It's a very cold, very wet, rather miserable spring day. Temperature not set to rise above 6 degrees C all day. Already, at 9.00 am I've had time and cause to ponder deeply about life thus far. I've been wide awake since 4.30 am, mind wandering all over the place. I made tea at 7.00. Husband declared he'd had a vivid dream about his brother, who died nearly thirty years ago. I'd already been planning my day, and had resolved to get out my mother's photo albums from the 1970's. Drinking my tea in bed, (bliss, that first cup of tea of the day!) I opened the first album - and the first picture was of LSH's brother. Such a coincidence... there followed pictures of my family, many of them with LSH's family, as they all shared some holidays back then. Most of the people in the photos are dead now. Pics also of us as a young family around the time our children were born in the late 70's, and when they were still very small. Such a very long time ago. So much water passed under the bridge, and our lives completely different now... careers begun, followed through and ended, parents passed, children well grown and living their own independent lives.
And me, since that Eureka Joe Brown "I'll See You In My Dreams" moment - I play the ukulele now. Nearly every day. I promised I'd talk about my progress over the last two years since I started this blog... well, for one thing, I used to be terrified of my own web-cam, but I've got used to it now - I reckon that has taken a full two years to accomplish... and now, if I want to do a youtube video to take part in the Ukulele Underground Forum "Seasons of the Ukulele" contests, I no longer feel as though the Thing is watching me.
So, this week, having finally found a space in time to take part, and a friendly theme for last week's activity, ("choose a song - or lots of songs - written or co-written by a woman") I bashed off three videos in three days - in one take, two takes and three takes respectively. Quite fun. I adore the lyrics of Dorothy Fields... she wrote "On the Sunny Side of the Street" in 1930 - a song that I also dance to twice a week at the tap class I go to - another childhood pleasure revived.... and the third song I made a video of was this very one. Feeling reasonably happy with my effort, I did a rare thing - being one of our dance tunes, I emailed the video to two of my tapping friends. One of these friends is also an ex-work colleague - knows me from a former life in the classroom .... so has a different view of me from that of newer acquaintances... is that relevant? I don't know. I only know this... when I asked her, as we put on out tap shoes "Did you get my email?" she just laughed and said "You're mad!" and that was that.
So here I am, perusing photos from the 1970's when I was young with small children and a life in front of me, and looking at myself now, in my 60's, playing my ukuleles, tap-dancing, my dear Long-Suffering-Husband still supporting me in all I do, as indeed I do him. I'm thinking of that poem that used to get passed round a lot among women of a certain age,
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in the slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
-Jenny Joseph, 1961
Marilisa Sachteleben expresses my views entirely in her words about this poem here...
In my youth I was sober and sensible, we married young and took on all the responsibilities of adulthood, mortgage, bills... brought up children on a tight budget, worked hard... and now it's purple clothes and red hat time. LSH has been scuba-diving. Me, I play uke and make cr*ppy youtubes. And if I'm mad, I don't care a kipper!
And just to prove it, here's a link to that vid.
Thanks for dropping in - and now I'm of to do something useful. Or perhaps I'll go out in the rain in my slippers and pick the flowers in next door's garden.