From there my mind wandered to my grandmothers. For my mother’s mother, Holly Dunaway, age 43 would have meant the year was 1954 – she had two children 14 and 10 (my mom) and owned her own nursery school in Bellaire, Texas. My father’s mom, Betty Bash, was 43 in 1962. My dad was a freshman in college just as I was when my mom turned 43. Betty had two other boys at home, one in high school one in junior high and was an avid Red Cross volunteer.
I can recite the facts of their lives easily enough, but what any of these women were actually going through in their lives is completely unknown to me. Even for my own mother. Were they happy, were they experiencing a mid life crisis, going through menopause, participating in the social and political changes around them?? I have no idea, or at least very fuzzy ideas and I wish I knew more. (Such is the plight of a genealogist always!)
Why am I suddenly wondering this? Probably because 43 is often the true midpoint of a life. Holly was just shy of her 82nd birthday when she died in 1993. Betty was almost 90 in 2009 when she passed away. My mother didn’t make it past 67 in 2011 thanks to years of smoking. So it’s a natural time to ponder these things. Plus I always think of my mom most on my own birthday for some reason.
It's possible that my kids will wonder what was going on in my life at 43, but I won’t give them the chance ;) I’ve decided to write each of them a letter telling them about me/them/my life as it stands on "my birthday" 2013. I won’t give this letter to them right away because the 3 year old will only color on it and the 14 year old will make paper airplanes out of it. But someday (maybe 21?) they will at least be mature enough to keep it even it if it’s not yet interesting to them. I will even suggest to them that they do the same for their children when they turn 43 – or at whatever birthday the feel the simultaneous tug of both age and youth.
Copyright (c) 2013, Family at Your Fingertips, Jodi Bash