A Day in the Life

Kendal singers with Herb at the pianoThis story was written a few years ago, but Kendal resident Meg G. recently offered to share it for our blog. Such a nice perspective about life around us in the Kendal at Oberlin community. Thank you for sharing Meg!

January 26, 2007. Something happened at Kendal tonight. On our auditorium stage, two beautiful sisters, ages 14 and 17,  gave a concert. One was a  violinist, one a violist. A brunette. A redhead. Each was tall, radiant, and wore sparkling ornaments in her hair. Their musicality and technique were phenomenal. We applauded wildly.

Afterwards, my husband and I left the reception and walked home through the Care Center, as we often do in winter weather. We passed the partly open door of a dear friend who, at that moment, was breathing his last. We stood in the hallway just outside in that silence that comes over you when something enormous is happening. And it struck me that both these things were going on under one roof. We had only walked from one room to another….

There are few places where this can happen, and Kendal is one of them. I don’t mean that our lives have shrunk – rather, the compactness of place makes connections among all the parts of our lives more visible, more vivid. Before coming here, the brighter and darker parts of living were spread over many places and we travelled, literally, among them. From the wedding hall to the funeral parlor, so to speak. Now, the spatial boundaries have been compressed  and a large array of human activity and emotion  fit into the same place and, sometimes, the same day:

Katie holds up a hand-painted scarf.

Katie holds up a hand-painted scarf.

Popping wine corks, performing plays, recovering from surgery, buying and selling, painting watercolors, sinking into coma, signing contracts,  embracing, repairing furniture, sitting with the frail and dying, buying fresh produce, laughing at jokes, lounging,  talking about new medical treatments, considering mortality, learning, forgetting, relearning, forming new friendships, quarreling, worshipping, dining with friends, writing memoirs, swimming, sipping hot coffee, flirting, calculating finances, gossiping, grieving,  describing aches and pains, voting, being escorted out by the undertaker, playing bridge or bocce, filling out surveys.

Making bad puns, meditating, blowing out birthday candles,  receiving grave diagnoses, thrilling to music, comforting, weeping, falling down, teaching, preparing tax returns, tending flowers, befriending students,  discovering that someone close no longer recognizes you, petting dogs, taking minutes, reminiscing, writing  poems, working out,  finding out a lump is benign, greeting newcomers, memorializing the dead, making peace with the past, saying hello, saying goodbye.

Meg wrote this story for the Writers Bloc, a creative writing group in which she and many other Kendal residents participate.