My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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genes

So busy, no time even to sit here and tell you about it. Nothing special, just the usual – work, family, house, friends, stuff. It’s all great, and it all feels a bit too much sometimes.

Had a sleepover with Eli this week, most importantly, as brother Ben was sick. On the streetcar back to my house, he looked at me seriously. “Glamma, is it today or tomorrow?”
How to answer such an existential question?
We decided to plant his little garden, as we did last year. What did he want to grow? “Strawberries,” he said, after careful consideration, “and sushi.”
Jean-Marc and Richard, who love kids and are wonderful with them, came to visit. JM told Eli they were going to fly home. After they left, he said, “How did those guys fly home? What if they lose their superpowers?” 

I realized what a gift it is to spend time with a small child – to enter that world of limitless possibility. I had to keep stopping myself from being rational and a wet blanket – as in the improv exercise, to say “Yes and…” rather than “Yes but…” Go there with him and learn to play once more. At least to get my creaking old self to try. Though in fact, not so creaking – we went to the new Regent Park playground, and I did quite a bit of climbing on the climbing things. That was fun, releasing my inner 4-year old.

When we got back to his place next day, brother Ben was asleep and getting better, under a little blanket Auntie Do knitted for his mother Anna, lo these many years. 
Apparently after I left, Eli said, “I miss Gramma already.” And if there’s a greater gift than that, I do not know what it is.

The power of genetic continuity – what a miracle. I was looking through family photos and found one of my dad at about age 4 – looking exactly like Eli. I sent it to Anna, who wrote back, “They’re like twins!” 

Eli last year – couldn’t find a pic of him in the same kind of pose as Dad below, but you get the idea.

Dad in about 1926. Highly sceptical, as is his older great-grandson. How thrilled he would have been to meet Anna’s son. Anna was just seven when he died, but she remembers him clearly. They played checkers – she was six and he was dying, but he did not let her win. 

Was looking through family pictures for my meeting at the JCC – I’m giving a talk there about my great-grandfather Jacob Gordin on November 17, and met with the efficient and energetic Lisa Roy, who’s producing the event and the Power Point presentation, and the witty Jack Newman, who will perform a few excerpts from Gordin’s plays in both Yiddish and English. That’ll be a thrill to hear. Mark your calendars. And today, I went to the stage door of the Ed Mirvish Theatre, where the great Mandy Patinkin is performing, and left him the gift of my “Jewish Shakespeare” book. I hope he likes it – I’ve always wanted him to play Gordin, he’d be perfect.

Then rode further down Victoria Street to the passport office, to pick up my brand new passport that’s good till 2026. I’ll be 75 the next time I need to renew it. The picture in this one of a crabby old lady will be replaced by a much older and crabbier one. 

The term is winding down – classes nearly over. The roses are out, the garden flourishing – except that today, at last, the guys arrived to begin burying the backyard wires. They dug a trench across my yard and the neighbour’s, trampling not a few plants in the process, but it’s all worth it if that hideous tangle disappears.
Downloaded an article: “54 of the festivals in Toronto this summer.” Ridiculous, more than 54 festivals! Tomorrow, one of the first – the Writer’s Union of Canada conference at Harbourfront. I’m attending for two days. Hundreds of writers in one place. Be still my beating heart.

Finally, I and the whole world shout this: GO HILLARY! 

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2 Responses to “genes”

  1. theresa says:

    Those are beautiful young men, all of them.

  2. beth says:

    Thank you, Theresa. I think so too. Too bad one of them isn't around to enjoy the company of the other two. But you know about that loss.

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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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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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