Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Growing Older. Still Writing. @MaddieJames #RomanceGems

Hi. This is me at age 13 or 14 or so. I found this picture yesterday and I am dubbing it the "first selfie known to man."

Today is my birthday.

Not a book birthday but my real birthday. I was always one to say that age didn't really matter to me and I didn't mind having a birthday. Actually, I like that I'm having one. So many of my classmates from school are not so fortunate.

I will admit, however, that I'm often feeling the effects of 64 years on the planet. You know, achy knees, fighting the menopause gut, adjusting to taking new meds. Social Security started this year for me, and next year, Medicare!

How did this happen? I mean, in my heart and head, I'm still that girl in the picture up there.

Yesterday, while cleaning the garage, I came upon a box that I've been moving from house to house for years. It was marked, "Kim's school stuff." (Kim is my legal name.) I decided to open it and see what was inside. It was an interesting collection: 

  • my 7th grade music folder;
  • my marching band flute music holder;
  • my Camp Fire Girl's loom;
  • a Cincinnati Reds pennant;
  • more school notebooks (anyone need Earth Science notes from 1972?);
  • piano sheet music from the 60s/70s (all groovy);
  • a half-empty scrapbook;
  • two hymnals (I don't know why I saved these);
  • a new testament Bible (one of those little red ones);
  • a photo album of pictures I took with my first camera--a Polaroid;
  • and my human hair fall. 
Yeah. That last one is interesting. For those young whippersnappers who might not know what a fall is, it's just a long hair wig, sort of. I remember when I got it -- 8th grade. I'd cut my long hair short and hated it. My mom took a snip of my hair and gave it to my grandmother, who was a beautician, and she sent it off to have the fall made to match my hair. It finally came and I couldn't wait to try it on. You had to pin it to your head and wear a head band around it to not only hold it on, but not show where your real hair left off and the fake (human) hair started. I remember wearing that awkward thing to school more than once.

Can I just say, here and now, that I'm totally fine with my old, graying hair and that I'm really glad I don't feel like I need to wear a fall any longer? And, was my hair ever really that red? I guess dead human hair doesn't turn gray--this thing is nearly 50 years old! And the other question is this--what does one do with a 50-year-old, human-hair, well-preserved fall? 

But back to the birthday thing. The walk down memory lane yesterday made me smile at times, and brought some tears too. This picture of my parents in our old kitchen, made me both smile and cry. I miss my mom, and I miss my more youthful dad. They look so darned young in this picture and at the time, I'm sure I thought they were old fuddy-duddies. 

My mother hated her birthdays. You didn't mention it. At all. She especially didn't like turning 80, and she passed a few weeks after her birthday. I remember vividly the day she turned 30, and it was not a pretty day.

I'll take 64 and run with it--achy knees and all--hopefully to 80 and beyond. Hopefully healthy and still writing. After all, writing is the legacy we writers leave behind. Right?  

I like this Bon Jovi quote. Just substitute the word story or book for "song" and I think we could say this is true. Our stories are our legacy, and I want to live long enough to tell all of the ones that are still in my head!

I hope everyone has a super day. No book promotion today--just the post. But feel free to visit me at my website any time!


  1. I love this. My birthday this year, my 70th, was the 1st one I've dreaded since...I don't know, maybe 50, and it's such a waste of time. It is, as all the memes tell you, just a number. And life has been every bit as much fun since that day as it was before. Loved your memories. What a gorgeous couple your folks were!

    1. Liz, you and I are the same age this year. Congrats!

  2. Kim/Maddie! I didn't know you were a Campfire Girl! I was too! I thought the Bluebird uniforms were prettier than the Brownie ones.

    1. Yes. My sister was a Bluebird. I was jealous of her little blue vest and beanie!

  3. Happy Birthday!! It's great going through old stuff and the memories that go with them. I moved from a bigger house to a very small camp a few years ago and needed to go through so many boxes. My stuff as well as my kids' stuff. It's so hard to throw away the past but unfortunately we don't always have room to keep it.
    I hope you have a wonderful day!!

    1. Thanks, Kari. You too! Yes, I am making some hard decisions on what to toss!

  4. Happy Birthday, Maddie. Maybe you should add to your memory collection. That might be fun. Enjoy every minute. And so true about that perfect song (change to book) you found. Here's to many more years and stories!!

  5. Happy Birthday Kim! That's the name I met you as. What a wonderful post and terrific attitude. None of us are getting any younger, and it's all in how we deal with it.

    1. Thanks, Kath. And I hesitate to say how long ago that was? Over 20 years I'm sure. I treasure our friendship!

  6. Maddie, we're the same age! For days I heard Paul McCartney's classic...until I told him to shut the heck up? (I may not have said heck) but did it bother me? Not really. The next one likely will, though. I recall my mom turning 65 and hating it...she never, ever felt old. I hope I'm like that! Keep'll keep your mind focused and sharp.

  7. Happy birthday! Today is my sister's birthday! Enjoyed the post! It was fun strolling through your childhood.

  8. Wishing you a belated Happy Birthday, Maddie. Hope you celebrated in style.


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