As we grieve together the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, my thoughts turn to Helene Hanff. How she would have loved to be in her beloved England at this sad yet historic time of mourning.
In 1952, despite Nora Doel's hopes that, "...if by any chance you can manage the fare to England next year for the Coronation, Mrs. Boulton will see that you have a bed," unfortunately Helene was unable to afford the trip to England.
On September 18th, 1952, Helene wrote to Frank Doel...
As generous as she was acerbic, Helene sent over a ham so Frank, his family and friends would be well-fed as they watched Queen Elizabeth II crowned at Westminster Abbey as she listened by radio from New York.
Every month since my stroke comes a day of absolute terror: the day I receive an injection in my eyeball to treat my retinal hemorrhage.
Yet, every month, the Sanford Eye Center is so family-like and so kind that I come away with only good memories.
Some people only see and talk about the bad things in life but as I suffer from chronic, indeed, terminal optimism, without which I couldn't survive this crazy life, I only see the good. So each month, I write an email to Sanford Patient Relations to tell them how wonderful their Eye Center is because "credit where credit is due."
Here's this month's email. I hope you find it as amusing to read as I found it amusing to write.
Ah, eccentricity! My lifelong passion. It began when I was a shellshocked twenty-two year old, afraid of everyone and living in a state of constant distress over Dad's shock cancer diagnosis, accompanying him to every chemo appointment, bearing his 'roid rage afterwards.
Eccentricity became my armor. It kept everyone at arm's length, just where I wanted them. I joked it really weeds out the riffraff. People give eccentrics a wide berth. Eccentricity started as my protection and soon segued into normalcy.
Here's the thing about eccentricity: If you do it mainly to attract attention, you're not truly eccentric.
If your eccentricity makes you self-conscious, you're not truly eccentric.
If it's perfectly normal to you, you're authentically eccentric.
If you delight that your eccentricity brings joy to others, but you don't do it for that reason, you're the genuine article.
But when you're a true eccentric, it's so normal to you, it doesn't feel like eccentricity anymore in which case...well, like adulthood itself, eccentricity is basically untenable but a fun untenable.
I was blessed to grow up around people eager to pass along their Wisdom and Life Lessons to me. What I learned from them has stood me in good stead in life. But sometimes Time is the greatest teacher of all. So many of the problems that I stressed and obsessed over for years resolved themselves merely with the application of time and a lot of it.
Above my $25 Craigslist dishwasher, hangs this little plaque from our local thrift store. It states simply, "Inside...we are all the same age."
The older I get, the more it's proven true. I may be forty-two, but my brain works exactly as it did when I was a nine-year-old. Straight-forward. Logical. Black-and-white. Idealistic. Fair. Honest.
Please tell me I'm not the only one! My mother always said, regardless of how old she gets, on the inside she feels exactly how she felt at age six!
Now don't get me wrong! I'm not one of these anti-adulthood people. Far from it! I couldn't wait to become a responsible, independent adult unlike so many young people today who inexplicably cling to their shrieky, silly adolescence for an embarrassingly long time.
From the moment a new little American takes their first breath, everything in their lives is already a competition. Heck! We can turn anything into a competition. A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G!
Our parents brag about whose baby was the first to roll over. To talk. To take their first wobbly step. Our progress is anxiously charted against sundry baby books. We're enrolled in baby swim classes, baby language classes...and rushed into public school almost before we're out of diapers!
At school, the competition ante is upped or at least it was when I was in Baptist school. Who gets the most A's on their report card. Show-and-tell. Gym class. Mathletics. Sports. Languages. Homecoming King and Queen. All competition.
By the time you hit adulthood, competition is ingrained in your DNA. It's an instinct you don't think twice about. It's only taken me forty years to figure out that turning Life into a competition is bullshit! (Sorry, Nancy. Language! I couldn't help myself.)
"Why write yet another blog, Lenora?" you ask.
Because I am frustrated!
Yes, I love writing AMERICA: The Blog but America's not the only topic I think about. The entire concept of protecting Freedom is that Freedom protects us and frees us not to think about it so we can enjoy our lives to the utmost.
Limiting myself to only write about America/politics has left me stranded with a backlog of thousands of words about other topics, all jostling in my brain behind a dam labeled, "But It's Not About America" spilling over onto thousands of hand-written journal pages, read by no one but me.
Well, that stops now!
The truth is, philosophizing is one of my favorite hobbies. Okay! Okay! It may well be my only hobby. Be kind!
But what's the fun of compulsively philosophizing if I can't share it with you!? Hence the new blog! It might be a blessing or it might be complete caca. Either way, it's gonna be fun!
I'd rather write than eat.