“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” So said Albert Camus, and he would know.

And here am I in my second spring at 72.  It is strange to see the wrinkles and sags in the mirror and not feel them in my brain.  Is the gray matter crisping or crumbling?  Those little memory lapses we get at this age, the nauseatingly labeled “senior moments”–is the locus of memory like Swiss cheese, firm and resilient in some places, an empty space in others incapable of coughing up that word I’m searching for, as ordinary as a green bean?

A short while ago, my husband came into the room and asked, “In a song, what do you call the parts between the chorus?” “Verses?” I said.  He nodded, and we exchanged a look of grim amusement.  It is baffling and ridiculous.  And scary, always that fear lurking, is this it? dementia? the first signs?  Every age has its terrors.

In my first spring, it was nuclear holocaust:  the U-2 incident, Bay of Pigs, Berlin Crisis, Cuban Missile Crisis.  All the young men incessantly discussed their options–stay in school, sign on for graduate work, get married, have a baby.  Nobody back then talked about burning their draft cards or fleeing to Canada.  Most eventually served in the armed forces, one way or another, one as a seaman, another as an officer, a third, much later, as a Navy doctor after the Navy helped pay for medical school.  My brother was excused for deafness, another friend for asthma.  Rumor ran rife. –Tell them you’re a homosexual or a Red, they won’t take you.–Yes, but then it’s on your record, you’ll never get a job.  Rather than wait in limbo for the ax to fall, most signed on to get it over with.

And we young women, were we happy to be excused? A bit envious of the serious grown-up choices before them? Most of us had little encouragement to do anything but get married.  College was a way to find a husband, not an intellectual passion or a career.

So long ago, now.  So much came after.  We pick and choose our memories, sifting through the basket for the glowing ripe peach, the perfect pear, the crisp and shiny apple.  But sometimes the real stories are in the bruises.

I am 72 years old and have been sober since March 26, 2009, with grateful thanks to LifeRing Secular Recovery, especially the people on the Delphi forum.

Welcome to my autumn blog:  age, alcoholism, politics, relationships, the parade of life.

Contact: recoveringlife4@gmail.com


16 Responses to About

  1. runningonsober says:

    What an amazing story I’m sure you have to tell. I’m very happy to have found you here in the vast lands of the Internet.

    May I add you to my blog roll of recovery links?

    And if I may I ask, have you written about your decision to get sober facing your “second spring?” While I respect any who make the life choice to get sober, I am especially in awe of those who make it early in life and those who do so later on in their years. I think both would take a special sort of self-awareness and strength.

    Thank you so much for writing.

    • sswl says:

      Aww, thanks so much for your kind comments. I’d be very pleased to be added to your blogroll.
      I wrote quite a lot about deciding to and getting sober on another site. I’ll send the link to your blog’s gmail.

  2. Lisa Neumann says:

    I just “found” you in the blogoshere.You’ve a new subscriber. I love how you write. Lisa

  3. runningonsober says:

    You are two of my favorite blogging ladies! Glad you found each other!

  4. mishedup says:

    I got sober March 21, 2011, at 57 years old.
    Grateful for your blog…..

  5. Have never been an alcoholic but I admire your courage and your sincerity, lovely blog revealing a lovely lady with a beautiful heart. God bless all your Autumn days.

  6. Lisa Neumann says:

    Susan, Where can I send a personal message? Lisa

  7. You write beautifully. I read this and other about the books you’ve been reading and asking others if they know of anything else … and please forgive me if I missed this but have you thought of writing your own book? Sometime the answer is in the outflow, the letting happen what will come, and it teaches something that starts the process of a new change, within change. I lived through situational depression, from Lyme disease, years of it and am happily through the other side. Advise is so hard to do because I don’t always know if I’m recommending because it’s for me or the other. For me, to not feel helpless with another, for the other if by some miracle I pay attention and get what they’re really asking. I sincerely wish you well. Paulette

    • sswl says:

      Thanks so much for your comments, Paulette, and for the encouragement about writing. It’s a good suggestion–I do seem to work things out that way.

      I was so interested in the preview pages of your novel (on Amazon), as my father grew up in a small town in northwestern Nevada in the early 1900s that your fictionalized town sounds very like. I’ve put your book on my ‘to read’ list. Are you familiar with Sharing Fencelines, a memoir by three women who spent much of their lives in rural areas of northern Nevada and California? Lovely writing, and a fascinating glimpse of ranching life.

      So nice to have ‘met’ you. Happy New Year.


  8. julie says:

    thank you for sharing your important memories and wisdom from your “first spring”. your writing is so magical that it leaves me feeling lonely for a way of life that happened before me. please keep on writing – todays world needs your stories – and the gifted way to tell them
    warmly, julie

  9. runningonsober says:

    You’ve been on my mind. Just wanted to let you know. I think of you often,

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