I know that I will write other posts about generations because I’m in a very reflective period of my life now. I’ve said before that at sixty-seven, I have a full, rich life filled with beloved family and friends. Not perfect, of course. Still with some difficulties and even pain. But then again, isn’t life always an ever-changing process of these things? All part of the shared human experience, but all highly personal and unique.
One of the joys that I am now exploring is the past of my family, grandparents, parents, children. I have been very, very fortunate. I don’t know why exactly some of us have nurturing childhoods and some not. Such a cliché, but life is not always kind or fair. I’m not speaking of deep dysfunction here when I speak of other families and my own. That is another issue entirely. Sometimes scarring. I’m speaking of families where generations are not very close, loving one another, but becoming distant with time and separation. And I am not speaking of close family as a form of smothering. I think perhaps most people understand what I’m talking about. I hope so.
But I have been revisiting the past and looking over work I’ve written primarily in my sixties, even more so after sixty-five. There are a couple publishers who actually seek out older writers, usually in magazines or anthologies. I have been fortunate in this way. However, I also have found that it is not necessary to be confined to this audience at all. I believe most readers enjoy and can move to reflection and insight with the work of writers of all generations. That is my experience.
Since this is meant to be a short post about my own quiet celebration of my family and our generations, I’ll be quick here. I have been thinking about my father and my childhood. To put this in perspective, perhaps, my grandfather was born in 1888. He died at ninety, hale and hearty, and lived long enough to know my son, named for him, for several years. My father was born in 1915, my mother in 1916. I was born, the eldest of four, in 1947. So we have stories of the generation or two before my grandfather. through today. But, of course, the meaningful experiences are those within our own personal experience of our families. Sunday drives in the late forties and fifties were a wonderful form of entertainment for many families, including ours. A small-town boy, at thirteen my father began to drive the ice delivery wagon for housewives’ iceboxes in town, but also deep into farm country. (I loved my grandmother’s icebox, used for tea towels by the time I came along : ) Relatively soon after he started his job, there was the big, amazing shift to the ice truck! Occasionally, our Sunday drives in the country would be in that area of his deliveries, and he would tell us his stories as he retraced that long-ago route. I shared some of this with my own children, not much, but what little I remember of his experiences with that first job. Writing the poem in the next post, titled Retracing, was a celebration of our times with my father. It brings me joy.