Saturday, January 29, 2022

1970 and 2022

I saw a meme informing us that 1970 and 2022 is the same span of years apart as 1918 and 1970. For some reason, that hit me hard. My Aunt Winnie was born in 1918 and she is long gone. And she was old and beyond frail when she died. One of the last understandable sentences she spoke was "I stayed too long." It haunts me. Meanwhile, I fully recall where I was in 1970, laughing with my friends at the Queen's School, the beach days with cousins at Doctor's Cave, the time spent dreaming on my bed at 37 Paddington Terrace, the door to my little private terrace open to a gentle breeze, the leaves of the mango tree beyond it rustling like maracas, my dogs, Ringo and Sly, dozing on the cool green terrazzo tile squares of my tiny furniture-free patio. As a teen, my brother used to knock at this door at night when he got home after curfew, and I would let him in, holding my breath as he tip toed to his bedroom on the other side of the house, with our parents none the wiser. And on afternoons after school, I sprawled at the foot of my bed doing homework, warmed by a slant of sun that found me through the open door, and I was keenly aware of my privilege, especially compared to my best friend, who was growing up in a Catholic children's home on Constant Spring Road. The photo is of me in 1970.

Flash forward to 2022. It's snowing today, with a foot of fine powdery flakes expected, not wet enough to cling to branches, but light enough to blow everywhere, accumulating in huge drifts. My niece and goddaughter Dani starts a new job next week, a rather amazing one that has everyone slapping her on the back proudly, knowing she richly deserves it, and that this company, a prominent one in the entertainment field, showed great discernment in hiring her as its social media coordinator. A lovely footnote is she had applied to this same company just out of college in 2019, but didn't get a call back, and this time despite the fact that more than 3,000 people applied, and she sent her application in as a lark, she was the one the judged most qualified, and good on them. They could not have chosen a more conscientious and creative soul to join their team. She is a wonderful writer, too, and a delightful human, as you can see for yourself from her latest post at Living Life Like...

Dani's last day at her previous job as the editorial and social media coordinator for a travel website was a week ago, and she decided to spend the interval before starting the new position next Monday with her cousin (my daughter) in Boston. The two of them have been having a wonderful time doing the town. I'm going to share some of the photos Dani has been posting, because I'm just so impressed by her ability to distill what she sees around her into images of poignant beauty.

And here are my niece and my daughter, enjoying breakfast in a Boston diner, out and about exploring their world, as twentysomethings still do in the time of plague. No judgment here, just a prayer they stay safe. I've noted that even the most responsible young people bow to an imperative to pursue very social lives. No doubt it is the nature of youth. From my distance of years, I remember it well. 


  1. I saw that meme too and I could hardly bear to think about it. How can that be?
    Oh yeah, math.
    What wonderful, terrific news for your niece! I am not surprised, knowing the work-ethics and talents and brilliance of your family. Big congratulations to her!
    I love that picture of you. You were already so obviously engaged with the world, so curious, so focused. So determined. And you followed those dreams you had in that room with its tiny terrazzo floored porch all the way to NYC where you now are a shining light to those who follow you, just as your Aunt Winnie was.
    What an amazing family.

  2. Beauty and good news all around, yet I honed in on your aunt's words as I've recently heard "too long" from my 95-year-old mom who is ready to "just disappear." Life gets too hard, and they grow so weary that even chewing food is work. My mom will leave us with good memories and gratituude for her good mind. Thank you so much for your blog - every aspect is high quality. I recognize that and the effort you devote to sharing your life with all of us. Kim in PA

  3. The young are immortal, or so they believe. We all believed life was endless at one time.

    Congrats to your niece. She must be so excited and proud, quite an accomplishment.

    And the snow, sigh. We've had our fair share of it, it's somebody else's turn now:)

  4. Dani truly does have "the eye" for photography. It's so cool that they get to hang out in such a wonderful place before starting the new job.

    I just read Dani's June 10, 2020 post and it made me cry. She's a powerful writer.

  5. Congratulations to your niece! Such wonderful news for her and the family. It is wonderful to see her and your daughter enjoying a meal together. It's so important to try and find some sense of normalcy in these crazy times. I hope everyone stays safe and healthy. Take care there during the storm.

  6. Let's see, in 1918 my uncle Hugh Cleage was born in Detroit. He left when he was 88.
    In 1979 I gave birth to my oldest child and first daughter. I was 23. Now she will be 52 this year and I will be 76. That was a very fast 52 years.

  7. Lovely. I am on the little patio and feeling the warm breeze. You put me there.

    Two beautiful young women living life. I’m afraid I did not live in the present back then. I wish I had.

  8. I can see your son in your face in that 1970 photo. Congratulations to your niece. But what I really want to know is what did they put the ketchup on?

  9. It cheers me so to see the beautiful smiles on those young faces! Congratulations Dani! Best of luck on the renovations.

  10. Best of luck to your niece in her new job. That is exciting for her!
    Time goes by so quickly, doesn't it?

  11. I'm glad that the Young are trying to go about Life as the Young just should, even in these turbulent and terrifying times. Seeing two lovely Young Women enjoying Life is uplifting. Looking back at our own Youth there is so much I can't really recall so vividly anymore, but which, we did preserve some of via Images capturing Moments in Time to reflect upon later.

  12. Wonderful photo of you in 1970. My perception is that you've been true to your younger self. I see how your younger self has matured and kept the light you had in 1970. What an astonishing 50 years it has been.

    In 1918, my mother's father returned from serving in World War I as a doctor. In 1970, my R returned from Vietnam after serving in the U.S. Army as a helicopter mechanic. In 2020, all over the world, we entered the time of COVID.

    Knowing that your daughter and niece are thriving in 2022 is a joy. What love has given us, no one can take away. Thank you so much.

  13. Hopes and dreams do come true. Look at those happy faces enjoying their time together in Boston. Congratulations to Dani for having the talent and great skills to land a dream job.

  14. Beautiful women...Have you a favorite Jamaican or Caribbean author?