Wednesday, May 24, 2017

In Praise of the Elders and a Stroll Through Brooklyn

Tibby, Stanley and Phil

It might be a byproduct of age or my Dad's departure three years ago or my ever expanding and contracting social circle, but last weekend I spent most every social occasion with old people.
Friday I drove to Princeton to hang out with Mom and her best childhood friend Dion, who she's known all her life.  He's always been a part of my world.  We stayed up late, talking, looking at her garden and chatting about old friends, a lover who disappeared in the 1970's, my crazy dad, his best friend Fred, my brothers, successes and losses.  As the years continue I appreciate these interactions and memories more and more, especially as I know they may be fleeting.  There are only so many people in this world that have known me my whole life.  Its always a pleasure to see them.

Saturday, I woke up and enjoyed breakfast with my mom, now only a few months from entering her eighth decade and was off to visit our friend Sharon, whose husband, recently shuffled off after five decades of marriage to her.

So we laughed and talked about grief and looked at her garden.  Its not the easiest thing to wake up alone after sleeping in the same bed as someone for 53 years, not that easy.

Later that day, I met some friends at Stanley Aronowtiz's apartment by the graduate center. We talked about György Lukács and Western Marxism, Honoré de Balzac, who Stanley said considers the totality perhaps more than any writer, and the importance of culture and the novel. Life and age are getting away from him, but he's still sharing.

 Stanley recalled a moment when he was teaching at UC Riverside.

"I was at the movies and the lights went on.  And there was Herbert Marcuse.  He was in the front and I was in the back. 'Stanley what did you think of the movie?' he asked. 'Pretty good,' Stanley replied. 'Your aesthetics are crap' Marcuse replied.  He wasn't very interested in the movies."

 Its an honor to see old Stanley.

Finishing the talk with Stanley, Phil and Tibby and I walked out into the New York streets, telling stories and enjoying the afternoon.

And I made my way to Buskwick to see the little ones roll.  And then we went for a snack perusing the neighborhood, the youngest person i'd seen all weekend.

Everyone is growing and coping with aging.  Its never easy.  But I adore the elders I got to talk to all weekend long as they shared stories and memories, supported our growing, and the little one singing, growing and finding her own voice.   I appreciate a lot of what the elders i know bring to the table.  There is a little bit less youthful hubris, a bit more openness to what life teaches, and even some gratitude.  Life humbles us, especially after you've seen a few things.  Its good to be around a few of those who have been through it a bit.

A weekend with friends around NYC. 

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