Friday, July 23, 2010

Letter to Myself on Day of My Birth - Repost Request

A repost from my Yahoo 360 blog dated 11/28/2006 - my 55th birthday.  I had been blogging for about 11 months by that point and developed surprisingly enriching friendships with fellow bloggers, all literate inspirations in so many ways.  They were with me right through Tim's death seven months later and buttressed my grief and shock with heartfelt stories and tributes.  One friend, Stephanie, has resumed blogging (YEA!) and recently reposted her Letter to Herself which inspired mine back in 2006.  The idea was to write a letter to your younger self on the day of birth from a current vantage point.  The theme inspired some very personal, authentic blogs in our community.  It's Friday evening, it's been an extra-fatiguing week, and I'm too mentally vacant to update this letter - perhaps when I turn 60 (yikes), I'll tackle that reflection.  So, Stephanie, my Poe-lovin' Bucaneeress, this one's for you...
Tonight's YouTube:  From Fosse's All That Jazz, the dazzling Ann Reinking with a Peter Allen tune - "Everything Old is New Again"
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Y360 Blog:  11/28/06

AARP, here I come. My birthday arrives (how I hate sharing my day occasionally with the turkey - so it goes). I started writing here with loving encouragement and have been amazed by the friends I read in blogville. Recently, a few of you have posted letters to your younger selves and because I know I can be a bit opaque about myself, am stepping out a bit. 55 - less limits. My offering of friendship follows as I share with you as you have with me...

Fifty-five and still trying to learn not to brake
If I were to write a letter to myself on this birth day 55 years ago,
I’d probably say

You may still be a ball of confusion at 55
But your heart is held and you are still working on saving your soul
Plaid skirt memories, eau de incense, confessions and meatless Fridays
Will be essential to your narrative, your mythology, your still-unanswered questions
Californian by birth, and Chicagoan by father’s work transfer
You’ll love the sea and the city – perhaps the restless rhythm that still drives the train
You will have too many interests to be perfected by one
You will plunge, sometimes without thinking, from one adventure to the next
The arts will take hold of your spirit early
Music and literature particularly
You’ll major in English, but become captivated by American history

Your Irish New York mother will whisper "Nixon’s NOT the One"
And that will mold your political views
She will later become a Republican
Who considers returning to the big tent when George W. Bush is elected

Five more siblings, the youngest born while you were almost 16
You will open a neighborhood "daycare" in 8 th grade summer
Arts and Crafts - Hide and Seek

All preparations yet unknown for the day
You will become a mother in Denver
He’s a preemie and you both will receive last rites
Mea culpa, mea culpa
He will be healthy and a jewel in your small crown
No daughters except by their consent to join the circle
But grandchildren too will call you to join them on the see-saw
Fortune usually smiles

Your father, a Great Valley boy from California, will probably vote for Nixon
His love is quiet and constant, his love of puns your dinner challenges
He will provide by
Building security and grand disc and sled slides down the backyard hill
He hoses them down in cold Chicago winters to make them icy
You like to fly

You will be fearless, a fence walker, a thunderstorm watcher from the roof
You will be fearful of monsters behind the door – your imagination so real
That your mother will heed your tale and evacuate the house
Only to discover it was only the ironing board.

You will have your heart broken and break a heart or two
But fortune smiles – there will be few cads

Sometimes late at night
You will wonder who is there inside
You will enjoy silliness and performing song parodies for retirement parties
Initiating high school yearbook days at work
Dancing or working behind the scenes in the community theater

You will write, but are mortified when you find that others have read your journals
It will send you deeper into yourself, stifle self expression
Until the internet shows you others who write from the heart, stepping out of fear
And your loving mate encourages your exploration and courage

You will be confused about being a woman in America, second class passage ticket
You will be a tomboy, but born too early for Title 9 and braless does not become you
Of all the Little Women, you are most like Jo who writes and cavorts and
Wonders when her time will come and sometimes must bite her wicked tongue
You will be fascinated by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda, his mad brilliant wife
You will love the Beatles and Broadway

You’ll drive a semi through Indiana - one of the flat states --
During the first 11 months of your first marriage to the father of your child
You’re unlicensed, but it’s 2 am and he is tired
Note: When you live in a truck, there are no backyards, only byways and
You will hit all 48 connected states
Your husband will guard the shower at truckstops – affirmative action not yet implemented

Sometimes your life will seem somnambulent
Like the night when camping as a child in Big Sur
Sleepwalking, your consciousness dimly on
You will watch yourself venture into a neighboring campsite
And sit at a picnic table with two strangers
Two women who will finally notice your true state when your answers are illogical
And gently let you lead them back to your sleeping bag
When you see them in the campground bathroom next morn,
There is an off deja vu moment
When they greet you as known

When you are cocooned and vulnerable
Fortune again smiles
You will meet an honorable and complex man
You want to live with and join in the lights and shadows of riverdancing to the end sea
Today you were born, that day you will be given the chance for a redo
A second act in an American life – so there Fitzgerald!

The dance will begin and he will corral your heart
But he always leaves the gate open for he knows your sometimes too solitary observer nature
Stubbornly requires the cave and not the fire this time

You will be 55 and still trying to choose what is right
For you and those you love and those you still imagine are connected in the world
There will be no encores, so better commence
Understand yourself, forgive yourself, celebrate with humor, dance and kiss

Get busy living or get busy dying - it will be your choice.
For everything old may yet be new again

PS: Cubs will win the World Series!


  1. Simply put, you are a poet. Evocative and dreamy, sharp and sweet, smart and silly...all at the same time. Your style is really fabulous, Cris, but it's your substance that holds the taste of a good meal.

    This is a lovely idea and a beautiful piece, sadder to read knowing what lie not too far in the distance. But poetic and hopeful, the voice of a person really living life regardless.

    There's just something about words, about putting them together. In a way, for me it's like music: the flow and rhythm, the way it pricks a feeling or just rolls so smoothy that you have to smile. I love that about writing. I love that about your writing...

  2. And I love the Ann Reinking of my favorite movie scenes!

  3. Fabulous sweetheart - as always.

    One day I might chronicle the things that make Daffy Stephanie, well Daffy Stephanie. The things I've seen, the things I've done, the things that just sort of happened.

    Through it all, one thing we both share in common, is a lack of regrets. Sure there are things we probably both wish would've turned out differently, but regrets? none.

    Music and writing tend to go hand in hand with me as well, I credit Harold for he is the source of both.

    Remember Cris - Celebrate Everything !

  4. I'm Re-Amazed at your writing. What a great letter to self. Makes me reflective as well - what is worth sharing? What is worth leaving as surprise? Lovely, Cris. As Always.