IMG_2261I  saw this picture of Cher taken at a Clinton rally the other day and it has me  wondering: When did she start looking like an Italian grandmother circe 1930?

It must be the ruffles at the wrist. If you’re getting up there in age and your relatives don’t strictly forbid it, the undertakers will try dressing you in ruffles for your viewing; this I have noted at more than one wake.

Though I don’t look at all like Cher with my thin lips and map-of-Ireland face, I definitely do feel like a grandma on this family vacation anyway, which is to say:

I’m doing a LOT of laundry.

In fact it feels like that’s all I’m doing.

I have learned this week if I had forgotten it, that kids shed clothes like a snake sheds skin. One of these grandchildren of mine yesterday had so many clothes strewn about his sleeping area  that there was no telling which ones were clean and which were dirty.

So, I washed them all.

Another, the first one’s younger brother, seemingly had no dirty clothes at all, since, as I just this morning realized, he has been wearing basically the same clothes since he arrived last Saturday.

The third grandchild, their four-year-old sister,wears long tea-length early-20th century ‘frocks’ pretty much exclusively , which I find myself not only washing but also  ironing God help me. Still, she looks very nice in them, even when she wore one to climb Rattlesnake the day before yesterday with her doll.


Her mom’s job that day was to forge the path up and up and up the hill. The job of her dad, now called “papa,” was to keep things moving in the middle portions of the line of march. My job, I was told, was  to be last.

As it happens, I did an excellent job at being last but I have to say: the Grandma who does all the wash and can be counted on to go slow is not exactly the Grandma I had hoped to be. I liked it much better last summer when I was the Grandma who took the kids and bought the kind of stuff that was instantly condemned by their parents and summarily confiscated.


At least that job had some fun to it.

But I’m not complaining, not really. It’s kind of nice being one of the old ones, the  ones who are definitely NOT in charge of much of anything even though this is still our house. Just please, if any of you are around when I finally kick the bucket, put me in tattered workout clothes like these before those undertakers begin coming at me with the ruffles.  🙂




One, Two, Three, HIKE!

Good follow-up to a night of ‘toasting’ with Big Dave’s bridge pals: We hiked up Rattlesnake Hill.



two big dogs,

several slews teens, all affectionately pawing one another,

and dozens of young parents urging their kids along with everything but electric cattle prods.

David, good host that he always is, carried a sack of drinks, so that when we got to the top we could have a Sprite Zero, a Bud Light, or a wee can of Strawberry Margarita, the latter two perhaps being somewhat in violation of trail rules…

…which may account for this image: The person behind the camera thought he was shooting a picture on my i-Phone but turned out to really be shooting a video.

Oh well! Love his laugh, anyway.Good old Charlie! Then David took this picture of toothy me. REALLY NICE WEEKEND WITH REALLY GOOD FRIENDS.. 🙂 


Build Grow Move Build Grow Move

Reunions Magazine has just quoted part of a column I wrote about a mini-reunion with my college pals. Only thing is they have me down as a columnist for the Norwich (CT) Bulletin whereas in fact I am a Columnist for the World in the sense that my little words go far and wide, which is a great source of satisfaction for me even if there’s no money in it. (350 papers in Massachusetts alone have access to my column and many of them use it. My compensation? $15 a week.)

But never mind that. Here’s what the Reunions issue labeled November/ December/January 2010 quoted from that piece. It was kind of the big finish:

And in the end this reunion seemed to be just what any school reunion should be: a field trip of the imagination to the time when we would gather in small groups to joke and commiserate and tell fond semi-mocking stories about our families, who turned out not to seem so crazy after all when compared to other people’s families; to a time before we were tied in tight to this world by the cords of love and obligation; to a time when we believed – really believed – that Time would never touch us.

Ah but Time touched us all right. Time turned us and turned us, forcing us to grow as the chambered nautilus grows. That little creature inhabits one ‘room’ of his delicate shell, grows, builds a new, larger room, moves into it, grows, builds a new, larger room, moves into that, etc. until he has that lovely circular condo whose image we see on all the exercise equipment. (I bet on some level you also know the poem about this creature by the famous Oliver Wendell Holmes if you’ll just reach back far enough in memory. “Build more stately mansions O my soul!” etc., remember? The whole thing is here, if you want to have a look.

You’ll also see the nautilus’s shape in this picture I took of the stairs inside the lighthouse at Pemaquid Point in Maine which we visited during our three days together. We hiked clear to the top, clambered up into the place where the beacon is and clambered down again. These were once my best friends in the world, Vicki and Cathy and Elizabeth, Virginia, Susan and Judy and in many ways they still are that. A seventh pal, called Lynne, couldn’t make it this time but I think of  her every day – not just because she was and still is  so  beautiful but because she taught me by example that even if you feel all sad and weird you can still by God get up off your fanny and do your work.

(Lynne at an earlier mini-reunion on Rattlesnake Hill, NH. For more on that experience go to Elizabeth’s website here)