And so it all comes to an end, my great American Adventure (only joking of course it doesn’t) with a cup of coffee from Mr. Peet’s place in the departure lounge at JFK. Joanna Harris had taken me to the original store in Berkeley and of course she had known him as she had known John Cage and Merce Cunningham and…Joanna catapulted me east out of California with two challenges: to learn to waltz and to find ‘community’. The former has proved to be more challenging than the latter. Joanna, I really did try to embrace and move with the chairs in my hotel rooms –One two and three and one, two…maybe back in London in the arms of my wife.
So packing my bags what do I take? What do I leave behind? The leave behind bit is easy.
I wanted take a whole collection of words: ‘older people, seniors, elders, pensioners, the 50+’, and neatly wrap them up in a plastic bag and leave them behind in the bin under the sink in my hotel room. It just becomes awkward. Why, for instance, do we always have to attach the name of a disease to certain groups of people when we talk about them? It’s like Angie Terranova says:
“You don’t really think about getting older. First of all your aging together and when you see a person constantly you don’t notice the big changes. You don’t notice, oh, you are getting a little wrinkle here and tomorrow you say it’s a little deeper. These things just happen. You don’t pay attention to these things. I mean I’m not thinking everyday, oh my husband is 83 years old and my goodness I’m married to an old man.’
Back in Brooklyn I had stumbled upon a beautiful portrait of Angie and her husband in an exhibition of photographs in the Public Library. Photographer Lauren Fleisham’s ‘Love ever after’ is a personal project about love and aging. She brilliantly captures this ‘being together intimateness’ of Brooklyn couples who have lived together for over 50 years. ‘What will survive of us is love’ says Larkin. Here is the evidence. These relationships are timeless. You are left wondering: ‘what’s age got to do with it?” In another portrait Mariya Gostssinnaya and her husband stand on Brighton Beach. They walk on the boardwalk together three miles every day.
“What’s the secret to love? A secret is a secret and I don’t reveal my secrets” says Mariya.