My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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FDR and Dad

Many people are praying today – or whatever non-religious people do – keep the faith, send out positive thoughts, hope hope hope –  pray – because Maurice is under the knife right now, a nine hour operation to remove bone from his leg and implant it in his jaw. An ordeal he was extremely reluctant to undergo, understandably, but if he didn’t, eventually he wouldn’t have been able to eat solid food. This is as a result of aggressive treatment for lung cancer.

Hard not to rage about cigarettes and smoking, the fact that countless people do this to themselves voluntarily, as I once did too. Mind-boggling, tragic, appalling. I tell people I’m trying to convince to quit that tobacco executives are the most evil people on the face of the earth, why spend your hard-earned money to increase their profits and poison yourself at the same time? But it never helps.

So here I am with the beautiful Bourbon – we had a great walk this morning, inspecting every tree – oh, the details uncovered by that sensitive nose. I can see why people come to Stratford to visit and end up wanting to stay – an endless array of lovely old brick houses with huge gardens, fresh air, big old trees, everything walking distance, and a world-class theatre too. I had a momentary seizure myself, imagining my daughter and her son in a fine little house, me nearby, walking our dogs on sunny fall mornings like today.

And then one word came to me through the rosy mists: February. Stratford in February. So much for that little fantasy.

I am immersed in Roosevelts, thrilled that Lani gets PBS (though not the Comedy Channel so I’ll have to stream Jon on my computer.) Two more hours last night sped by watching this brilliant documentary. It was especially moving because it dealt with FDR’s polio, the fact that from one day to the next, this extraordinarily active, vibrant man was felled, never to walk unassisted again, and showing his incredible courage in regaining a kind of mobility and forging ahead with his political career. The experts speculated that polio, in a strange way, helped this patrician aristocrat, because it humbled him, made him understand suffering and gave him a common touch he’d lacked.

The program made me think about my father’s near-fatal polio in 1951. Dad was 29 when he was told he’d never walk again. But he made himself exercise, and he miraculously regained almost full mobility. He told me once that he admired President Roosevelt so, the only time in his adult life he ever wept uncontrollably was the day FDR died. When Dad contracted polio himself, I wonder if FDR’s example helped him through.

My mother said I, one year old then, was feverish and howling at the same time, that she was told I’d contracted the virus too – but it passed. There were pictures last night of children in braces and wheelchairs and on crutches – polio is, after all, infantile paralysis. What God should I thank for the fact that I did not contract polio?

The same God who’s listening as we pray for Maurice, right now.

So – we need a laugh on this solemn day, and here it is: a parade of the most hilarious album covers ever.



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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.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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A new book by Beth Kaplan, published by Mosaic Press – “Midlife Solo”

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