Aging, Change, Cool Stuff, God, Memories

Keepsakes

Marnie and I went to an estate sale today and found all sorts of goodies.  I even missed some of the items for sale because there were so many things to look at!  All the items for sale had been moved to the barns on the property and some items were very dirty.  In fact, one of my items was marked $3 but the lady only charged me $1 because it was really filthy. Dirt for the win! Right now I’m going through some of the things I bought, hoping to find things I can sell in my Etsy store.  I got a whole box of sewing notions – vintage patterns, thread, buttons, and zippers; a bag of game pieces; some Christmas decorations; a bowl made of English walnut that is worth far more than I paid for it; a concrete bear statue for the side yard; two wind chimes; some other things, and most interestingly a box of cards and letters originally owned by a Mennonite girl named Irene.  I think this is her senior picture:

Right now I’m going through the box and wiping off all the dirt and spider webs from the cards and letters.  They are mostly just letters from her friends with a few newspaper clippings, such as this one about some giant waves at the coast.   I do wish there were more newspaper clippings, as I enjoy reading the ads and other little articles.

Irene was very detailed in noting on each envelope that she had answered the letter.  I assume she would have gotten many more letters than this in her life and I’m not sure why these are the only ones left, but I imagine that her family had looked at these and didn’t feel they were important.  There are no photos in the box except the senior photo.  Plus, they are all dirty and webby and there was an actual spider in the box.  

Of course, you don’t learn much about a person from reading the letters sent to them. I don’t know if the estate was hers or how she was related to the person who left the estate, but I found her obituary online and she indeed passed away in the last few months.  It sounds like she was a wonderful and generous woman who loved to help people.  But she had no children of her own, and some letters from her teenage years would have meant little to her nephews and niece, I think. 

Anyway, I always find it very interesting to read old letters and postcards.  I was hoping to find some postcards in the box, but only one has turned up so far.  It is a photo of Giant Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, from 1961. 

Aging, Baffled, Health, Life, Memories, Miscellaneous, Observations, Poetry

The Rime of the Ancient 40-Year Old Person

Based on Part 1 of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

The mirror – it startles me. (I wrote this poem 12 years ago today.  To say the mirror startles me now is an understatement.)

Skull or Lady in Mirror

It is an ancient, common tale,
And we do not like to think
That our lustrous hair and lovely eye
May someday be extinct.

Our big bright eyes were open wide,
And we were cute and thin;
We did not fret, the mirror showed
Pink cheeks and glowy skin.

It held us there in happiness
“Yes, I approve,” it said.
And thoughts of aging gracefully
Were put into our heads.

It holds me now in disbelief,
I gasp when I stand still,
And catch a glimpse of how it shows
Its lack of kind goodwill.

My heart is sinking like a stone,
I cannot choose but hear,
And thus cackles that shiny fiend
“You’re not the same, my dear!”

Then I was cheered, my face had cleared,
Of spots and pimply beasts,
Below though, they were lurking,
To get me while I sleep.

The sun is up now in the east,
Out of my bed I crawl,
And see a face reflected that
Just isn’t me at all!

Higher and higher every day,
My expectations loomed.
I’d diet, I’d fuss, I’d stay for hours
In the exercising room.

Frustrated, I pace back and forth,
Red in the face, I sigh.
The scale, who is not my friend,
Shows me an all-time high!

“I’ve worked so hard, I do not know
What gives, for heaven’s sake?”
And thus goes on the ancient rhyme
From night until I wake.

Now a storm-blast, not a smile,
Assails me when I think,
That I’m NOT aging gracefully,
The opposite, I think!

I’ve sloping masts and dipping prow,
I’ve crow’s feet, lines; I’m pudgy.
These thoughts just make me want to eat
Some pie, or something fudgy.

I should turn back, loud roars the snack,
(I ate it, now it’s quiet!)

And now there is a misty fog,
My vision’s getting blur’y.
The eye doctor said “It’s just age,”
And told me not to worry.

It really seems just yesterday
That I was seventeen.
No shape of what I used to be
The mirror is all between.

The mirrors are here, the mirrors are there,
The mirrors are all around:
They mock and laugh, and roar and howl,
My self-respect is down!

At length did sneak the wrinkles,
Through the years they came;
As they had been a horrid smell,
I curse them, but in vain.

I ate chocolate to comfort me,
Chubby and plump I grew.
My jeans did split with a thunder-fit;
But I would not buy new!

And a good dose of denial came by,
“You’ll be fit again!” did follow,
But every day, I was still plump
In sadness I still wallow.

In mist or cloud, in sun or gray,
Age perched to stare at me;
While overnight, I’d think each morn,
It multiplied times three.

“God save thee, ancient lady,
From your loss of self-esteem! –
Why look’st thou so?” — “I’m old, and lo!
I bought the hundred-dollar cream!”

~Noelle Marier  ©2010