much of the time? How is that even possible, given that we r a very social species? Well, I have a unique viewpoint, and varied experiences, and not too much responsibility even, beyond the ordinary things of self-care, household upkeep, functional chaos, doing things for others, commenting on current events, being a trip arranger, or a limited travel agent, a blogger, a photographer of travel, nature lover, a sometime Fairy Godmother (so anointed by Susan & Marna, and given a T-shirt to that effect).

I especially LOVE doing things that change lives tho. That’s the big kahuna 4 me. Like home improvements, getting rid of people who r harmful to my peeps, via divorce, or other means, but no, not murder. Even tho we think of killing our enemies, yet we do not seriously entertain same in reality. Just a little too much of The Sopranos or their ilk peeking through here. Watching this is the not the same as arranging a hit, or killing someone. I am just a sweet little pussycat actually, but be careful, as I have a leashed temper. Or doing good like getting someone out of a toxic household, and establishing her own apartment, pride of ownership, even if it is rented. Hey, when we got out of our parents’ home, what did we do? We rented an apartment, many of us. Our own little piece of the world, our space, our pride at having made the leap. Or we got another friend out of another apartment, so that her young child could mature in more peace, away from an abusive father/husband. Give her a chance of better development, my honorary niece.

I have a list of places I have taken people, over the years that I have been given, many of them “trips of a lifetime.” On this list is repeated trips to Hawaii, several islands even, but more Oahu than any other place. On the islands list: Big Island Hawaii, Kauai, Maui and Oahu; Volcanoes & Haleakala National Parks; Sydney, Australia and vicinity; Rhine River in Europe: the Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland; Italy all over: Rome, Naples, Venice vicinity, Burano, Murano, Tuscany: Castiglione del Lago, Cortona, Florence, small towns, other castles, wineries; Greece: Athens, Corfu, Mykonos, Katakolon, Oía, Santorini, Heraklion, Crete, Rhodes; Croatia: Split & Dubrovnik; Spain: Salamanca, Madrid, Segovia, Toledo, Barcelona, Valladolid; United Kingdom: just London & Windsor; Monaco: Monte Carlo; France: Paris, Colmar, Obernai, Strasbourg, Marseilles; Germany: Cologne, Heidelberg, Mannheim, Speyer, Black Forest, Koblenz; Switzerland: Basel, Lucerne, Einsiedeln, Schwyz; Netherlands: Amsterdam, Kinderdijk; Israel: Jerusalem, Haifa, holy sites of Judeo/Christian belief; Vatican City: all of it, including historical sites therein; within the beautiful, vast USA: Martha’s Vineyard, Provincetown MA, Boston, North Adams, Chicago, New Orleans, LA, Dallas, TX, Charlotte, NC, Seattle, WA; Mt Rainier National Park; Issaquah, Snoqualmie, WA; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Victoria, B.C, Canada; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada; Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Walt Disney World, Miami, Key West, drove the Keys of FL; Ft. Lauderdale & towns thereof; Kissimmee; Boynton Beach, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando; Los Angeles, San Francisco, Carmel Mission, Monterey Bay, San Diego, Muir Woods National Park, Sausalito, Laguna Beach, Anaheim; (Walt) Disneyland; Atlanta, Vicinity of Pooler GA; Richmond, VA; Washington DC; Columbia, MD, Annapolis, Baltimore; Las Vegas many times; Phoenix & Mesa Arizona; Alaska: Skagway, Juneau, Hoonah/Icy Strait Point, Seward, Anchorage, Hubbard Glacier, Mendenhall Glacier; Ketchikan; NJ: whole state pretty much: Paramus, Cherry Grove, Atlantic City, West Orange, East Rutherford, Parsippany, Clifton, Jersey City, Freehold; NY whole state too: Albany, Buffalo, Binghamton, Ithaca, Rochester, Syracuse, Garden City, the Hamptons, Montauk, Dix Hills, Niagara Falls, Jamestown, Utica, Wappingers Falls, Fishkill & Poughkeepsie, Whaley Lake, South Salem, Mineola, Massapequa Park; Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Allentown, Warren, the areas of the Amish & Mennonites, Lancaster, Hershey; CT: New Canaan, Bridgeport, New Haven, Uncasville, Ledyard, Stamford, Greenwich; Vermont, Maine: Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park; Mexico: Cancun, Ensenada, Limones, Costa Maya, Chichen Itza; the Caribbean: Aruba, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana; Curacao, US Virgin Islands: St Thomas: Charlotte-Amalie; Honduras, Belize; Cyprus; and last new one: Iceland! Iceland ports: Reykjavik, Isafjördur, Akureyri, Seydisfjördur. Truly incredible experiences all, and so lovely. But the love is what makes it all worthwhile. And on the menu for next year as well, to escape the winter some, and to journey onward & upward…always planning, both solo and also w friends.

And then there r the days that make u weep also. In the midst of happiness comes sorrow. A dog dies. A parent dies. A sibling dies. Damage due to mudflows, earthquakes, tidal waves, flash flooding basements under water, cars floating away on rivers that were streets…illness, disability, death. Always death. No one gets out alive. But it’s all in your viewpoint too: is it merely a door to walk through, to enter a new life that is free of turmoil? Is it a veritable Heaven? Or did u contribute to making this imperfect life Hell 4 others? I hold on to Karma as a teaching, insofar as God is just, and I personally know He exists, for He has revealed Himself to me, His lowly servant. I fantasize super powers like the fictional Vulcans have on Star Trek series: that would it be so that I could mind meld w other humans, to get them into my brain, and to thereby prove that God does indeed exist! Because I met the Lord at the holy site in Jerusalem, at The Wailing Wall, where I wept, knowing how unworthy I was to have that experience of being in the Light and Very Presence of God, even tho I was stained by sin. I brought mementos of others there, as a pilgrimage, pictures of those who left us before in this life…and words of prayer. It was the greatest moment of my life on Earth, and I hunger to go back there. But I will do as the Lord wills me to, for I imitate His servant Queen, the Virgin Mary, who also pledged obedience to Him.

And so, it goes on, and I see the infirmities creeping up in my bones and joints, and I rejoice, that I am nearing that stage of senescence, of passing from this life, in peace, even strangely grateful that I have not borne children, even tho very much wanted, it was a paradox of my life…to both want, and yet not want, because the coming Apocalypse is going to be awful, and I will not have a direct descendent in it, yet I also weep for those who will. I weep for the young ones, as we enter this maelstrom of calamities, growing worse even now, and even still, foolish Humanity does nothing to stop or even slow it! We know what’s happening, even as it engulfs us, right in the present day! And yet, people choose death, by not getting vaccinated, by not caring about the climate catastrophe, by voting for those who condemn us to a swifter, more horrible future, for failure to have leadership and vision. Ye shall reap what ye have sown. And I have my little patch of real estate at Woodlawn Cemetery, awaiting my arrival, some day…beside my beloved mother, now gone 7 years ago this month.

And so, if we live by God’s will, so shall we die in it too. I have no fear about that. I have been a force for goodness and light in this world, and am satisfied w that simple fate. May u also be so delivered, my loving friends and readers, in a kind of fabled Rapture. Spread your wings and fly freely, in sunlight that does not burn, and refresh in clear lakes of streaming water, cool, to wash away iniquity. And be free to make good choices, for yourselves and others. This is the goal. That which u give out, u will also receive, usually in multiples.

Meaningful Ancient Giants Among Us

These people r all aged 83 and up, as of today, 10/4/2021. I had one name on my own list that has died, and I did not know. That was Neil Simon, at age 91, 7/4/1927-8/26/2018. The rest of this list is still living.

Celebrities Date of Birth Current Age

  1. William Shatner 3/22/1931 90
  2. George Takei 4/20/1937 84
  3. Nichelle Nichols 12/28/1932 88 (Died on 7/30/2022)
  4. Walter Koenig 9/14/1936 85
  5. Jane Goodall 4/3/1934 87
  6. Sir David Attenborough 5/8/1926 95
  7. Mel Brooks 6/28/1926 95
  8. Bob Newhart 9/5/1929 92
  9. Jimmy Carter 10/1/1924 97
  10. Tony Bennett 8/3/1926 95
  11. Dick Van Dyke 12/13/1925 95
  12. Dame Julie Andrews 10/1/1935 86
  13. Clint Eastwood 5/31/1930 91
  14. Jack Nicholson 4/22/1937 84
  15. Sir Anthony Hopkins 12/31/1937 83
  16. Dame Angela Lansbury 10/16/1925 95 (died on 10/11/2022)
  17. Queen Elizabeth II 4/21/1926 95 (Died on 9/8/2022)
  18. Giant Sequoia Trees ! 1000’s of Years Old
  19. Burt Bacharach 5/12/1928 93
  20. Estelle Harris 4/4/1928 93 (died on 4/2/2022)
  21. Harry Belafonte 5/1/1927 94
  22. Sir Sidney Poitier 2/20/1927 94 (reported dead on 1/7/2022)
  23. Eva Marie Saint 7/4/1924 97
  24. Bob Barker 12/12/1923 97
  25. Norman Lear 7/27/1922 99
  26. Betty White 1/17/1922 99 (died on 12/31/2021)
  27. Marsha Hunt 10/17/1917 103 (died on 9/7/2022)
  28. Stephen Sondheim 3/22/1930 91 (died on 11/26/2021)
  29. Carol Burnett 4/26/1933 88
  30. Woody Allen 12/1/1935 85
  31. Louise Fletcher 7/22/1934 87 (died on 9/23/2022)
  32. Ellen Burstyn 12/7/1932 88
  33. Dame Joan Collins 5/23/1933 88
  34. Diana Muldaur 8/19/1938 83
  35. Edward O. Wilson 6/10/1929 92 (died on 12/26/2021)
  36. James Lovelock 7/26/1919 102 (died on 7/26/2022)
  37. Rita Moreno 12/11/1931 89
  38. Hector Elizondo 12/22/1936 84
  39. David McCallum 9/19/1933 88
  40. Dame Judi(th) O. Dench 12/9/1934 86
  41. Donald Sutherland 7/17/1935 86
  42. Alan Alda 1/28/1936 85
  43. James Darren 6/8/1936 85
  44. Jerry Hardin 11/20/1929 91
  45. Morgan Freeman 6/1/1937 84
  46. Robert Redford 8/18/1936 85
  47. Jane Fonda 12/21/1937 83
  48. Richard Beymer 2/20/1938 83
  49. Warren Beatty 3/30/1937 84
  50. Shirley MacLaine 4/24/1934 87
  51. Joel Gray 4/11/1932 89
  52. Nehemiah Persoff 8/2/1919 102 (died on 4/5/2022)
  53. James Earl Jones 1/17/1931 90
  54. Marion Ross 10/25/1928 92
  55. Barbara Eden 8/23/1931 90
  56. Sir Michael Caine 3/14/1933 88

And that’s an American slanted list, if there ever was one. But I write what I know, and this is my own list of who’s significant to me, who has managed to withstand the COVID Plague, and keep on trucking…I deliberately left out worthy contenders for the list, because they r not yet aged 83 or up. I have many such names to add in the years to come, but this is just a snapshot of a day in time, linear.