Sixty-Six Year Old: Joe Bell

He considered a moment. ‘No,’ he said, and shook his head. I’ll tell you why. If she was in this city I’d have seen her. You take a man that likes to walk, a man like me, a man’s been walking in the streets going on ten or twelve years, and all those years he’s got his eye out for one person, and nobody’s ever her, don’t it stand to reason she’s not there? I see pieces of her all the time, a flat little bottom, any skinny girl that walks fast and straight – ‘ He paused, as though too aware of how intently I was looking at him. ‘You think I’m round the bend?’

‘It’s just that I didn’t know you’d been in love with her. Not like that.’

I was sorry I’d said it; it disconcerted him. He scooped up the photographs and put them back in their envelope. I looked at my watch. I hadn’t any place to go, but I thought it was better to leave.

‘Hold on’ he said, gripping my wrist. ‘Sure I loved her. But it wasn’t that I wanted to touch her.’ And he added, without smiling: ‘Not that I don’t think about that side of things. Even at my age, and I’ll be sixty-seven January ten. It’s a peculiar fact – but, the older I grow, that side of things seems to be on my mind more and more. I don’t remember thinking about it so much even when I was a youngster and it’s every other minute. Maybe the older you grow and the less easy it is to put thought into action, maybe that’s why it gets all locked up in your head and becomes a burden. Whenever I read in the paper about an old man disgracing himself, I know it’s because of this burden. But’ – he poured himself a jigger of whisky and swallowed it neat – ‘I’ll never disgrace myself. And I swear, it never crossed my mind about Holly. You can love somebody without it being like that. You keep them a stranger who’s a friend.’

Truman CapoteBreakfast at Tiffany’s

Published in: 66 Years Old | on February 14th, 2012 | No Comments »

Sixty Year Old: Dolly Augusta Talbo



A searching party of deputies was gathered; telegrams were hurried off to Sheriffs in other towns. Many years later, when the Talbo estate was being settled, I came across the handwritten original of this telegram – composed, I believe, by Dr. Ritz. Be on lookout for following persons travelling together. Dolly Augusta Talbo, white, aged 60, yellow grayish hair, thin, height 5 feet 3, green eyes, probably insane but not likely to be dangerous, post description bakeries as she is a cake eater. Catherine Creek, Negro, pretends to be Indian, age about 60, toothless, confused speech, short and heavy, strong, likely to be dangerous. Colin Talbo Fenwick, white, age 16, looks younger, height 5 feet 7, blond, gray eyes, thin, bad posture, scar at corner of mouth, surly natured. All three wanted as runaways. They sure haven’t run far, Riley said in the post office; and postmistress Mrs. Peters rushed to the telephone to say Riley Henderson had seen us in the woods below the cemetery.

While this was happening, we were peaceably setting about to make the tree house cozy. From Catherine’s satchel we took a rose and gold scrap-quilt, and there was a deck of Rook cards, soap, rolls of toilet paper, oranges and lemons, candles, a frying pan, a bottle of blackberry wine, and two shoeboxes filled with food: Catherine bragged that she’d robbed the pantry of everything, leaving not even a biscuit for That One’s breakfast.

Later we all went to the creek and bathed our feet and faces in the cold water. There are as many creeks in River Woods as there are veins in a leaf: clear, crackling, they crook their way down into the little river that crawls through the woods like a green alligator. Dolly looked a sight, standing in the water with her winter suit-skirt hiked up and her veil pestering her like a cloud of gnats. I asked her, Dolly, why are you wearing that veil? and she said, “But isn’t it proper for ladies to wear veils when they go travelling?”

Truman Capote, The Grass Harp

Published in: 60 Years Old | on December 22nd, 2011 | No Comments »