Daily Archives: March 13, 2013

Advice on aging left by my dad

I was digging through boxes of old records this morning looking for an obscure record needed to finish this year’s tax return, and found a totally unrelated note written in my father’s hand. It’s an old-fashioned verse, followed by his explanation. I was surprised by it, as I never thought of my father as very introspective or inclined towards such things. It goes like this:

Age is a quality of mind
If you have left your dreams behind
If hope is cold
If you no longer look ahead
If your ambitions fires are dead
then you are old
In life you take the best
And if in life you keep the zest
If love you hold
No matter how the years roll by
No matter how the birthdays fly
Your are not old.


I found this little poem
in a birthday book I found in
my mother’s records following her
death the day before her 99th birthday
our birthdays are flying by and
I like to review this now & then
you may enjoy it.
/s/ John

I don’t know who he originally sent this to. What I found is a copy.

And his math was apparently off.

His mother, my grandmother, Jane GALT MONTGOMERY, was born on 19 Apr 1885 in Fergushill, Kilwinning, Ayrshire, Scotland, and died in Long Beach, CA on 18 Apr 1982 on the last day of her 96th year. So it wasn’t the day before her 99th birthday, as he thought.

My father died on October 23, 2010, six weeks before his the end of his 96th year.

Remembering George Steele

It’s the 10th anniversary of George Steele’s death. Anyone who was worked with George in the old Star-Bulletin, or in the newsroom of the Star-Advertiser, remembers George.

George was a copy editor at the Star-Bulletin when I knew him. He had been a reporter in West Virginia. He had also been a photographer, a poet. He had been a husband, although that persona didn’t take. He was quite a character. A walking sense of humor. A newsroom presence. A friend to a lot of people.

I’ll pirate from what I wrote in a prior year.

In the summer of 2002, just before his birthday, George shared this thought.

i love my life and i cringe as i see it drawing to an inevitable close. but i got a nice card from mary in west virginia. it’s a quote from the talmud:

“every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘grow, grow.’”


And George responded to something I wrote with this thought:

“it takes courage to acknowledge that you miss another living being. i admire your courage.”

I don’t feel courageous now. Just sadder and a bit lonelier.

George’s death was hastened by alcohol, so it’s a bit weird to say that I’ll take a moment this evening to raise a glass in his memory. But I’ll say it, and do it, anyway.