As I engage in the distractions of summer (gardening, cycling, golfing, socializing), I continue to puzzle my way through the lives of the four elderly women who are the characters in “The Memory Boxes.” Their lives are full and interesting, probably because they still have each other to watch out for, to be challenged by, and to be entertained by. That observation made me realize that with their husbands gone, through death or divorce, that men may well be a topic of conversations from time to time.
Men may come up in different contexts—as a memory (father, brother, teacher etc), a friend, a colleague, a pest, a handyman, a cheat, a partner (bridge, golf, tennis) and as a current romantic interest. The latter then made me wonder about sexuality and the older woman (late 70’s-early 80’s). For the three that have been widowed, I have many questions like:
- How do they bridge that transition from long marriage to widowhood to “dating”?
- Once dating, how do they move toward a full expression of their sexuality?
- How, when gravity has had time to re-shape their figures, do these women manage the exposure and familiarity of “getting between the covers” for the first time?
- Once successfully in bed, what are the accommodations necessary for arthritic joints, amputations etc?
As I try to imagine these situations I can feel a nervous giggle beginning much like used to happen whenever another one of my brothers was being baptized. As a pre-teen and teenager, my mortification was that my parents were standing in front of the congregation, and the minister, holding the product of their mating for everyone to see. The warning quivers of a nervous giggle make me worry that I may never be mature enough to write about sex and the older woman!
Readers, if you have insights/books/movies to offer, I welcome them. Here is one article that I think is wonderful….