Looking into the mirror today, I hardly recognize the person looking back at me. So I think perhaps a little snip here, a little tuck there, and I might like the look of that stranger in the mirror. After all, some of my friends have had a bit of work done. Why not me? Then I realize, that’s not who I am or ever was. If I don’t look in the mirror (and there are many days that I don’t), I still see myself as that tall, thin, gangly teenaged tomboy. And truthfully, except for the occasional ache or pain, I still feel that way.
There have been times in my life when someone has said that I was pretty, but I never believed it. If a friend said it, I thought they were just being kind. If a boy, or later, a man said it, I assumed they wanted to bed me. I never did the girlie-girl thing like my much prettier older sister. Throughout my life, the most make up I’d consent to is a bit of eye shadow and mascara.
A few years ago, Dante and I made our 4th trip to Ireland and for the 2nd time we stayed in Cashel and had a private tour of Coolmore Stud Farm, where the most famous race horses go to make more famous race horses. Dante is a passionate follower of thoroughbred racing and knows all the great names. I like the horses too but that trip I wanted to explore the West Coast of Ireland, so after seeing the horses we drove down to the Dingle Peninsula, where we stayed in a lovely B&B right on the sea. We walked the beach, although it was cold and windy and then with me driving and Dante navigating, we set out to explore the peninsula.
Then off to the Wild Atlantic Way, stopping at the Cliffs of Moher and ending up in Galway, where I finally got to put my feet in Galway Bay, memorialized in my favorite Irish song.
On the way south-west from Cashel, we stopped in Naas for lunch at Kavanagh’s, a typical Irish pub. On the wall above our table, I noticed a photo of the wedding scene from the movie The Quiet Man, with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. There were other photos from the movie and I asked the waitress if the film was made near Naas. She told me it was filmed in Cong, a small island town closer to Galway, but that the pictures were there at Kavanagh’s because the horse that was used in the film belonged to her uncle. Everyone in Ireland knows of that film and there’s a museum in Cong that we didn’t get to see that trip. I remember seeing that film in 1952, and although my more feminist friends would be horrified at some of the scenes, I liked it then and I still like it now.
But the reason I mention it today, is that the expression on the face of Maureen O’Hara in the wedding photo ( like me, Maureen is looking to her right. She has her mouth open in surprise?. Maybe she was just reacting to the Best Man kissing her) struck a chord with me and I took a photo of the photo.
When we got home, I dug out a picture of me taken during my wedding. In it, I am looking to my right, or perhaps a little behind me, and my expression seems to say that someone either did or said something that was a bit puzzling. I have no idea now what that might have been, but I thought there was a resemblance between me and Maureen O’Hara. Over half-way through my eighth decade, Looking at my picture, I think “Not so bad, Maybe even pretty”!
12 replies on “A Distant Time-A New Perspective”
Two things : first of all you were absolutely beautiful ( and your husband handsome too)…
Then, getting older I have the same feeling of you: my spirit and essence are the same but my body does not follow .
That is sad to me together with the thought that life is passing quickly.
Anyway, I am a little bit “down” today but outside the sun is shining, it is a wonderful, bright and warm day ….
I always enjoy your stories. Yes, we are all getting older and our bodies are not what they use to be. However, our spiritual souls are vibrant, loving and full of enjoyment. Glad that you and Dante are partners as you age. With love, Jeff
Mary, lovely way to wind a story around a thought that so many of us have as we age. You take us on a little trip with you and bring us back Home. Home is were we ultimately settle and find our truest selves and that my friend is always beautiful.
Mare, I always thought you beautiful, your stunning white hair, from so young, before anyone else had even grey, the intelligence in your eyes, your cheekbones and great nose that make you my most photogenic friend, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you these things earlier to offset a bit of the negativity about your appearance that was instilled in you from childhood. I too liked my appearance better when I was younger but I like myself much more now. Great little piece of writing Smaht girl.
A lovely piece on a shared experience. I am reading “The Emigrants” by W.G. Sebald, and your piece reminds me of it a bit–the travel, the photos, and the sparking of memories. And you remain a striking woman.
I always enjoy your little stories of days gone by, they bring back fond memories of my past as well, I have some good news for you. I am in my middle late 7th decade and a year younger than Tom. Elsie is my age or a year younger.
Soooo, i think you are admitting to more years than you have, (enjoy these extra years I gladly bestow upon you.)
I have been wondering about you for a while, with this virus. I see Italy was hit pretty hard, and I was concerned for you and Dante. I think of you two often because you are living my dream of a life in Italy, (albeit a Little bit North) I haven’t heard from Elsie in a while. I think she is not in New England any more but I don’t know. I never think to ask my sister Betty Ann when i talk to her. All my older siblings are gone. I am living in North Carolina, three years now. It is quite the experience. I’m sure you would not like it. I’m not crazy about it, but my daughter and grandchildren are here here and I can drive to Pennsylvania to visit my son. Be safe and well my friend say hello to your sibs for me..
I am 76 years old, so that puts me into my 8th decade. I thought Tom was a year younger than you. It was always Elsie an you, me and Tom going to the pool in Charlestown. Elsie has moved back to Ohio to be with the bulk of her family. There are more of them than you could count, but she’s happier there. She has some health problems now and has to be on oxygen a lot. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org . She’d love to hear from you.
We’re slowly getting back to almost normal here in Tuscany. Yesterday was the first day with no new cases. So that’s good news. You’re right, I wouldn’t much like NC. Take care, Mary
Great story ,I do t like the mirror either . I really like the short stories from your life love Elsie
Hi Mary, boy, that’s one way of getting complements! All kidding aside, u know I’m not a good writer so I’m stealing Sue Walsh’ comment. I agree with everything she said! U know I enjoy reading all your writings. I also like reading all the comments from others. so that’s a double.
We won’t discuss my body but my face is still looking younger than I am. Regardless of all my aches & pains I still consider myself luckier than a lot of people. Say hi to Dante. Take care. “LUV” Patty
Hi Mary, As a friend (cousin) of a friend (Patty), I’ve enjoyed your writing creativity for some time. I am pleased to become a follower on this most enjoyable journey!
I remember you. Patty keeps me apprised of all her family. Thanks for subscribing. Now you can read all the little stories I’ve written, and you will receive an email when I post a new story.