Yesterday, I sent copies of the family photos in my blog post 9/7 to my sister and two cousins. My cousin Susie wrote back “You made my day. My Mom (Rita) looks like me when I was her age. I’m going to print these out as soon as I get home from work.” (Susie is 72 , lives alone, and works with “old Folks” in a nursing home in Chicago.)
On the other hand, my sister in Louisiana wrote back “Who are these people?” My sister, age 68, suffers from many health disorders including a childhood disability and neuropathy associated with the chemo she had for cancer a few years back. (Is the cure sometimes worse than the disease?) These days, she lives with one of her sons.
The different responses remind me that aging is different for different people and that most of the time, the people involved with aging are women. The fact that my 83-year old husband is still in relatively good health is a miracle. David drank like a fish until he was 50 years of age. He would kill me if he knew I said it, but he is in great shape, for a man of his years.
Yesterday, I was reminded of David’s health when I was scanning some of the hundreds of photos I took in Wisconsin over the years. There is David in his white tennis togs, looking adorable. Meanwhile, I am getting fatter and fatter. I eat like a bird, he wolfs down whatever he wants. I have to work on my health every day of every hour. What a bore. That’s me standing with my sister at the edge of Lake Michigan in Dorr County. These photos are about 10 years old. The really disgusting thing is that David is 12 years older than me and I don’t look like that slim now I have reached his age.
One of the things I have discovered as I have scanned all these old negatives, is that I once had a beautiful perennial garden. That was before the trees next door and next door (both sides of the yard) shaded all the perennials and they died. These days, I have been converting my beds to shade plants, which are not nearly as colorful. Below are some shots of my garden around the middle 1980s.
I love a yellow and blue palette best. But I can’t get those colors today, except in my front border bed.
Now days in the back beds, we grow Hosta Lillies, Helleborus, the tall variety of Solomon’s seal, shade loving ferns, Brunnera (blue perennial forget me nots), white-flowered Japanese Anemone, Creeping Woodruff and low shrubs like Skimmia. When Seth comes to work on the yard at the end of the month, He is to install 7 new female Skimmia shrubs. The birds are mad about the red berries. I can get lots of blue and white flowers in my spring beds, but the yellow flowers prefer the sun. Except for the daffodils. Yesterday, I ordered about 100 yellow and white daffodil bulbs of the miniature variety. They will come up with the blue Scilla in the Spring before the walnut tree leafs out.