By Rosalie Tirella
I am 59 1/2 years old. OLD. A proud member of the Old Farts Club. The Old Timers Brigade. The Wiser Than Most (or Many) Circle of ❤💜💚💙LOVE❤❤. Yes! John Lennon was right! “Love is the answer/and you know that for sure.”
Achy in the a.m., getting up in the middle of the night to pee … and pee again … looking at my jowls in the mirror and deciding to live with them … slathering petroleum jelly on my elbows and knees to make them soft …mulling over this tidbit from my ob-gyn doc: “Your ovaries used to be the size of walnuts – now they’re the size of peas.”
Missing the movies I came of age with! Hungry for their sharp-elbowed energy and starry-eyed idealism! Mine, too. I am pretty cynical these days, fearing for the planet and all her animals! This week I am gonna rewatch EASY RIDER …
… but also love SHAMPOO, THE GODFATHER, TAXI DRIVER, THE LAST WALTZ, GO ASK ALICE.
Go ask Rose! I know a lot now! Oodles of wisdom shooting out of my fingertips, the snub of my nose, the ends of my crooked toes. My body closes in upon itself … Wish I was 30 again – with my wisdom carried in my change purse, like clinking dimes and pennies! Half my age – a life time ago! But you can never go back in time …
Like most of my older gal pals I talk with over the phone or hang out (we are “older” and are more hands-on than our sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and grandkids, the Instagram/Snapchat crowd), I wake up wicked early. I mean really early. Like 5 a.m! We all do! Sometimes one of my gal pals texts me at 4:30 a.m! I text her back! How funny! I used to relish sleeping late as a kid, my mom yelling from our Green Island kitchen into my bedroom: STOP HUGGING THE PILLOW, Rosalie! Time for school!
Now I’m up with the frogs, moles and feisty English sparrows. While it’s still pitch black. I walk into my kitchen and pull open the kitchen window drapery and look for the moon … and am amazed at its beauty. Why didn’t I appreciate its eerie loveliness decades ago? Is it because in a decade or two I will be saying “Goodbye” to it? Twenty years goes by in a wink – I’ve had InCity Times for 20 years. Feels like seven. Eight tops.
Sometimes, I watch the sun rise. By slivers, wisps of orange across the dark grey eastern horizon. It’s a quickie deal – quicker than you’d think. A few minutes and it’s over! Like me! Like every living thing! I feel GRATEFUL. Another day of life! I walk to my dining room and clean up after my two pups (paper-trained by the dining room table) and pour myself a big glass of water and give Jett and Lilac a few Milk Bones. Still grateful, I start working on CECELIA. Sometimes I will go back to bed and listen to a news podcast, Michael Moore, Ezra Klein. Sometimes I will start cooking breakfast, from scratch!:
This was my late mom’s routine: Up at 5 a.m. for years and years. On Lafayette Street decades ago, before my kid sisters and I were up for high school or our peripatetic Daddy had roused himself from his apnea-tinged sleep – eating breakfast with Ma before he took off for the day to do who knew what, go who knew where.
I see my pretty and sweet mother grabbing the big box of Corn Flakes from the table and gingerly pouring the flakes into Daddy’s chipped cereal bowl. She sprinkles granulated sugar from the sugar bowl on them. She has cut Daddy’s orange in quarters and placed it on a pretty saucer. She has poured the milk into his fresh cup of coffee, Maxwell House. One teaspoon of sugar added, just like he likes it. Daddy couldn’t care less, of course. He’s a wild heart; we have all lowered our expectations. Except our Polish immigrant grandmother, Bapy, who sometimes throws her hard boiled egg sandwich at Daddy out of pure ill will. She knows exactly what he is. But sometimes I hear my parents talking and laughing over their Wonder Bread toast and orange juice, made from “concentrate,” in a can, mixed in with a half gallon of tap water by Ma in the big white porcelain pitcher I love so much. I love to sit at our ugly green kitchen table and watch Ma make a new batch of orange juice – it smells so good – so orangey! Daddy is giggling now! Ma is laughing that husky sexy laugh of hers. She’s wearing her black negligee. No robe …
I am glad I am facing old age alone – not with a man like my late father, no matter how good looking or sexy. I don’t hate my father any more. That’s part of getting old, too: the pain of youth and middle age fades through the years, and you see the other’s “story.” My father’s was a rough one …
And so I give that extra treat to Jett, off my breakfast plate. What the heck.
He’s old, too. 13 1/2 years old. Jett’s got a benign cancer on his flank. We are both overweight. But that’s OK. We will try to walk off our winter flab in the afternoon sun during our walks and my pups’ runs in the dog park. We will chase each other around in the snow, me and Jett, me laughing, Jett “smiling” that Husky grin of his.