Relatively Retiring got me thinking when she posted her "Where I'm From" a few days ago. She spoke of air raid sirens and food rationing in war time England. I can only imagine how terrifying it must have been---for everyone---but especially for small children.
I was about eight, and absolutely fascinated by these unexpected guests of the government. The most exotic person I had ever met was my mother's Uncle John, my Granny's younger brother, a movie star-handsome bachelor, who had traveled all the way to America and lived to tell the tale. When we visited out the country, he always told me I was "a saucy miss," which I took to be a terrible insult!
Fast forward a decade and a half and I found myself marrying a refugee of sorts.The fascination must have persisted! The OC was born in a German displaced persons camp after the war. His mother gave birth to him, his father heard he had a son and went off on a bender while the doctor said "Wait! There's more..." and along came his twin sister, Miss Oris! Many hours later, when he sobered up, The Prince learned he also had a daughter! Times were tough, food was scarce. The rations for a family of four were barely enough to keep one alive, but The Prince was enterprising, and charming, when he wanted to be, and soon had a brisk business on the side in contraband cigarettes, silk stockings, and French champagne. They didn't have much but they didn't starve. My refugee's first language was his parents' native Ukrainian. When they were six months old he and his sister became world travelers. The Prince had an uncle in South America so the family set sail....And spoke Spanish for six years, at which time they were able to come to the U.S. Another language to conquer! No wonder I was impressed. I spoke English well enough, Irish poorly, halting school-room French, and had a nodding acquaintance with the rudiments of Latin. He was way ahead of me, and since the brain is the sexiest organ in the body, I was smitten. Besides, he had brown eyes and no freckles!
Yesterday this linguist/refugee/Old Curmudgeon turned sixty five. Sixty. Five. The mind reels! Where did our lives go? (Of course I'm considerably younger than him, by at least ninety days....).Unfortunately he was out of hugging range, as he too often is. You might think he's ready now to sign on for Medicare, put his feet up more often, and hit the golf course a few times a week. We haven't been on rations for many a year now and there are no air raid sirens making us dive for cover. But old habits die hard. Working is how he defines himself, and he's not quitting yet. His next adventure will take him even further away, to Jolly Old England. His mission: to clean house at the British branch. You better watch out guys!
But he is taking his golf clubs.
And I will be visiting....
And if you haven't done so already, you should go read "Where I'm From" by Relatively Retiring.