The dictionary defines a “stopgap” as a temporary way of dealing with a problem or satisfying a need. That is the way I am getting through this time without Steve. One stopgap after another and one day at a time.
My grieving process is unpredictable. It hits when it hits. When it does, I cry. I don’t care who sees or hears. Well, that is not true. But, I don’t try to stop myself. I just hope this condo has thick walls. Weekends are the worst. That is when Steve and I would get in the car and go somewhere. In Brentwood, Westwood, Encino, Palm Desert. Then, in Monaco, Antibes, Cannes, Ventimiglia. St. Tropez, Marseille, San Remo, and Paris were overnights. It was fun.
Now, I try to stay busy by creating a project or doing work. I write – jayspeakblog, stevespeakblog, my novel, my blog book, my journal. I take photographs, walk in the park, walk to the beach, buy groceries, do taxes, update my accounts, change bios, clean-out, downsize. Reading doesn’t work. At least, not yet. And, I don’t watch that much television or go to movies. That doesn’t work, either.
After my birthday, I went into a funk. I didn’t feel like writing or walking or…. Somehow, I found myself looking for a picture of something – I don’t remember what. I pulled out the boxes of old pictures and – for some unknown reason – began looking at each one, remembering people, seeing places, and noticing things I had not noticed before.
I remembered Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” and the speech that remains indelible in my mind forever, “Let’s really look at one another!…It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed… Wait! One more look. Good-bye , Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover’s Corners….Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking….and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths….and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every, every minute? (Emily)”― Thornton Wilder, Our Town
It was then that I decided to find and post at least one picture of something I was doing during the beginning year of each decade. The selection process was random and has nothing to do with importance. Plus, most photographs were not dated. Here are the results: (Please excuse the inconsistencies of color and spacing in this post. It was one of the ones affected by my learning curve with wordpress.com.)
1967 – AT AGE 30!
1977 – AT AGE 40!
1987 – AT AGE 50!
1997 – AT AGE 60! – IN Whittier Law School. I took a trip to the South of France that summer and stayed for two weeks in a time share, Roquebrune Cap Martins. I met a friend, Eleanne, of a U.S. friend, Phyllis Lycett. The two of them had been friends in Paris as dancers in the Follies Bergeres. What fun!! This is Monaco in 1997
2007 – AT AGE 70!
2017 – AT AGE 80!
“We are all here for some special reason. Stop being a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your future.” ― Robin Sharma
Jay W. MacIntosh (born Janet Tallulah Jewell) is a retired attorney, actress, and writer from the United States, living in Paris, France. She is a member of the California Bar and selected to the 2018, 2019, 2020 Southern California Super Lawyers list. She holds a Master’s Degree in Drama from the University of Georgia and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Zodiac Scholastic Society. As an actress, she is a member of The Actors Studio, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), SAG-AFTRA, and ASCAP, performing in film and television in the United States and France. Her published works include Journal of Janet Tallulah, Volume 1, Journal of Janet Tallulah, Volume 2, The Origins of George Bernard Shaw’s Life Force Philosophy, Moments in Time, Capturing Beauty, JAYSPEAK on the Côte d’Azur, and Janet Tallulah.
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6 thoughts on “STOPGAPS”
I enjoyed this very much. Your journey down Memory Lane, with pictures was great. I must say you don’t look 80 ! I’ve read all your blogs and take something away from each and everyone. Always know that you have friends who care about you. 🙂
Scott, thank you for this. Your words mean the world to me. I felt the same way about my acting, but I was and am biased. When I would look at my work, I could see the depth of character. When it was happening, I would be “in” the role. But, later, when checking to see if I accomplished what I had striven to achieve, I would be proud of my accomplishment. And, I set the bar high for me. I still love to act and miss it. You never know. PLUS, I am glad you like me blog and take the time to read it. Thank you very much. Jay
Hi Jay! Tonight is the night I decided to buckle down and catch up on long overdue mail which led me to your recent posts. So, for the past few hours I’ve been sitting at my desk reading and taking in the many thoughts & wonderful photos that you were so kind to share. I’m glad that you found the vigor to do such.
I grew up watching those “After School Specials” in the 70’s and also the varied roles you played in, such as “Barnaby Jones”, “The Walton’s” and more. There’s even a Peter Graves film that comes to mind from the mid-70’s about the last people on Earth – which you were in.
There are some actors/actresses that become engraved in a viewers’ mind and they stay there with good reason. For example, the late actress Priscilla Morrill, who’s performances always added something extra special to a project, has been to me, what others may feel about someone like Meryl Streep or Hepburn. Fans and admirers get the opportunity to know SOME things about them and they have received their standing ovations – deservedly of course. Yet for me, I think I get something very special from performers such as you. When you share your life, like you do, you open the doors to your heart and mind with anyone who takes the time to read about it. Anyway, who wouldn’t want to check out a blog that quotes Thornton Wilder!
On this birthday, I’d like to give you my standing ovation for you.
A shared experience does not return void. My prayers and thanks to you! -Scott
Jay, I was so touched by this post…….what a wonderful way to re-live memories and probably good therapy as you continue to grieve the loss of Steve. Some parallels between us. It has been almost 2 years since I lost Jerry and in less than 2 weeks, I’ll turn 80. I’m staying bust, too, but have my moments, my “stop gaps.” You have inspired me to go back and enjoy memories through photos.
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Thank you, Phyllis. Yes, we share a lot of similarities. I hope you have a wonderful birthday. It means a lot to me that I have inspired you. May it continue. Sending love….
Phyllis, you have inspired me over the years. I am amazed by your talent and zest for life. Get out the pictures. Look at them like you have never seen them before. See what is going on in the photo. On the faces. In the eyes. Visit with them aloud (if no one thinks you are crazy, talking to a photo. haha.) It helps. At least, it helped me. Sending love, Jay
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