The fact is I became despite all efforts at obstruction, eighty years old. As on other age-based occasions (seventy-five, fifty or even twenty-nine which verged so fearfully on thirty), I adjusted. I began to like those years, defending them, explaining their different energies.

I dont have exactly the same attitude to either the word eighty or the fact of eighty. For some reason I don’t know how to take the appropriate authoritative attitude. More is expected of me than when I was only seventy.

Anyway women and men have annoyingly started writing memoirs at fifty or earlier. They’ve scarcely experienced life and only a half moment of history. Here I am nearly a full moment of knowing. Even so, I try at a certain unbelieved modesty. But on public occasions I am often questioned pretty thoroughly. The questions are usually important, not to be mocked.

So I began to answer in my own way. In the end this “tidbit” as it has been labeled, will not become a novel, most likely a short story, possibly a poem, though those questions surely deserve more space and time than I am accustomed to give. —G.P.