My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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we are family

I’m back in the car in the parking lot outside the bagel shop, checking email and listening to Sirius 60’s music. “Eli’s Comin'” just played. And yes, he is! Wrote this earlier.

sitting on the living-room floor with headphones on, listening to Bach’s St. John’s Passion, looking at the books
on the bookshelf in front of me, and weeping. My various worlds are coming
together: the Bach tape, like the 30 or so others on the shelf, was made by my
Uncle Edgar, who loved Baroque music, Bach above all others. When he travelled,
he brought a complicated sound system and his homemade tapes. After his death,
Mum brought a few of them to Florida, and I’m listening now. The New York Times today has a bridge column
about the winners of the Edgar Kaplan Winter Regionals. That’s my uncle, the
world bridge champion. He was an extraordinary and brilliant man, and I miss
him with all my heart.
there’s the bookshelf too, Mum’s bookshelf, with her shell collection and old
decoy duck and lovely little things. And the books, picked up in her years down
here – “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare,” books about history – “The
Wars of the Roses,” “England under the Tudors,” “The Birth of France.” Books
about art – “Great Prints and Print-making,” “Monotype.” Three dictionaries,
for the crosswords. “Natural cures they don’t want you to know about.” “The
Diary of Samuel Pepys, Vol.1.” “The complete estate planning guide” for some
light reading. An atlas, of course, because she loved to look things up in an
atlas. “Florida bound: A Canadian snowbird guide.”
am here in Florida because my childless Uncle Edgar left money to my mother,
which she used to buy this little place. He is here. She is here. And now I am
here, and soon my daughter and grandson will be too. I am feeling very full of
and grateful for the continuity of life – those who went before me, and those
who are coming after.

It’s cool and
overcast, a dark grey sky, but I had a swim in the pool anyway, because there’s
a hot tub to warm you up beforehand, and I’m Canadian. The pool was cold; it
was heaven. And earlier, I was walking on the beach when my cell rang and it
was David, my father’s cousin, who lives nearby. I wish the sun were shining,
but when there’s Bach and memory, all’s right with the world.

And now some pictures of the crowds in Florida on a cool day – the beach opposite Mum’s place, and the pool and hot tub:



2 Responses to “we are family”

  1. theresa says:

    What a lovely and moving piece, Beth. And it may be grey and cold but that sky! That beach! And the promise of your daughter and grandson…A rich beginning to the new year.

  2. beth says:

    You're right, Theresa – I feel extremely blessed and grateful. My love to you and best wishes for 2014.

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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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