My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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off into the wild grey yonder

These have been dark days.  One of my dearest friend’s husband died on Friday, of complications after an operation for lung cancer, at the age of 55.  I was at the hospital with her, watching the machinery of death move into action – the hospital extraordinarily efficient, setting aside a room for the family, the arrival of the social workers, pastor and counsellors – and my friend in shock.  Such a young man.

But then – the best of human nature, the outpouring of friendship and condolence, people bringing food, family dropping everything to run to be there.  I missed a wedding this morning to help my friend write the obituary.  The vital rituals of human life – coming, joining, and going.

This after my son’s attack, his poor battered face, and the two ghastly risky elections, and the incessant rain – all could have conspired to make me gloomy, but no.  Tomorrow I am leaving for Washington, D.C., where I will have dinner with my only two first cousins on Sunday and deliver the Wexler Lecture at the Jewish Book Fair on Monday.  Two actors will read excerpts from my great-grandfather’s plays during my talk, and afterwards there’s a book signing and reception. On Tuesday I’m meeting with a writer colleague, perhaps dashing to a Smithsonian or two, and having dinner with my first cousin once removed, a dapper Washington lawyer in his eighties.  
And on Wednesday I get the so-called Chinese Mafia bus – $20 from Chinatown Washington to Chinatown NYC – to stay at my cousin Ted’s at 77th and 3rd and partake of the riches of the metropolis where I was born.  Which includes taking my father’s cousin Lola, another first cousin once removed in her eighties, to see the much-heralded “South Pacific” with house seats provided by my ex-husband.  I’ll also see “Equus” starring Harry Potter, and have a meeting with Tom Oppenheim, who is the great-grandson of the superb actor Jacob Adler, my great-grandfather’s most important colleague.   So the great-grandchildren will meet 117 years after their ancestors formed their influential friendship, in 1891.  This will be an interesting get-together.
And perhaps there will be shoes.  Shoes are the new handbags, they say, which means I won’t be able to afford them.  But in any case this trip will be full of family, and I love family, even the crazy ones, of which there are a few.  Perhaps especially the crazy ones.  If only it stops raining.
I will tell you all about it when I get back.  In the meantime, I urge you to think of my friend’s husband and go out right now and do something you wouldn’t normally do that will make you laugh and feel alive.  Go.  

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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