Time in a Bottle

When I was a little girl, I remember many Sundays when I would spend the entire hour or so while attending Mass dreaming about what adventures Jen’s and my paper dolls were going to have that afternoon after we got home. Our Betsy McCall paper dolls had been carefully cut out of Mom’s McCall’s magazine, and were awaiting our return to begin doing whatever it was I dreamed up instead of listening to Father Regis’ homily. Perhaps if I had been listening to the homily, I might know why and what Jesus was scribbling in the dirt before telling the folks that they were all sinners, a question that I have always had about John: 8-11.

I’m not sure why that memory of my naughty daydreaming popped into my mind yesterday afternoon. We had gotten home following a morning of medical appointments. I had just laid down on our bed to take a short nap because that morning when I got out of bed, the first number on the clock was a 4. I am not sleeping well these days. Too much on my mind.

But I remembered those paper dolls, which then caused me to go down the childhood rabbit hole of memories. I wonder what I would have thought if someone had told me that 60 years from one of those paper doll adventures, I was going to be spending many of my days traveling from one side of Denver to the other at a variety of physical therapy and medical appointments.

In fact, if I could have seen 60 years into the future, I would probably have taken better care of myself. Perhaps brushed my teeth more thoroughly. Maybe gotten into the habit of drinking more water. Eaten apple slices and a glass of milk after school instead of walking to Potter’s Market and mooching penny candy from my Aunt Cork, who worked there as a clerk.

At the end of this month, I will be attending my 50th high school class reunion. Fifty years since I moved the green tassel from one side of my graduation cap to the other. I haven’t missed a class reunion since that time, and — God willing — I won’t be missing this one. We all went through life in similar manner. We went to college or got a job, many of us married (some of us more than once, unfortunately), we had kids (or perhaps nieces and nephews), we worked hard for our money, we turned middle age, our kids left home, we retired, we started receiving Social Security and Medicare. We had a passel of grandkids, who made everything before that seem worthwhile.

Yikes. Life has a way of sneaking up on us when we aren’t looking.

At this year’s reunion, we will all probably look much older. We will be sharing photos of our kids and our grands. We will complain about what the world’s come to, and can you believe what they put on television these days? We will share COVID stories. We will mourn those classmates we’ve lost. We will eat dinner early because we don’t want to drive in the dark.

I don’t miss those days of playing paper dolls with my sister. Still, you blink, and you’re 68. Enjoy every minute of every day.

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