Writing from the Heart: Truth and consequences

Aging with a spouse who Googles “carbon-neutral bioceramic dome houses” is actually pretty funny.


Did you know when you Google, your buying history is stored on the computer until you delete it? Once I learned (from a 3-year-old) that keeping the pages open was draining my battery, I started to delete.

But yesterday, as I was deleting, I began reading my headings one by one. They went from “How to dye your clothing using food” to “Merino wool/cashmere women’s hoodie” to “Bush twin daughters” to “ABE used books.”

Thomas Moore once said, “Tell me what you yearn for and I’ll tell you who you are.” If you look at my Google list, you might think I’m many people. I have a friend with multiple personality disorder, and when she first told me about it, I thought, Wait, don’t we all have that? And why is it called a disorder?

She said, “When I wake up in my gorgeous Fifth Avenue New York City apartment, I’m a grown woman, and when I leave, I ask my doorman how his kids are. But when I get to my therapist’s office, I’m on her floor, sucking my thumb because I’m a year-and-a-half old. And when I get into the cab to come back home, I’m swearing like a sailor at the poor cabbie.”

I read an article that answered the question. It said people with this disorder keep all their different personalities separate, whereas most of us manage to integrate all our inner beings and are a healthy conglomeration of our multiple aspects. And we bring the main one to the party.

My list was so varied and all over the place that I asked my husband, just for laughs, for his list. His Googles went from the Wright Brothers to Michael Moore’s “Planet of the Humans” to the Wildly Complex Anatomy of a Sneaker to the carbon-neutral bioceramic dome houses.

You have to ask, How did these two people ever get together, based on their interests?

I wouldn’t exactly say I was superficial in the beginning of our courtship, but I’m embarrassed to admit all I fell in love with was his Chevy convertible and his good looks. When I started to get to know him, and he didn’t use the subjunctive every time he said “if I was” instead of “if I were,” I thought, I’m not sure if this guy is smart enough for me. (Did I mention superficial, and should I add arrogant?) Then I found among his old graduate school papers A-pluses on all his nuclear physics papers.

So I realized we were smart, just in different things.

He told me he thought “a spring” was a miracle. Of course I thought he meant the season and had just added the “A” because of his grammar issue. No he actually meant “a spring,” the little coil. He said in a voice filled with awe, There are so many mechanisms that wouldn’t work without the Spring. I was dating a guy who had a heightened appreciation for hardened steel and rubber bands.

In about the sixth month of dating, we went to New York, to see the Broadway show “Fiddler on the Roof.” I couldn’t help but notice that we laughed at all the same places. Then, in about the eighth month of dating, we saw 10 of the “Best Show of Shows,” Sid Caesar’s Saturday-night variety TV special. We were on the floor laughing hysterically. I had found our mutual connection, our shared native language, was laughter.

Over 54 years of marriage, it has been laughter that has sustained us through thick and very thin. We even laughed when making our will a while back. Our poor son, we said, all he’ll get is chipped dishes and threadbare rugs.

And together we have always thumbed our noses at the Grim Reaper.

Until now. I am 80, and my husband is five months behind me. Since COVID-19 announced in Bodoni Bold that we are vulnerable, our conversations have turned a darker shade of reality. We are facing the actual possibility of our deaths. It’s true, we are still laughing at all the absurdities of life and the deliciously funny things there are, but all 37 of our collective personalities aren’t in denial anymore.

The other day we bought a peony plant, and on the way home I was reading the directions. I turned to my husband and said, “It says it won’t bloom for three years.” There was a long pause. And then he said, “Uh-oh.”

And then we laughed.



  1. Nancy this piece is fantastic. I loved everything about it!
    No way you are 80? I just don’t believe it. Nice try!!!

    Hope you are having a gorgeous summer

    Love and admiration, Kitty

  2. Loved it! Thank you, Nancy, for another treasure. Your writing informs, and inspires while causing me to reflect on my own life. Thanks to you my day is off to a great start!

  3. Loved this Nancy, took the thoughts right out of my head. I can’t believe you’re 80 either. It really is true it’s just a number. Keep writing, we love to hear these essays of life.

  4. Thank you for making me laugh, and for the depth of truth and love and everything in between. I can only aspire to the gift you are and send my love and praise to you ~ living full out XOXOXO thank you, Peonies are my favorite !!! Now off I go, to figure out what is it, that I have in common with my own dear husband !!! Xo Happy 4th

  5. I’m older than you and I enjoy being in the same laughing crowd of old poops who have made the most of our lives. I feel great and laugh more than ever. Don’e forget, I have daughters and I’m not afraid to use them…

  6. Loved this one… major inspiration in love, relationship, smiling at death, all of it. Every sentence matters here. Love you.

  7. Dear Precious Soul,
    I revel in receiving these delicious moments of your shared life journey. I too treasure Fiddler and saw on Broadway. To life, to life.
    What a life you 2 have co-created.
    I have been alone sans a sweetheart for too long, and long for for what you have shared.
    Now I seek the one to grow older and old with, to arrive in our dying tides.
    The peony part lead me to smile and cry.
    Thank you.
    When I see you 2 again, somewhere in time, in line at the Omega dining hall, I will remember the spring, the laughter, the depth of love.
    It’s good medicine.
    Moriah Vecchia

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