Thursday, July 9, 2020

Old Lady Sweaters

Up until recently, I had two old lady sweaters, both aqua, the color of pools in Florida, after the old ladies have moved there. Indeed, both had belonged to old ladies in Florida, ladies I loved. One belonged to my Grandma Sid, and I kept it as a souvenir of her life. It had big buttons (just a few), clean lines, and a large fold-down collar. I wore it till I wore it out, and then I said goodbye. The other one belonged to my mother-in-law, and I took this one to work to wear in the air conditioning. It's still there--I wore it today!--but the top button popped off, a yarn-covered button, and it sits in the bottom of my tote bag that reads, "I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie" until that possible Someday when I sew it back on. But first, I need to mend a ribbon (again) on one of my fabric masks.

I like big books, and I cannot lie. So I have to confess that this image is not my actual book bag, but a similar one. (And the colors remind me of Dunkin' Donuts.) I couldn't find an image of my actual book bag, which came from a library convention exhibits hall. And I have to tell you that as soon as I dedicated my summer to black authors, I realized I had been neglecting Richard Russo, an old white man. I've loved him since Straight Man (hilarious) and Nobody's Fool, and he's written lots of books since then that I failed to read. So now I am reading Chances Are... which is about old white men, but also when they were young. "Three goddamn old men," as it says on page 30.

It's also "an astute portrait of a thirty-year marriage, in all its promise and pain," according to a blurb on the book jacket. That, and my recent neglect of old white men in general, made me pick it up, soon after reading An American Marriage, a wonderful book by Tayari Jones. Everybody said it was wonderful, it was checked out all the time when it was new to the library, and we had two copies available, right after I finished Silver Sparrow, another wonderful book, about sisters, by Tayari Jones, so I snatched up and loved it all the way through.

So I am still reading black authors this summer, but, for a moment, this old white lady is reading an old white man. In the back yard on another hot day. As soon as I step away from this computer, in this cool lower-level home office, not wearing an old lady sweater.

UPDATE (weather and otherwise), next morning: truly cool now after a truly loud thunderstorm last night! Chances Are... is definitely not about "a thirty-year marriage, in all its promise and pain." Turns out that blurb is about That Old Cape Magic, info obscured by the necessary library item-number label! So, after Martha's Vineyard, I might have to head to Cape Cod.


Kim said...

I’ve read both of those Russo books I love his perspective. I want to read An American Marrisge...thanks for your recommendations

Collagemama said...

I liked Chances Are, and I really recommend Deacon King Kong.