Sunday, May 27, 2012

Melancholy Baby....or I Dare You to Try to Cheer Me Up

Does anyone else remember the wonderful episode of Twilight Zone in which an excruciatingly young and gorgeous Robert
Redford plays Death resplendent in a white suit?  He appears on some old lady's doorstep and she just isn't having anyof his nonsense even though it is her time and he has come to fetch her..... he has one helluva time for nearly an hour persuading her to go with him.

I remember thinking at the time how  brilliant and novel the idea of having Death represented by something/someone so deliciously attractive as a newly minted Robert Redford......breathtakingly  irresistible....instead of that tired old creature  wearing a sheet and carrying a scythe. 

 Amazingly, she managed to resist him for almost an entire hour despite my shouts of encouragement and lewd comments on her unbelievable idiocy.

I only bring up the subject  because, lately I have  been casting wistful eyes at my doorstep wondering if the same young, delicious Robert Redford is still playing that role and, if he is, where the hell is he?  Not, you understand, that I am necessarily anxious for the  Bitter End, but, after all this time of proudly proclaiming my age, I am finding that there is a huge difference between "going on 85" and actually becoming 85.....a situation I dolefully face this coming Tuesday.  No, no....never mind the messages of congratulation and the good wishes etc............I am too busy trying to figure out how the hell this could be happening to me.   I actually never planned to live   beyond the age of 72 because I could simply not imagine myself coping with writing letters, reports or checks dated anything  beyond 1999.........and, to be honest, it has not  been easy.    Occasionally, when my mind wanders, I find myself on the verge of writing March 12, 1933 as I recall laboriously scratching out that date at the top of a test paper in the 2nd grade at the
William Cullen Bryant Elementary School (corner of 60th St. and Cedar Ave in good old West Philly).

This entire train of thought was inspired, indulged and egged on by a fabulous post by one of my favorite Bloggers, the incomparable Mary of MurrMurrs, who did a fascinating treatise on
Adolph Hitler's parents, his ultimate fate (maybe ) and some unusual burial and cemetery customs in foreign countries.  I loved the blog except for the part mentioning Hitler whose name brings back wretched memories of the Big War in which I lost  friends and participated, in my small way, as an Air Raid Warden Messenger during real or practice Air Raids which happened periodically.  (I probably am one of the few readers to whom Hitler is not merely an abstract historical figure.)  I recall, like it was yesterday,  things like ration stamps and blackout curtains and the air raid sirens and patrolling the pitch black neighborhoods with my Air Raid Warden with a mixture of excitement and dread.  We each had a gas mask hanging from a strap on our shoulder (probably left overs from World War I) and a special whistle around our necks....I am  not sure what that was for or what good that would have done at all....and possibly a metal helmet...also leftover from WWI. I felt  freaky, scared and proud, I am not sure in what order.

However, my very favorite memory was of the night I finally got up the courage to ask the question which had been bothering me since we first began these patrols. (There was probably some sort of indoctrination given when we first volunteered, but I swear I do not remember it at all)  One especially dark night I cleared my throat nervously and asked him the big question.........

"If one of these happens to be a real Air Raid, how will we know and what are we supposed to do?"

I will never forget the way he looked down at me for a few moments with half a smile before he sighed and answered , ".......Damned if I know."


  1. I know that old Bob will know EXACTLY what to do when the time comes.

    Lo, please watch Woody Allen's "Radio Days". It's one of my favorites.

  2. You better stop all that grim reaper talk! I just made it to over 200 followers and I don't want to loose any readers!!

    Besides, I enjoy reading your posts.


  3. Well I will say Congratulations & Many Happy Returns for tomorrow, so there.

    I know I wasn't there for the war but I do respect those such as yourself who were, & those who are no longer with us, the ultimate sacrifice. To enable 'me' to live today. I worry though that the generation after me and then the next will not respect but that is a whole other subject. If any of that makes sense, I hope it does. I am not quite myself but my intentions are good.
    On Robert Redford .... he remains to me ever young and oh so gorgeous. Rather like you and I !

  4. well, I doubt Death and the elderly lady were going to hole up in a fancy hotel suite for a weekend before he took her to the great beyond, so why should a young attractive person be any more tempting than an old crone?

    My graet-aunt lived until 92. I gave her a State Bear of her state, which had a pocket on his chest to put the state quarter in. This was about five years before the state quarter was scheduled to come out. She confessed later that when I gave it to her, she never thought she would live to see that quarter come out, but she sure did. Miss you Aunt Alice.

    1. I rarely comment on comments, but I have to say this, Megan, my dear.

      I know I will have much less fear and trepidation and be a lot more comfortable if I am led away by a charming Robert Redford than by a scary skeleton in a sheet. But, that's just me....I don't even like scary can make your own choice.

  5. Well, at least he had the courage to be honest.

    Many happy returns of the day!

  6. I would love to hear the difference between going on 85 and actually becoming 85. Sounds like one long air raid drill. Oh, wait. That was the allegory for life. Have a good celebration and best regards.

  7. How did I ever get to be this old?

    At 63, I ask myself this already. I commend you on your continuing commentary.

  8. War had a different impact when citizens were asked to participate, sacrifice, buy war bonds, etc. As for age, I am closing in on 70 and while I didn't expect to die young I'm just surprised to be this age already. I love your spirit and your gritty sense of humor, and I hope it all helps keep you going strong. I do hope you'll go out to celebrate, and if I knew how to reach Mark Harmon I'd tell him to take you to lunch. All the best!

  9. Funny! I been A-Fibbing a lot recently and needed a little better attitude. Thanks and thanks for the award.... :)

  10. When I ask my mother how old she feels (she is 80) she still tells me "18" despite her hip replacement.

    My grandpa lived to age 100.

    I won't say Happy Birthday, but what I will say is:
    "Congratulations on another successful trip around the sun!"

    Now, doesn't that sound way more exciting??


  11. Happy Birthday celebration Lo! Don't rush off, even with R.R. - I'd miss you.

  12. Well, of course you are going to get birthday wishes because we love you, Lo.
    And that story- "Damned if I know."
    I love it!
    I'm glad you're here. I sure am.

  13. Dear Lois -

    While I am only 52, my own demise has been top of mind recently as I had colon cancer surgery 5 weeks ago today. Gulp.

    It made me think about the possibility of my own death sooner than I had expected. Fortunately, I am now cancer-free.

    Thanks to blogging, I can share with you my own thoughts on this subject, via this post...

    Regards and hopes for many more birthdays and the calm to just let them come,

  14. LO, you're the greatest!!! Nope,,I did not steal that line from the "Honeymooner.s" Just stating a fact,..The "damned if I know" bit from your life cracked me up..Thank you dear..The 29th may be your birthday, but you're the one passing out the gifts to all of us who adore your blogs, and you.

  15. Well Lo, your big day came and went. Hope you're nursing a hangover from a fabulous party with Mark and Magic. Do not feel obligated to reveal the details. Just know I am certainly curious to learn who gave you your birthday spankings.

  16. Happy Birthday Lois! Hope you had a great day!

    Here's are links to the Twilight Zone episode you referenced, in case you or your readers would like to see the young Robert Redford....

    Part 1:

    Part 2:

  17. Hi Lo, hope you had a good birthday and thanks for reminding me of that Twilight Zone episode, it was a corker.

  18. Loved that show. It was Agnes Morehead and I, too, wonder if D wont' be in a gorgeous white suit, too! Happy Birthday, belated but heatily felt.

  19. I didn't dare comment until your birthday was safely over with. Dear Lois, I hope in another fifteen or so birthdays Robert Redford will tap at your door and ask if it's okay if he came in to visit for another five years. Sadly, Lo, he kind of looks like crap now.

  20. PS second time in two days I've run into William Cullen Bryant. And both times, I thought he was the host of I've Got A Secret.

  21. My dear Lo, I watch Zone reruns when I iron and saw this episode just the other day. He was indeed dashing, and she so stubborn...I think I miss the dialog most from tv during that era. Taking the most mundane of scenery that cost nothing, but adding brilliant dialog with twists and turns....much more entertaining than what passes for programming today. (I think of the museum with the doll house people all the time! lol)

    I cherish your perspective Lo, you view the world through different eyes than most....I really love that. xo

  22. Although the header of my blog states that I am 65 and it was placed up there two years ago, I cannot summon up the courage to change it. I don't know how I got to be 65 much less 67...with 68 coming on.

    Thank you for giving bloggy birthday gifts to us to celebrate. You have presented me with the notion of me giving out gifts instead of receiving them. That'll screw their brains up.