Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, Widow Style

 

I’m having a hard time deciding if I have anything left to say that hasn’t been said in a million different ways about the topics I usually write about. I need a new life! Either that or I need to start making stuff up…like fictitious trips to the Amazon---the river not the online store. I’ve been to Amazon.com more times than I care to admit and while I enjoy shopping there no one cares where I get my books and finger puppets. Note to my heirs: those plush little puppets would make great places to hide things. Be sure to check the panda’s butt when I die.

I’m a widow. Yup, I’ve covered that topic to the point of nauseam. Growing older? Get out the airsick bags, that’s another topic that is probably wearing out its welcome. Writing about the senior hall. Another ho-hum, repetitively and boring topic. The Red Hat Society. Ditto. The dog…well, I could write about him until the cows come home but few people really care about stuff like how cute he is when he stands on his back legs peering over the picket fence. “Yes, Levi, I think the grass really is greener over there.”

Today I looked a word up online to be sure I was using it right and underneath the definition was a question asking me why I looked up the word and where I first saw it. Next to the reply line was a pre-checked box that would automatically post my reply on Facebook. Really? Has the world gotten to the point where we think our friends and family actually care what words we look up in a dictionary? Obviously, the person who came up with the question and his/her superior who okayed using it on the dictionary site thought people would be utterly fascinating by the fact that the widow Jean in Michigan couldn’t define ‘chicanery’ without looking it up. Wow. That anonymous question writer needs a new life more than I do! But the question did get me to thinking about one thing: where DO we draw the line between protecting our privacy and over-sharing? I’m beginning to think future generations won’t even know there is a line. “Facebook friends, I just mistakenly put hand lotion on my legs. Should I wash it off and use body lotion?” “Facebook friends, I just saw the clock display 3-3-3!” “Facebook friends, I just peed.”

Yesterday I went to a fish fry with 30 people from the senior hall. We went to a private club where my husband had been a member for over 25 years. They open the fish fries up to the public to make money and I’d gone to those lunches twice a month for 10 years when Don was alive. After he passed away I could have remained an axillary member but I let the dues lapse. You can only be a full member if you’re male and someone has to die before a guy can move up on the waiting list to become a member. Axillary members are current wives and widows only---with your spouse’s approval. If a guy gets divorced, his X can no longer pass through the doors. I know, sexism is still alive in the big city! I accepted this without a second thought until yesterday when the young director of the senior hall started asking me questions about membership requirements and the rumors she’d heard and she was aghast at its structure.  

My husband loved the place after his stroke because it's always crowded and gave him lots of opportunities to run into people from his past. After he died, it was just a place to feel lonely in a crowd for me. Going with the senior group, though, was different. The gods of irony had me sitting next to a woman I’d seen around the senior hall but had never talked to and come to find out she and my husband rode the school bus together. We swapped stories of the “good old days” as if I, too, had been a member of their class. I’d heard the hell raiser stories so often I can retell them at will---stuff like someone putting a dead skulk in the school’s ventilation system, someone stealing the flasher light off the town’s only police car, and someone turning the town’s highway sign into a swear word. If there had been a Facebook back in those days we wouldn’t have had to wait fifty years to find out who did what. My table mate kept saying, “It’s a small world, it’s a small world!” because of our chance encounter but I choose to believe Don had a hand in picking out my chair at the club’s Friday fish fry. But then again, when you take the time to talk to people, more often than not the six degrees of Kevin Bacon concept does hold up. You just gotta know the right questions to ask. ©

8 comments:

  1. The Six Degrees always gets me when it happens. Spooks me out, but--I like it. Glad you went--so glad you met the lady. Sure sounds like the school/small town I grew up in and the stuff that went on.

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    1. If stuff like that went on in my big city school, I never knew about it and, yes, my husband did go to a small town school. If the kids today did stuff like they did they'd be in reform school. Instead, when they got caught, they had to work in the cemetery or the school. But they all grew up to be good citizens.

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  2. I wonder that, too - having anything left to say. Is all the air out of the balloon? Are we self absorbed windbags?

    What's your intuition telling you? IMHO, you are not singing the same tune you were last year, though I guess some your cast of characters remain the same. I personally read your posts, less because I'm entertained by your doings, and more because I glimpse an unconventional nature transforming herself into being fully solo, fully herself by sheer will and wit. That, to me, is not self absorbed; it is admirable.

    Is the work - reward ratio enough for you here on your blog? If it is, carry on!

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    1. Oh, I always have things to say but I wonder lately if I shouldn't go back to private blogging instead of public because I ramble write more often than I write with a purpose and a point to my posts. It's the internal dialogue that I've putting down in writing since my first diary at age ten.

      It's funny you should mention 'transforming myself into being fully solo' because just this afternoon I was thinking about how this is it, I will be living alone for the rest of my life because I'm not going to let anyone in (to my heart). Despite being lonely at times I like living alone. Of course, ask me tomorrow and I might say the exact opposite. LOL

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    2. I feel the same way about my blog, but, being a writer, I need somewhere to put down my thoughts. and BTW--I too am now enjoying living alone and have NO desire to ever have another man in my life. When you've had the best, why would you want to try any of the rest?

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    3. That's one of my reasons, too, Judy. In addition men are too much trouble---to figure out their quirks and baggage.

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  3. I, too, am seeing all sorts of developments. These are not the same ole' stories. They are different each time.

    And dog stories are not boring! Mary Oliver's has a book of poems that's full of nothing but dog poems. Or Konrad Lorenz' Man Meets Dog. Or Travels with Charlie.....

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    1. Thank you, Fichereader. Sometimes I can't see the forest through the trees.

      "Travels with Charlie" is my favorite travel book. I used to read it at the beginning of all our trips as a reminder to slow down and take in the local color....not that my husband needed reminding. He was all about finding local color on vacations. I'm going to look up Olover's book. I'm not sure I ever read a poem about a dog...at least not in adulthood.

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