Onward and Upward!

So guess what.

Yesterday I began my eighty-ninth year on this planet.

I’m 88 years old!

(I came out backwards. Been scatterbrained ever since.)

Recently the powers that be declared my birthday a national holiday. A meaningful one. Juneteenth is up there with Labor Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Cesar Chavez Day, Independence Day!

An activist for all the right causes from her college days, my mother would be pleased and proud.

We watched her last night in the movie she made when she was carrying me–I was in “Gold Diggers of 1935” (‘Ann Prentiss’s’ stomach was surprisingly flat as I was just a nubbin). While Dick Powell is always engaging and my mother was beautiful and charming, the story was a shambles and nobody put a lid on Busby Berkeley–a number with 56 white grand pianos is 55 white grand pianos too many. However, the innovative director’s segment of Winifred Shaw singing “Lullaby of Broadway”–a tiny dot on a black screen moves slowly toward us becoming larger and larger–more and more compelling–was said to be the favorite of all Berkeley created–still moves me.

How lucky can you be, watching the one that brung you to the party on the 88th anniversary of the party starting even though she has long since gone to her reward…?

I am privileged in a zillion ways.

I think of luck, how random, how unfair, I shake my grey head. So many–most–of the women and men I’ve been close to over the years did not make it to 88…

At any rate, onward and upward…upward and forward…forward with nose to the grindstone, head erect, tail over the dashboard…

I’ve found (here come the elder’s words of wisdom) the best propellants for forward motion are eight hours’ sleep, a daily walk, good real food, lots of water, time with friends, gratitude…and love.

Mostly love.

As it happens, Saturday Bill and I were fortunate to hear a Catalonian priest speak of a man he’d known in his youth who was later declared a saint.

The priest said, shaking his head, “The instant I met him, I felt accepted. Loved. Everything he did–everything–was about love.”

I feel that way with my abundant birthday gifts and greetings. So much love come my way. I am profoundly grateful.

Interesting how the subconscious works. In those early hours when you’re trying to decide if you’re going to get up now or in half an hour, yesterday for no reason a friend I’d once been very close to popped into my head. A dozen years ago she did something unbelievably hurtful, offensive, I was stunned, couldn’t bear to see her, cut her off. She let a year go by, one day called–no apology, no regret–to ask, “Now can we be friends again?” I said, “Sorry. Cannot.” I had no stomach for it.

Now at eighty-eight there’s no time to be self-indulgent. I’ll write and apologize for my absence of caring. Move forward…

Just wanted to check in, share my happiness, thank you for dropping by…

Hey, maybe your birthday will be declared a holiday, too! You never know.


7 Comments. Leave new

  • Happy birthday, Sylvia. Nothing like having your birthday declared a federal holiday. You deserve it. I think my birthday might be a holiday in Britain, since it is also the King’s birthday. Sharing my day with Aaron Copeland gives me more pleasure than poor old Charles. But it does mean that my big brother gets a reminder on the news each year that he needs to wish his sister happy birthday. I hope you keep writing, Sylvia. I always enjoy your words.

  • Linda Charman
    June 21, 2023 5:54 pm

    Ever Sylvia. So glad you are part of my life.

  • Laura Escovar
    June 23, 2023 2:24 pm

    Sylvia.. so happy to come across your blog. I have fond memories of Gloria and the Brentwood house and garden. I decided to see if your were writing and found that you just celebrated another birthday.. I was house sitting there many moons ago. Loving ylovin this blog

  • Beverley Whittaker
    June 25, 2023 1:34 pm

    Loved what you wrote. Can just picture you and Bill enjoying the film.


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