After a month and a half of social isolation, I was getting depressed and--yes--almost desperate. As a writer, I love my privacy. But this was just too much isolation. I was bored and feeling trapped. Then through the window I saw a girlfriend of mine stroll by. She looked different. No white mask. Instead, a mask with colorful flower decorations.
Instantly, I felt happier. So I raced after her (keeping 4 feet of distance, of course), yelling, "Where did you get that?" She answered, "My son's friend; I've got plenty more."
So I followed her home. She dozens of masks laid out on the sofa in small plastic envelops in delightful designs: bold geometric patterns,a scattering of flowers, plain pale pink with tiny gold anchors, Florida scenes....
At $4 a mask, these were a great buy. I pawed through the pile and decided on two--for starters--to coordinate with some of my favorite outfits. Suddenly I felt like a woman again, focusing on fashion--not just that lethal enemy out there--COVID-19.
Of course, I wasn't the only woman thinking that way. Before long, I saw "fashion masks" everywhere--in Walmart, the CVS, Trader Joes, etc. Even when I went for a physical therapy tune-up, everyone had new masks (even the doctor) --color-coordinated, too. In fact, my own PT therapist actually looked prettier than ever in her mask! I guess it proves the point that: "You can't keep a good woman down."
Thinking about aging reminded me of my maternal grandmother Olive Abbott. She kept house for my family when I was young, since my artist parents were in New York City running a graphic design studio. She was a severe looking New Englander. But a superb cook, highly skilled seamstress, talented piano player who could belt out everything from Beethoven to Joplin--all by ear. (But, hush, she didn't want people to know she couldn't read music.) She taught me to sew and to bake, and every morning she prepared an egg on toast for me for breakfast in the kitchen right next to my bedroom.
Nana was beautiful to me. She had silver gray hair, a patrician look, and beautiful skin with transparent thin wrinkles that looked soft as silk.
When I was about eight years old I asked her an outrageous question. She had just turned 75 and I began thinking of what a great, long life she must have led. So I piped up, "Nana, why do you want to live longer? Haven't you lived long enough?" A long pause followed, so I knew I had said something wrong. But then my grandmother recovered her surprise and said, "No, everyone wants to live as long as they can, and I do too." Now, of course, I understand, and I wish I hadn't asked that question. But I'm happy to report that after that my wonderful, loving grandmother who taught me so much continued to live in almost perfect health for 14 more years to age of 89.
April W. Klimley