Thursday, February 17, 2022

To Stay or Start Again (José and Eleanor)

Valentines' Day was this Monday, and that got me thinking about how love changes when you get older. How do you keep the fire alive when the honeymoon period ends? How do you know when a relationship is over? How can you find a new relationship after losing the love of your life? These older buds, with their years of wisdom, are more than happy to answer some of our questions about love:

José Dominguez


My search for love in the internet

“Why don’t you get marriage again Pepe?” asked Lolita, a 6 year old girl, in a family gathering at Houston Texas. I answered because: “I’m afraid.”
“Of what?” She insisted.
“Of dying in the intent of being at the level of the demands and expectations.” Lolita was confused by my answer but all the gown ups laughed. That marked my beginning of the search for a partner. The second happening related was to meet a truly happy couple in our Catholic Church who contracted an internet company to find a love partner, and they did. Thinking on the easiness of meeting people I decided to contract one of those companies to find me a couple.
Oh, it was an overwhelming experience! The first tip to increase the probability of success was to upload a good photo of myself. For that purpose I used a tripod and a camera timer to make several trials. The first was a straight shoot but it looked as passport photo. I turned my face to the right and somehow my face’s imperfections were exposed and I thought it was a negative PR effort. Then I turned my face to the left and the shadows appeared around my eyes and a remembered a horror picture about Dracula so I continue insisting. With glasses with no glasses. Smiling or serious. Looking up or looking down. I was tired of so much vanity that decided that my multifaceted personality was more or less touched by one of those silly photos and I thought that Photoshop will do the rest. Secondly I had to write something about me that communicated what kind of alien I was. So I simply wrote: “I don’t have too much demands to ask to the person I want to find, except to be as much human as she can be because it’s the only thing I can offer, a constant pursuit of humanism and that’s it.”
My next activity was to scan the many photos posted in the website, and after spending hours of concentrated effort decided to select as favorites a few of them. It was a weird feeling to select without to be in touch, but I didn’t create the system so I claimed as favorites 5 or 6 of them. But wait a minute, none of my selections prospered, none of my favorites asked more information. But I didn’t mind my Photoshop photo and my enigmatic plea of humanism created a big attraction of many ladies interested in my poor humanity. I received a lot of selections as favorite.
Next I began to read their expectations and I sensed their were out of my imagination. Many of them loved to cruise in the Mediterranean, in the Pacific islands, Bali, etc. Many others were action oriented and loved to ski at Aspen, Canada or Switzerland, most of them enjoyed to drink wine in fancy restaurants listening romantic music, other included to dance modern music. Others loved to share their vital spaces with dogs, cats, birds, plants, fishes, etc., several indicated that loved to be passionately kissed at the light of the moon until the sunrise. I was in shock! How am I going to cruise in the Mediterranean Sea if I need my SEPTA Senior Id Card to transit in Philadelphia? How am I going to eat lobster and champagne if I always leave home with my lunch and tea in my bag because I can’t afford to expend money (thank God that the Senior Center give me the chance to eat for free). How can I go skiing in the mountain if walking in the streets of Philly is per se a challenge and a treat to my security and well being? How am I going to stay awake kissing a lady for hours until the sunrise when it happens that at 9 or 9:30 PM I’m not included among the awaked population? No, no, surely I was overwhelmed by those profiles.
Alas I was very seriously reprehended by an offended lady who marked me as favorite and who I decided to ignore, so she texted me: “You are not conscious that I selected as favorite so perfect idiot”, she wrote. Well, I thought at least she found a kind of perfection in me. But please don’t think I was playing as a total passive and indifferent observer. I was in contact to several ladies but after I tried to answer their questions about me the contact was ended. One asked the books I like to read and I submit my modest repertoire and that was it. Another asked my life’s goal and I answered that my goal was to have no goal. An exception was a very religious lady to whom I decided to cut any relationship because her strong religious feelings could confront us on serious matters as the eternal life. Looking my statistics, my fans were diminishing by the day surely because my poor flirtatious skills so I canceled my membership to the website. They asked for the reason and I told them that I have found what I was looking for, which was absolutely true.
I become totally sure that it was better to continue with my normal life with no struggle over having the proper, perfect or convenient companionship. The only condition would be to be authentic and honest the rest would be tanks to the law of the consequences, to my karma or to the will of God. 
Eleanor Kazdan
Love Letters

I was fortunate to meet the love of my life when I was 21, we have now been married for 50 years. I’m not sure either of us fully appreciated each other or the amazingness of what we had in the beginning. I suppose it’s hard not to be a bit blasé in one’s early twenties. We had frequently been apart for periods of time — Gary went to week-long science conferences and I occasionally went on choir tours — and I welcomed those times as opportunities to feel more independent.
In 1976, when we had been married for about five years, we had a two and a half month separation. We had moved to England with the idea of living there. Gary was going to get a job and I was going to pursue my singing career. It didn’t work out the way we had hoped, and Gary decided to return to Toronto to finish his studies. After much thought I decided to stay in London for a few months to continue my musical studies. I would live with my aunt and uncle in the suburbs.
Communication in those days wasn’t what it is now! There were no cell phones, no computers, and telephoning was astronomically expensive. So we wrote letters, knowing it would take about five days for the other person to receive them. We were both lonely and missed each other terribly. We spoke on the phone once a week for five minutes. Our feelings for each other were intensified by being apart. So began two months of incredible letters, many pages long, filled with longing, loneliness, as well as details of our daily lives and personal struggles. We wrote almost every day. I have kept all those letters and hadn’t looked at them for many years. Recently I dug them out of the fireproof box, trying to piece together some family drama when I was in London and Gary was staying with my family. I found what I was looking for, and I began to read those many letters. What a blessing and a gift it is to still have them. Gary and I have begun to read some of them aloud to each other. There are so many details of that time that have been forgotten. And there they are in those letters from long ago.

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And don't forget to maintain contact with the older buds in your life. If you can't be there in person, please call them, email them, or message them on social media. And if they're using teleconferencing or remote events for the first time, give them a call and help them set things up. Check in on them to see how well they're getting used to these programs. Buy them a computer or an internet package if they don't have one of their own. It's a human right, after all.

Curated by Caitlin Cieri