Monday, August 4, 2014


August 4, 2014

Once upon a time there was a woman, aging by princess standards, who finally had the opportunity to go to a kingdom in a land called Disney World where magic and fairies and princes who rescue princesses really exist. She had three small princesses by her side to help grant her access to those places where her age and size might have raised suspicious eyebrows otherwise. At least that's how she felt.
Beneath a magical arch everything changed. How could a place, such a crowded place, be such fun and so exciting at every turn? A twenty foot tall breathtakingly beautiful woman made of vines and branches walked out of the tress circling the crowd with such grace silence overtook them. Colors never imagined by this aging princess blended perfectly with those in a crayon box. Everyone seemed happy and patient with the exception of an occasional ogre. Long lines were the fact of the week but most often they were entertaining or we held special Fast Passes.
Of course, she had dinner with the real princesses.  Her reaction and that of the small princesses when Snow White skipped past their table was captured. Every special Disney princess moved through the dining hall talking and acting royal before having a parade including the younger princes and princesses in attendance. The aging princess wanted to be in the parade but, alas, she wasn't able to do so without sustaining the chagrin of the other adults in the group.
A week of magic, some mayhem, and lots of entertainment left the aging princess feeling very old. As a matter-of-fact I he ended up in the hospital shortly after she returned home. But, she said this-- all the aching muscles and bones, and fatigue was worth it. While she was in the hospital she wrote the scribbles of a "poem". One of the members of the group was her age. She couldn't help but compare herself to the other woman. She don't usually write poetry but she will share this bit with you. It's longer than she would normally post to her blog but it tells a story.
Life is uncertain. There will always be times of confusion, sadness, fear, and uncertainty. Just as surely there will be times of wonder, happiness, undisguised joy, certainty, and even magic. Try to smile through the worst times and the laughter during the good times will come straight from the soul. A girl can be a princess at any age. It's true.
Winona Bennett Cross
I know a woman who makes me laugh yet makes me sad. She’s my age—sixty-three (63). We’re Vietnam era girls, graduates of classes of 1969 and as different as they come. Perhaps because of geography, family, or society.
According to modern society I look, act, and sound like 63. This woman is just the opposite living in a perpetual flower child world.
I’m living, as I have all my life, in a “what will they think of me” world.
Her hair is colorful. It varies like a color wheel spinning in Vegas. Turquoise, hot pink, green, or blue. I wonder if it’s ever been boldly striped? Her style is spiky and funky.
My hair is dirty blonde with graying temples, simply cut, and styled in something easy. No pizzazz. No youthfulness. I do not like growing old.
She wears strapless sundresses and camisoles with short skirts. Her wardrobe is a canvas for the embellishments she adds through the day. Dangly earrings, large hoops, bracelets of gold and silver, fabric, beads, and leather almost to her elbow. Scarves drape her body including a dedazzled belly dancers sarong around her hips. She is comfortable and dances through the streets and stores.
I wear matronly capri pants or jeans and T-shirts with sleeves. My jewelry is gold and classic with a few pieces of appropriately suitable costume pieces added for bling on special occasions. Without my jewelry I feel naked. I try to hide behind “invisible” clothes.
She smokes small dark cigars. They remind me of something Greta Garbo or Katherine Hepburn would have smoked in eras past.
I have never smoked. Anything! I wonder what it feels and tastes like. But, I’ll never try it. My parents smoked and I lost my mother to lung cancer.
This woman, my friend, glides through life just high enough most of the time to make others smile at her antics. Free Bird. Flower Child.
I always do what I think is right. Often feeling stifled. When I do let my feelings soar someone will tell me I’m acting silly. So, I stop and retreat into some  of the shell I have built.
I wonder what happens to her in the night when she falls. Is it a desperate dive? A fully dressed, spread-eagled splat? Or, is it a subtle wilting of the flower as she awaits the morning dew and sunlight to decide what kind of ornamental blossom she will become that day.
I simply crawl beneath the covers, read for a while, then fatigue takes over and I sleep.
How can two women of the same era be so different? I sometimes wish for some of her free spirit but not the problems that accompany it.
I wonder if she ever wishes for some of my so called normal life?
We are different but forever bound by the love of two little blonde, blue-eyed girls. Granddaughters.



Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

What a wonderful post Nona! So glad you have these memories!

Take care of yourself my friend.
Love ya!

Winona Cross said...

Thanks, Pamela S Thibodeaux. I have been so busy. How do you pin to other sites? Thank you for doing that for me by the way. Of course, I caught several errors in my post after I went live with it and of course I previewed it several times.

Kathy Wheeler said...

Very sweet, Nona.

Anna Kittrell said...

Nona! Your poem overtook my emotions. Absolutely beautiful--so real and raw and honest. My eyes misted. I could see your friend so clearly, admire her jewelry, smell her cigarette smoke (I like the smell of cigarette smoke, by the way)and feel the longing to try on someone else's life and walk around in it for a moment. Of course, I think you are amazing, just the way you are. And with your beautiful smile, that sparkle in your eye, and your fantastic sense of humor, I would never, ever, think of you as "old."

I am thrilled you enjoyed Disney World with your precious babies. Making memories is what it's all about :)

Great post, my friend.

Ann Aarons said...

Pick out an invisible tiara and wear it all the time. You already have a heart like a Disney princess.

Jo Smith said...

Your blogger site is great. Interesting pieces and wonderful pictures. You should be proud of you.

Winona Cross said...

I'm so appreciative of the comments you've left. It does this old princess heart good. Perhaps I'll wear a tiara one of these days!

Màiri Norris said...

Your little princesses are so precious, Winona! I must say, as another 1969 graduate/Vietnam era girl, I feel very much as you do. Reading through your post elicited constant, "Oh, yeah, BTDT"s. Nothing wrong with us, girl! We're just 'normal', lol! I'm at an age now when every day is special, every day is to be savored and appreciated, no matter the aches and pains, the tired body, the 'feeling old' (and I hate getting old, too. I'm not doing it 'gracefully', I'm fighting it with each step, 'she says, wistfully').
Great post from the heart!

Gerri Bowen said...

I really enjoyed your post, Nona. Identified with so much. :)