Life Manual, Chapter 65: 65 years and 294 days

Yes, a lot of days have unspooled since I last posted here. The big event was moving back to Pennsylvania after 35 years away. I’m not sure I’d recommend such a move for anyone past the iconic 65 year old mark. But, thanks to many kind friends, we got packed, and loaded, pushed a 26-foot U-Haul truck 600 miles down the Interstate from Maine to Lancaster, unloaded, mostly unpacked, and are already settling into the groove of providing child care for our grandsons so their mom can return to teaching.

It’s a jolt, especially uprooting from the gorgeous State of Maine, where we could stroll along the harbor and through the shipyard every evening and enjoy the gentle breezes off the ocean. It’s a jolt to be so far from the many excellent friends we were fortunate to have in Maine, virtually every one of them committed to a peaceful and just world for all of humanity. I wonder if it would have felt quite so rough if I were less than 65. Maybe not. We learned long ago that it’s people that give real meaning to life, so putting distance between us probably would have hurt a little no matter what age we were when it happened. What I can say about our 12 years in Maine is that I have never lived anywhere with so many people who see through the materialistic, military-industrial complex, violent values that our society injects into every one of us as we mature to adulthood. I salute the peacemakers of Maine and thank them for reaching out and caring about us, even though we were “from away.”

Life here promises to be good, too. We will be able to reconnect with peace friends from days gone by and, I hope, make some new ones. This community is dominated by conservative, Republican values, which are constantly reinforced by a powerful fundamentalist radio station that has already eroded the understandings inherited by the many people here whose families arose from several historic peace churches (Mennonite, Church of the Brethren, Brethren in Christ, Quakers). Maybe we can stir things up a little :–)

But daily life will be centered on our grandsons, who are four of the finest young men ever. I sense that they’re already old enough to see us as “old farts” who don’t really know all that much. We’ll see what they have to teach us. And maybe we can teach them a thing or two. Although our primary goal is to enjoy watching them “become,” and just love them. I hope we have lots of years ahead to work on that.



  1. Judy Williams · August 24, 2015

    Nice post, Mark. It seems you have your work cut out for you in your “new” location. If anyone is up to the task, you two are!


  2. Mark Kelley · August 24, 2015

    Thanks for the kind words, Judy. This is why we came so I think it’s going to be good. I always vowed not to get brittle in my thinking and habits as I got older (as I’d seen people in my family do), but I think it happened a little anyway. This is probably a good way to break out of some of that, form new habits and patterns, and above all else, enjoy wonderful family and friends. I’m sorry we can’t just mosey over and moan to you guys as easily. You are in our thoughts, if not in our line of sight. Best, Mark


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s