Starting a Career at 107

A beautiful article written by Nancy Slonim Aronie in Vanity Fair, was ‘in memoriam’ to Peggy Freydberg, who died on March 27, 2015 just a few weeks after her 107th birthday.

Every morning, even being very old, (or perhaps because of it),
I like to make my bed.
In fact, the starting of each day
is the biggest thing I ever do.

___ from Chorus of Cells

Curious to read more, I ordered Peggy’s book, Poems from the Pond. I knew that any woman who likes to start her day making her bed would be someone I could relate to.

I was not disappointed. Her poetry speaks a truth that is both plain and poignant. It is a most wonderful gift from a woman who spent most of her life doubting her value. I’m so pleased that she lived to enjoy the audience she deserved. Her life will inspire many others I have no doubt.

Peggy’s words find soft places in me. Tender places that are easily wounded. Yet I find a kinship. In the beginning and ending lines of her poem, Book Signing, I find an honesty that causes me to wince, it also gives me strength.

All my life,
I have wanted to be shown respect
for a mind not apparent to anyone,
not even, at first,
to myself.
So there was never any respect
of the kind I craved,
shown to me.

“I never knew you could think like that.”
The most treasured words of my life.
Though he had had no way of knowing
about a mind that raged in darkness
for his approval of it.

Poems from the Pond is a remarkably insightful gift. While tackling every day fears of growing old, Peggy Freydberg offers us a lifted spirit and the desire to gently blow on the smoldering ashes of our long set-aside creativity. I highly recommend this book for any age for it is both and inspiration and a lesson. I’m so pleased that Nancy Aronie and Laurie David realized that the gem they had discovered needed to reach the audience they intuitively knew was waiting.

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