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, November 11, 2017

Laughing, Over Sharing and Passing the Baton


 

Six days under my belt this week and three of them were spent in Nirvana and two more days spent basking in its afterglow starting out on Monday when we Gathering Girls got together for bunch. We laughed so loud and often that I thought we’d get kicked out of the Guy-Land Cafeteria. In a study done at Stanford University Medical School they established that the average adult laughs seventeen times a day and I’m not over stating the truth when I say that we Gathering Girls got our quota of laughter in over our eggs, bacon and pancake specials. I read another article recently in Psychology Today that said, “Both sexes laugh a lot but females laugh more---126 percent more than their male counterparts.” I don’t know how they go about measuring a thing like that but I can say I’ve never seen a table full of guys having as much fun as we do.

Wednesday a guy I’ve known for nearly a half century and I met for lunch at a tavern in my adopted home town. I don’t drink except for hard cider. They don’t serve it but they have the best white fish bar none in between here and the east coast. When the waitress first came to the table I told her, “Separate checks. We just met on internet and this is our first date.” (I was a silly mood.) Her face lit up the way only a young person’s face can do when they love their grandparents and they think we old people are “cute” when we come in pairs. But I had to confess, “I’m just kidding. We’ve known each other for decades.” She laughed but I wasn’t finished. “We’re not a couple, so we still want separate checks. My husband and my friend here went to high school together and I’m babbling. I don’t have to tell you my life story to order the fish.” “I’ve got the time to listen,” she said, a huge grin on her face. But I said I was too hungry to tell her about my years as a CIA agent. By then we were all laughing including a couple of eavesdroppers sitting at the bar behind us. I couldn’t blame the eavesdroppers. It was a bar after all and when the situation is right, I don’t mind being the designated eavesdropper. It’s a wonderful pastime for bloggers.

Gary and I have been having lunch together twice a year---spring and fall---since my husband died and we talk on the phone maybe once a month. We’re each other’s bitch-to-person when something ghastly happens in the Trump administration. And don’t make the mistake of reading anything romantic into our relationship. I’d rather eat dog poop and he probably feels the same way. We both know too much about the skeletons we keep in our closets. Okay, I’ll admit it. He kissed me once, shortly after my husband and I started dating all those years ago, but he apologized profusely afterward and there hasn’t been anything remotely out of line since. He and I are all that’s left of our old gang who live close enough to get together---him divorced and me the long suffering widow who likes separate checks.

Friday I went out for lunch again but I didn’t win the war over who pays for lunch. I rarely get to pay for my own meal or buy my niece’s when we go out together. I usually drive out to her rural area where she knows everyone and their brothers so she conspires against me with the waitresses or waiters. And with those she doesn’t know she speaks in that confident teacher’s voice of her that makes the wait staff listen. When I protested, “You bought my lunch the last time!” she said, “You brought me gifts today.” I did but they weren’t gifts that cost me money.

I brought her a wicker suitcase that my grandfather used in 1895 to carry all his worldly possessions when he immigrated to America and an oil lamp that came from my dad’s boyhood home in Illinois. She’s been lusting after that suitcase a long time and I decided she should have it now rather than when I die because I know she’ll pass the suitcase's history down to our newest crop of babies in the family. I'm thinking if these little ones grow up associating that suitcase with their grandmother or great-aunt's stories the more likely someone in that generation will want that wicker wonder someday. Her mission, I told her, is to figure out who should get it next when the time comes---who cares the most about genealogy and family trees. After lunch, we went over to the family cottage where we found the perfect place to show it off. She owns the cottage, now, but it was the background for a huge chunk of my best memories growing up. 

According to vocabulary.com ‘nirvana’ is a place “of perfect peace and happiness, like heaven.” All the laughter, teasing and sharing I did this week brought me perfect peace and happiness. It was like taking a vacation in Nirvana and I wish I didn’t have to come back. ©

My grandfather's suitcase that came through Ellis Island in 1895

18 comments:

  1. I loved this happy post, and what a treasure the suitcase will be for your niece.

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    1. She just bought a small, 1800s china cabinet that she's going to keep family heirlooms in and the suitcase fit perfect on top. At the cottage, more people will see it than here where no one will.

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  2. Well, good morning! This is the first morning since the time change I've felt relatively chipper in the morning, and got a decent night's sleep. While I can philosophize about the change, my body reacts to it, and I've come home from work every night this week so exhausted it's been something like cereal for supper, and bed at 9 o'clock. I'm ready for that to be over with, and I think we're on the verge.

    I love that suitcase. I have the one my mother carried on her "honeymoon," such as it was, and it's what I pack my real treasures in when we roll into hurricane season. That way, I can just pick it up as I head out, and don't have to worry about finding things at the last minute. It's really amazing how much you can pack into a little suitcase, and still have room for a lot of memories.

    I love that conversation you created for people around you. If there's any upside to the fake news business these days, it's that people are going to stop and think, "You know, it just might be possible." For people wanting real news, that's not so good. For real storytellers, it's great.

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    1. I love that you have your mother's suitcase and what you do with it. I hope you put it in a plastic bag when you take it on the run.

      Sometimes there's a fine line between storytelling and lying. LOL I think the difference is in order to get the full effect of storytelling you have to admit it's just a story.

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  3. You've had a very happy, very satisfying week!

    That suitcase is indeed a Treasure, and I'm glad it has been passed on to a worthy Keeper Of The Flame. That it will be housed in the Family Cottage is also a great source of satisfaction to you, surely.

    My brother's lakehouse is a similar repository now, especially since it is the site of family reunions. It now holds my grandmother's scrapbooks, my mother's collection of her and my father's WWII letters, and all sorts of treasures. He is a very generous and welcoming soul; we know the house is open to all of us.

    You are making a very nice life for yourself, Jean. Enjoy the reward of your efforts.

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    1. You wouldn't believe how many people passed on taking that suitcase when my uncle died. All his kids and grand-kids (large Italian family) didn't have an interest in it so they offered it to my dad. Inside was a treasure trove of papers---my grandfather's Italian Army discharge papers included. I had that one translated and found lots of stuff to add to the family history. I created a family history blog and posted all those papers and one of the great-grandkids of my cousin who didn't want the suitcase found the site and was amazed. It's a funny world out there. An interest in family history always seems to jump a generation or two.

      Thank you. It's too bad we have to work at making a "nice life" for ourselves, but all widows go through it. It's been a long (nearly) five years getting here.

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  4. It sounds like you had a really wonderful week, from laughing with the Gathering Girls, your date that is not a Date with Gary (this does appear to be the perfect friendship), to passing down your grandfather's wicker suitcase. It is so good to be able to enjoy life like this, I am happy for you.

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    1. It really was perfect week with new friends, an old friend and one of my two favorite nieces (I only have two. LOL I have to savor days like this because winter snowed-in days are coming and I'll be bellyaching about them all too soon.

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  5. What a wonderful week! It seems to happen almost effortlessly now, this gathering of girls, so you spent the time to build the right foundation! Hooray.

    And anything that includes a meal works for me!

    I love the clever idea of using the suitcase!

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    1. I just hope our little group holds up through the winter when half us us get snowed in and the other half doesn't want to drive in it. We haven't been tested yet in that department.

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  6. Had to laugh at the laughing girls. My group cleaned out a local restaurant this week with our enthusiastic laughing also. One guy said as he walked by our table,"I'll have what they are having."
    That suitcase has such meaningful history. So glad it went to someone who appreciates it.

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    1. What a funny remark for the guy to make. That classic movie line that says so much.

      My niece went to Ellis Island recently and she said our suitcase would fit right in with the quality of those in the musuem there.

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  7. This post makes me smile, and lordy, we DO need to find reasons to smile lately! And that suitcase IS a treasure indeed!

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    1. Oh, yes! That's why it helps to visit Nirvana from time to time, even if we have to create the place ourselves.

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  8. It sounds like you had a wonderful week, full of fun, friendship and family. Perfect! (It made me smile, too.) -Jean P.

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    1. The perfect combination---fun, friendship and family.

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  9. Great post. Your weekend was far better than mine. :-) Nothing better than laughter with an old good friend.

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    1. I don't know....laughing with new friends is pretty good as well. May we all find things to laugh about in the coming weeks.

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