When my father was my age, 73, — and my mother, they were the same age, born about a month apart, high school “sweethearts,” 65 years together—they retired to live in Albuquerque, and, I used to visit. They had lived in Japan for 14 years and accumulated Japanese prints, furniture, pottery, netsuke, wood working tools, ah, muy mucho interesting Japanese stuff.
While in Japan my mother qualified as Master in Ikebana and upon retiring, well actually it was my father who retired, she started an Ikebana school teaching three different styles. She had a master level in Ichiyo and was certified to teach Sogetsu and Ikenobo, her heart was more with the “freer”style, maybe that was just being American, but before doing demonstrations in different places she liked to walk around outside and find things growing that were unique to the area and include them in the demonstration arrangement. A couple of years ago on public TV I watched a show about an “up and comng” Japanese Ikebana artist who also liked to collect demonstration materials from the outside the area where he was presenting. He thought he was “the only one doing this. ” He was also professionally doing arrangements for department stores in Japan—department stores in Japan are different than the US, they are very active in combining products they sell with Japanese art and cultural events and stores will sponser exhibitions. PLUS!! the food in the basement is wonderful.
I would visit my parents in Albuquerque,and enjoy seeing and touching these wonderful things from Japan. When they reached the age I am now In my visits I wold express my enjoyment about something, well, they would offer it to me and as we got older they would offer me more and more. I could not understand this, how could they be separated from these wonderful things, ( For those not familiar with Japanese design, please see How to Wrap Five Eggs.)
Here I am 73, I see the my own life of things things around me, some I never or rarely use, and they are beautiful and wonderful to touch and use, but I do not know what to do about them. When I die do they just get thrown away? Some of then are the oeuvre of accomplished artists.My son is young and does not want, need then or can afford to own them (at this time).
One of the things my father did when he was old was have some ice cream before going to bed. I am not a person for sweets, when eating dinner, considering calories and not over eating in general, I would choose more main dish and no desert, But sometimes when visiting I would find him standing in the kitchen just before bedtime eating a couple of spoons of ice cream,
Lately I found myself enjoying a couple of spoons of ice cream before bed, and I have thoughts, perhaps memories of my father, of how I knew him and of how I did not know him— both the ice cream and the memory of my father taste good.