Carol, you ask what I think is the difference between them and the bookclub ladies. An interesting question. I've lost California friends, but I seem to have lost more from my childhood in New York. It may be that life here is easier, especially the weather. However bad our traffic is, you're in your own car with the radio on. I remember the commute from Rockaway to Manhattan, the long walk from the beachfront apartment to the elevated train station at Beach 25th. Huddling in my hooded coat nearest to the heater, falling asleep on the train from sheer exhaustion of days that started in the freezing cold at 5 in the morning and not getting home til 7:30 at night. Traipsing through snow, skidding on ice, falling off unseen curbs covered with feet of snow. My high heels got caught in the space between the train and the station, and chunks of ice landed like bombs when they fell in front of me from the roofs of tall buildings. And then there was summer, stifling and humid, people crushed together in the train, so close that you never knew whose hand was touching your rear. And I was only 18, and I only worked a year and half in Manhattan! Imagine a lifetime.
The ladies of the bookclub, including me, worked 30 plus years in the protected environment of an agricultural-turned liberal arts college in the suburbs. We only had to beware, if we went out on the farm, of the mascot, Clarence, the brahma bull. My commute was 7 miles by car. Life was so much easier than in New York.
As for now, I can't exercise either, I can't walk more than a block, and my diet has suffered with the advent of my children's cooking, totally gourmet, butter and sugar and salt. I shouldn't blame them for the sugar, though. I've always been a sugarholic. And I've been overweight for 20 years, moreso since prednisone. As for stress, my friends tell me they can't believe I'm still alive.
Maybe it's hereditary. My maternal grandmother lived to be 83, and my mother to 85. But on my father's side, they all died in their early 70s. I guess it depends on how much DNA you inherit from each.
The big reveal will be coming in the near future. I haven't had a colonoscopy in 25 years, and they've ordered a Cologuard test for me. Everyone in my family died from colon cancer, so I'll not be surprised if something turns up.
That being said, I have many friends who had/have cancer, various kinds, and some several times each. And they are still here and doing well, 10 years from diagnosis. The two we lost from the bookclub were not from cancer, but lung disease (a heavy smoker), and stroke.
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