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  • Writer's pictureJane Rubin

'Singin the blues

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

August sunrise on Culver Lake

There are two seasons I totally connect with - spring and summer. The rest are for the birds - oh wait a minute, the birds fly south to escape those seasons - leaving me behind. The changing of the seasons to fall and winter challenge me. They represent a cold, dark place - not terrible appetizing... especially for someone with a touch of seasonal mood disorder.

Having just had the absolute best summer of my life since childhood, I am bereft at having to let it go. Last week was particularly hard - the first time in months I felt the blues. After a few days, I began snapping out of it. Having learned a lot about acceptance in my life, I am fairly well equipped with the tools of the trade - so to speak. I was so in the moment all summer, that I failed to look ahead and get some exciting new activities onto the calendar (as if that really helps....).

So this week, I have been making plans to stay sane - I mean busy - no, I mean happy. See, it’s a progression and I am somewhere between sane and busy at the moment. I have waved goodbye to the gorgeous, long, relaxing days of summer, my pretty white dresses and bathing suits and booked a few warm winter getaways for the cold months ahead. I refuse to give sandals up until the temperatures hit freezing! I have started making my yummy soups, chilis and roasted chickens and am going to have some great family dinners. I am writing and will continue to do so until I begin receiving hate mail. And, I am considering taking a pottery class at a studio nearby. I think getting my hands gushy in the mud will be a fun distraction. I have always loved collecting ceramics and this will give me a chance to try my hand at it.

I will start playing tennis again, maybe even find a women’s doubles game, and get a non-summer exercise routine in place. Sigh, I know I will miss my long outdoor walks with James. You know, James Taylor, “Walking Down a Country Road” - my favorite walking song up at the lake. He will have to wait for me until next spring.

And of course, I am reading. Wow, just finished a great read, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, amazing what one can get away with in this country.... I am trying to help out a bit more with my delicious grandkids - I am totally infatuated with all six of them. I’m thinking up some good cousins club activities for the fall holiday season.

Hopefully when I next blog, I will be somewhere between busy and happy!

One more thing, for those who would like to partake and have forgotten the link to the

Mathilda Fund supporting the OCRF, here it is for your convenience.

Thought you might enjoy the story of Mathilda (excerpted from Almost A Princess). Please consider making a donation. It will be the best thing you do today!

“I began by tracing my BRCA 1 defect back in time as far as I could. I knew that it had been passed down through the paternal side of my family, but none of my first cousins or my mother could recall my great grandmother’s name. She died before my father was born in 1922 so Pop never knew her. Her only child, Julian, my grandfather, passed away in 1975. According to family folklore, she died of a “woman’s disease". I had also heard, growing up, that Julian was the surviving infant of twins. The other child was a girl, but no one knew her name, so I began hunting online to find out more.

What I discovered was that she was born in Germany in February, 1865 and immigrated to the United States in 1866, after the Civil War ended. She and her much-older husband, Abraham, who she reportedly married at 16, appeared in a 1900 New York City census report. They, and Julian, then 18, were recorded living in a tenement house in the Lower East Side along with other Jewish families and two Irish couples. There were few other facts I could find on my own. I had hit a dead end and found myself lying in bed at night imagining the rest of her life story.

I don’t think I will ever know all of the facts, but she most likely developed symptoms of ovarian/breast cancer in her late 30’s or 40’s sometime after that census report. At the turn of the 20th century, cancer was still viewed as a socially taboo disease, and she probably hid her symptoms as long as possible. Medically speaking, little could be done at that time. I imagine she eventually died a painful, lonely death, Adding insult to injury, just two generations later, no one could even remember her name.

It was Mathilda."

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