Body and Mind
Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon. She wasn’t looking to make history; she only wanted to run. But in 1967 the marathon was closed to women. So she entered as “K.V. Switzer” and ran in disguise for four miles until the race director, Jock Semple, jumped off the press truck and shouted, “Get the hell out of my race!” The picture of him trying to rip the number off her chest made headlines.
We’ve been married nearly forty years, but we are still learning from my parents what love looks like: How it moves. All the shapes it takes. Though my parents can no longer care for themselves, they care for each other.
Reflection: Them, Me Like it or not — and, really, I don’t like it — w…
The story begins with a message on Facebook: “I’m looking for Wayne Scott from the Baltimore area. A Navy veteran, about seventy-two or seventy-three. A relative of yours by any chance?” A phone call to my mother confirms that my father, whose name I inherited and who was close-lipped about his past, had dropped out of high school and joined the Navy when he was seventeen.
But what daughter wouldn’t be unnerved by such foreshadowings of the time when her mother won’t be able to take care of herself; when she will have to be cooked for, spoon-fed, helped out of bed, cleaned in the most private of ways? You want your mother to be there to take care of you, to wipe away a smudge with her spit, to make you dinner, to catch you before you fall.
My tester asks me to take a seat in the waiting room while she reviews my score. She wants to see if I have missed anything. I want to tell her I missed my fifties, skipped that whole section of my life, lived anesthetized for a decade, ten years on autopilot — years you think will continue to replicate themselves, dull and identical, until you die. Then the serious aging starts, and you know your fifties as gold poorly spent.