My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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health report: all clear

So many of you have been emailing and texting in concern about my possible exposure to Covid that I need to post immediately: Holly just tested negative, so we are all negative too. Incredible relief. Sam would have had to quit work for weeks; Anna, to isolate with sick boys, or even more difficult, healthy, bouncy boys, while sick herself. Horrendous.

Whereas for me – well, yes, I’m old(er), a senior, definitely in the AT RISK category. But if I had to isolate, not that much would change in my life, because these days especially, I live in solitude. I’m so drawn into this new book, delving into the past, that I do little else but sit all day – what a privilege! Today I had to force myself to do Jane’s Zoom class at 1 and then to have aperitif with Monique at 5 – and later to watch 60 Minutes, gazing in fascination at close-ups of one of the most repulsive faces on earth. 

But otherwise — with what hours I can spare from teaching and editing work, housework, trying to get the memoir out, and of course too much blasted social media — I spend my days now fiddling with letters and paragraphs for the story of my parents and their offspring. My mother working to resettle Jewish refugees after the ship the Exodus landed in Germany in 1947. My father nearly dying of polio in 1951, the miracle of him picking up his fiddle again. Mum writing to Dad, a few months after they’d met in France and spent four heavenly days together in Paris and Brussels, about having to have an abortion – in war-torn Germany. 

At the moment, I’m following their love affair just after the war, back and forth, she in Germany, he in New York – in their letters you see them hesitate, then go for it, then pull back again. There was love and desire, but also fear on both sides. And they express it all through the mail.

There’s a remarkable confluence here – me, the chronicler, the memoir writer fascinated by family story, helped by my mother the packrat, who saved every letter, every scrap of paper. How many people can delve deeply into the inner lives of their parents before they were born? That’s what I’m able to do, thanks to Mum, and it’s remarkable. Because luckily, they were fascinating, complex people, and even better – THEY WERE GOOD WRITERS. The letters are amazing. My problem will be cutting. I’ll need help with that. 

In other news – I opened the blinds this morning to see a big skunk strolling along Sackville Street. Oh – and I don’t have Covid. Otherwise, onward. 

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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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