About this series: I revisited my journals from my first year as a freelance writer and found they told a story of their own. In this series I get the rare opportunity to give myself and other writers career advice with nearly 50 years of hindsight. Enjoy!
This Thanksgiving weekend, we’ll gather the family for a celebration that is becoming smaller and more tenuous each year. We’ve lost all of the Greatest Generation and two-thirds of the Boomers through death or distance.
Now the next generation goes over the river and through the woods to our house. They’re living their own lives in diverse locations, and we’re grateful when they can join us.
In 1979, the next generation was me, returning to my childhood home. Recently divorced, my mother lived alone but gathered her family close around her. As her only son, I was there. So were her parents, and her brother and sister-in-law. Their only son — my cousin — and his wife rounded out the guest list.
She served turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, creamed onions, and her specialty — cinnamon apples, a special treat we still make for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Dessert was usually pumpkin or mince or apple pie, or often all three.
Afterward, I took the time to count my blessings at the end of a long and adventurous year:
I have much to be thankful for: my family, splintered though it is; health, worried though I am by troubles with my left arm; my job, complain though I might about its schedule; my friends, confused as they all are; my love, renewed and restored but insecure and somewhat inept; and my future, bright and promising, although somewhat uncertain right now. My worries are really blessings, and I am happy for the stimulation — even the stimulation of boredom — I received today. Praise God!Journal, Volume III
22 November 1979
Today, 44 years later, the list is much the same although the details are different. Family is distant, though not splintered by divorce. Health is good — I’ll tell you more about the arm in future posts. My job is different now and being my own boss is hard. My friends have mostly figured themselves out, but we’ve grown apart. My true love (not the infatuation of which I wrote) has lasted nearly 50 years and still goes strong.
Another thing that’s still unchanged: My worries are really blessings. That’s good advice from a 24-year-old to himself a half-century later.