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, January 24, 2015

It's Confession Time!



Today’s confessions will be public. Out in the open. No hiding behind a screen hoping the priest fell asleep and didn’t hear a word I said. No confessing to a loved one who’d forgive me no matter what secrets I reveal. But confess I will do.

When I was young I had very little of value to confess. I followed (and still follow) the rules of life but what I did do wrong---like smoke my first and only cigarette on a senior high trip to the beach---I told it to my diary. That was back in an era when we practically wrote with ink pots and quills. Don’t I wish! That would make me born before 1822, before mass produced metal pens were invented, and if I was that old I’d be famous. I’d also have lousy penmanship because writing left-handed was not tolerated in pot and quill days. By the way the secret is out of the bag, it’s just an urban myth that right-handed people used quills made from the right wings of birds, and left-handed people bought quills made from the left wings. Quills were sold by barrel length only with no consideration given to their curvature. Someday I’ll still remember that trivia but I’ll forget who our current president is, a fatal no-no on the senility quiz.

Okay, confession number one---or is this two? Are we counting the smoking thing? Anyway my next confession is I’ve always wanted to be famous. Not so much in this life time, but I wanted my name in the history books and short of falling on my head and getting back up with a savant-like transformation into the likes of Albert Einstein, me getting into the history books is not likely to happen between now and the grave. One of my colonial ancestors had that happen in reverse. He was smart enough that he shoulda, coulda, woulda been one of the signers of the Declarations of Independence but he got beaten up for his “radical politics” against the British and was severely brain damaged. Why couldn’t his diaries have been passed down to me? I’ll bet he confessed to significantly more important things than smoking a cigarette. Actually, I have read some of his words in a history book. I often wonder if guys like him knew their personal journals would get quoted as footnotes in the Chronicles of History. Sometimes we need the distance of time to recognize our defining moments. That’s true for people and nations alike. One man’s act of courage is another man’s act of rebellion and only the outcome and time can be the final judge. In our lifetime, think Martin Luther King. 

Confession number whatever: The only thing I ever shoplifted I did when I was ten or eleven and it was a cross make out of mother-of-pearl shell. My elder self finds it quite odd that I stole a cross, the symbol of Christ dying for our sins. What on earth was I thinking when I walked into Woolworth’s Dime Store and walked out with that cross tucked in my pocket? I can still visualize that basket of tiny, iridescent crosses piled high, a 10¢ each sign attached. I still have the fruits of my criminal behavior. And it still reminds me that small wrongs can turn into big regrets. Where is a priest when you need one? I want to know if stealing a cross is a worse sin than stealing a loaf of Wonder Bread to feed your family or stealing a pack of Black Jack just because you’re a kid with no impulse control who likes that licorice and aniseed flavored chewing gum? One time not too long before Don had his stroke, we went into a confectionery store and found that Black Jack had returned to the market with a limited edition. You would have thought he found the Hope Diamond. He bought every pack of gum the guy had---three boxes of however many came in a case, I’m guessing 50---and Don had a wonderful time handing them out to anyone and everyone who was old enough to have chewed it as a kid. He was quirky that way about anything nostalgic.  

Side note here: I couldn’t spell nostalgia and the closest I got was ‘nastalia’ which I let Spell Check have a crack at and it came up with five choices, not a single one close. I put ‘nastalia’ into my Franklin Language Master 3000 and out popped the word I wanted. I guess if this side note has a point it would be that I don’t need to confess that I’m a terrible speller. I struggle with and bellyache about spelling often enough, but it was a secret I hid until recent decades---and I guess I still should hide it. Recently, I was at a shower and they handed out slips of paper, asking everyone to write down some advice to the bride. I couldn’t do it! I couldn’t write a simple note without my Franklin! The relative sitting next to me was aghast when a torn the slip of paper up and refused another. “But you write all the time!” she said and I replied, “I do but I can’t spell without a dictionary.” The look on her face and the words that spilled out of her mouth next made me feel two inches high, like I’d just confessed to a sin worth seeking out the nearest confessional. Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I’ve never been to confession before but I just found out that I’ve been a naughty fraud, flimflamming people into thinking I could write. Oh my! 

Back on topic: Do you believe in death bed confessions?  I have a few things in my history that I haven’t told to a single soul, not even to Don. Not even to a diary. I didn’t break any of the Ten Commandments with my untold secrets, I’m not worried about my soul burning in hell. But the older we get the more I imagine everyone would like to clear the secrets out of our heads as we’re bowing out of life, give them to someone else who’d probably say, "What the hell am I supposed to do with that?” and we’d reply---if we’re still breathing---“What I should have done, take it to the grave.” ©

20 comments:

  1. We all have secrets. Every last one of us. I say give them to someone else too. We shouldn't pack them for our last trip.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I agree, well, no I don't. Oh, I'm so confused! LOL

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  2. I cannot spell eitherm and I have a terrible time with hyphens.

    This post breaks all sorts of thoughts and memories out of the old chest. I stole twice: a small change purse for my mother for Mother's Day when I was about nine or ten-years-old and a 10¢ bag of peanuts when I was very young. I was so distraught over the change purse that I confessed to my mother. That's when I realized I had a very active conscience and never stole anything again.

    "Sometimes we need the distance of time to recognize our defining moments." Isn't that the truth. Perspective only comes with distance.

    How neat that you have a famous relative. That would be a real kick. I'm sure if I have a famous relative it's because he was hanged for being a notorious horse thief. That's probably where I got my penchant for thievery. :)

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    1. I remember a cousin of mine stealing a candy bar from a store and his mother walked him back to the store to apologize. The store owner had him sweep the floor (probably at his mother's suggestion). They didn't have much money to pay for extras.

      I had a few notorious ancestors too. One got in serious trouble in the Colonies for selling cider without the court's prior approval. I think I have a more recent ancestor who didn't get divorced from his first wife before marrying his second, too. LOL

      If I look up the same word 2-3 times it goes on my LIST. I have a whole type written list that fills four columns on a sheet of typing paper. I want to try one of those spelling programs where you speak the word into it. But I suspect half my spelling issues come from not saying them right, so I don't know if that prgram will work or not.

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  3. A few things I think I learned from this post are that you are left-handed and a bad speller. A few weeks ago you made mention of processing difficulties in your thinking. All this is very interesting to me because I, too, am left-handed, and let's just say that for most of my life I have been made to feel that I have a different way of thinking. I do believe that many left-handed people have a different way of processing information and that is why so many left-handed people have reading difficulties. The issues can be seen in subtle differences like spelling and writing. What I wouldn't do, if I was in your position, is be embarrassed by spelling and tear a piece of paper with errors. But that is easier said than done, especially from someone who has felt ignorant amongst knowledgeable people!!
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. Growing up, I was mild dyslexia in a time when they didn't have a name for it. I outgrew and/or learned a lot of work-arounds by the time I was in my 40s. Plus, as you've mentioned, being left-handed does comes with the "gifts" of being more creative, more visual and in a more holistic thinking mode. I've never heard that before about left-handed people having more reading difficulties but it doesn't surprise me. I'll have to ask my niece. She's had years of training in the field of learning disabilities and teaching reading.

      We all have something that embarrasses us and we all have issues we've carried forward from childhood. With me, I don't think I'll ever get over being embarrassed by my first drafts when I try to write in public.

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  4. Perfect spelling is where there is online spell check! If we remember to turn that feature on in our search engine. I think I need to turn on grammar check as well!

    I spent 18 years being Catholic. Forgive me, Father ....

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    1. I have spell check on only to alert me to miss-spelled words but it rarely ever helps me with finding the right word. Great for typos but apparently I misspelling is too far off for it. That's why I have to go back to my 1988 Franklin. The newer Franklin's don't even work that well. I have one of those, too.

      I was never a Catholic but my entire family was/still is on my dad's side and my best friend growing up was too. I've heard the lingo. LOL

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  5. You said you never broke one of the Ten Commandants? What about the pretty cross? "Thous shalt not steal!"

    In my lifetime I have broken a couple or four of the Ten Commandants and a few of the Seven Deadly Sins. I have never been to confession--I just told God and asked for forgiveness. Which actually seems kind of strange--to confess to God that is--when He sees all? Well, "confession is good for the soul". I'm just hoping when I get to the Judgment Bench, "they" don't bring up all my past sins and ask me to explain each and every one. YIKES!

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    1. I said I didn't break any of the Ten Commandants with my remaining secrets, the ones I've never told anyone or ever written about.

      That would be an interesting blog should you ever decide to explain your sins. Might be good to be prepared for that Judgment Day by running them by your blogging friends first. LOL

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    2. HAH! Not on your Life, Buoy!

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  6. When I was ten we all had to steal something, I took denture adhesive and brought it out of the store and tossed it into the trash can. That's it. I was in the club!

    I honestly don't think I have a secret, something that no one but me knows. I just have a big mouth!

    smiles, bee
    xoxo

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    1. I can believe that you don't have any secrets. You're so warm and open.

      Yesterday I was in the grocery store and saw a woman take two bananas and give them from her kids to eat. I thought to myself that one day she'll get a call that her kid was caught shoplifting and she'll have herself to blame.

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  7. So many confessions! They make you even more interesting, actually increasing the impact you make. Clay Feet Anonymous is the group we're members of here.

    I'm so sorry that your distant relative got his head bashed in for speaking his mind. I'm assuming he's cogent now, wherever he is, and grinning at his odd left-handed relative for lusting after a cross when she was a mere ten years old. Would he be proud he passed on his stubbornly independent and moral gene to her?

    Ask him when you get a chance!

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    1. Actually, it's another, female ancestor that every girl in my family aspires to be like. She was one strong and intelligent woman who set the bar high for all of us.

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  8. Well, maybe not ink pot and quill, but when I was in elementary school, we had desks with "ink wells" (little jars that sat in a hole in the top of the desk) and wooden pens with replaceable metal nibs. You dipped the nib into the open ink well on your desk and wrote with it. When the nib wore out, you replaced it with a new one. Of course, giving a bunch of little kids open containers of ink on their desks was an invitation to mischief and disaster. I had my long braids dipped in ink by the kid sitting behind me more than once, and I can remember at least one embarrassing disaster when I was refilling my ink well from the big bottle of ink kept at the back of the classroom. I can't figure out why our teachers were resistant to letting us use fountain pens instead, which eventually happened when I was in 5th or 6th grade; you'd think they would have been begging for those fountain pens!

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    1. What a neat memory and I share the same one. We had those ink wells in my school days, too, and the boy who sat behind me all the way through school dipped my braid in the ink more than one as well. When I was a lot older I just had to own one of those ink wells and searched high and low until I found one, still have it today. Thanks!

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  9. Such a wonderful, thought provoking post! My daughter and several relatives are left-handed and they tend to be very artistic and creative--I can remember WANTING to be left-handed as a child! :-)

    As far as confessions go, oh my goodness, I would have to write a book! Ha!

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    1. Mimi, thanks for the comment! I've never run across anyone who wanted to be left-handed. That is so cool.

      If you write that book you could call it 50 Ways to Sin. LOL

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