Sunday, September 27, 2009


Joycie was always beautiful, dynamic and opinionated. I used to sit on her couch in the tiny living room listening to the stories of what happened during her day, who said what, did what. Was that in 1972? Somewhere around there.

She's here visiting Orson and Jim. They went out, so while she was eating the rice and roast that Jim had heated up for her before he left, she told me stories about now, in her apartment in New York. And oddly, now was quite a bit like then. With many people coming to her door, sitting in the kitchen or living room, talking to her. Now it's the three women who come to do little things -- take her out, clean a bit, help her shower. One is from Africa, she forgets just where.  One is Spanish. The other is from somewhere else. Each has a story to tell, something about children, about families, about problems and difficulties. And there's a new tenant living across the hall who comes in to talk to her. He lost his job. He got another one. And the woman next door, a nurse, who used to do Joycie's laundry. And Joe who moved from 11th Street, but still comes by to see her. And there's the guy from Jamaica who scraped the pipe in her living room and painted it. And the new super who is very, very  nice. His grandchild comes with him sometimes and Joycie bought her a doll about this big.

She will be ninety on December 4th. When we met, I had no idea that we both would get old. I was just fascinated by her audacity, the way she juggled jobs to support her children, was determined to get them the best educations so that they could have opportunities she couldn't have had.  

There was a difficult period of time not all that long ago when she wasn't at all pleased about this aging process. But both of her children, Orson and Roma, managed it very well, supporting her with good help and calm care. It's just amazing to see the adjustment she's made.

And to still be listening to her stories.

And to hear how many people she's listening to and telling stories to.

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