UPDATE - DARLENE'S HOMECOMING: Before I get going on today's post, let me give you this happy update.
As many of you know, long-time blogger and TGB participant, Darlene Costner, who turned 90 last year, fell in her home in early December breaking a bone in her back.
Good news now. Yesterday, Darlene wrote to say that after a second hospital stay and a stint in rehab, she returned to her home on Monday evening where both her son and daughter can help with her further recuperation.
”I must say,” wrote Darlene, “that holidays in Rehab was not in my plan and my family tried to make it enjoyable...they visited me several times and Mark and Gail were most attentive so I did have a nice Christmas.
“I wanted to write a humorous tale about this happenstance, but this morning I am not up to par so the funny side of re-hab will have to wait.”
Don't let anyone ever say Darlene is not a trouper. Just five hours later, she sent an animal photo collection of pets' trips to the vet. Here is one of them.
Welcome home, Darlene, and I know I speak for everyone – we're looking forward to your recovery and full-time return to this community. We have missed you.
Okay, here is today's other post:
No one can hold back time and that is how it should be. I'll get back to that in a moment...
It is at the end of each year when the media make their annual lists of well-known people we “lost” during the preceding 12 months that I most realize how much the people, events and things that define my life are fading away.
Here are some names we probably share. Frank Gifford died last year. So did Joe Franklin (New Yorkers will recall who he was), Oliver Sacks, Mario Cuomo, B.B. King, Louis Jourdan, Leonard Nimoy, Leslie Gore, Donald Featherstone and Gary Dahl among hundreds of others who populate my 74-year historical worldview.
You may not know those last two names but you surely will recognize what got them a mention on the 2015 death lists: Featherstone invented the pink lawn flamingo; Dahl invented the Pet Rock.
Yep. Our guys, our generation foisted that effluvia upon us. They were funny for a moment or two but way overstayed their welcome.
Time moves on, mercifully in some cases, but it is also merciless, blindly burying the touchstones of our pasts. That would be my personal past I am referring to today, the artifacts of the life and times of my years.
Not infrequently these days, I am baffled by the latest culture. I learned who Adele is only about three weeks ago but that's hardly new. It has been years since I recognized any young musician's name without effort.
Language trips me up too. By the time I had worked out what a “hookup” is, the younger generations had invented “Netflix and chill” which means, if you don't know yet, something approximate to hookup – the next iteration of it, apparently.
Even so, I felt a part of the mainstream culture for a long while. even on the bleeding edge in some cases. When the internet came along, I was still young enough to participate in its adaptation to everyday use. I took to cell phones fairly easily too although not as happily.
Now thanks to them and some accompanying innovations, the cashless society will arrive before long – maybe even before I die – and for some excellent reasons, I don't think that's such a good idea. (See more here)
But it doesn't matter what I think about technology, music, fashion, literature, art, the general zeitgeist or anything else. I'm 74 years old and it is the young who get to define them now.
We had our turn, you and me. Remember when the clergy denounced rock and roll as the devil's music? When long hair on boys annoyed just about every parent? When you had to be 21 to vote? We changed those things.
We can also claim forcing the end of the Vietnam war, big strides forward in civil rights for minorities and women along with creating the early environmental movement. I'm proud to have been part of some of that.
Now, time has passed and a new generation is making their changes. Just ten years ago, the idea of marriage equality hardly existed. Now it is fact. Today's young people made that happen.
In survey after survey after survey, it is the young who embrace inclusiveness of all people. It is they who lead the continuing technology revolution. And it is they who will have to contend with the twin disasters of terrorism and climate change while, probably, making even more music and new slang phrases that pass me by.
But that is as it should be. Rather than regret the dwindling of my generation's influence, I am eager to see what's next, to watch the changes and support them where I am capable of doing so.
Does that mean I'm retiring from my activism, backing off my pressure, for example, to end ageism and other threats to elders' wellbeing?
Not a chance. And maybe, with the help of others, we will get far enough that when it comes time for today's youth to relinquish their hold on the culture to the following generation, we will have gained some ground in that regard for them to build on.
(It takes a long, long time for cultural and political changes to come about. Fifty years ago, I naively thought the passage of the Voting Rights Act solved those problems.)
There is still a place for me and all interested elders to help make a difference – just not in the mainstream and there is some relief in letting go of that. Time moves on – there is no stopping it and no going back.