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Questions about life’s journey Local artist shares ‘A Modern Woman’s Guide to Aging’


By Claire Haye

unday, cold and clear — the sky was fierce blue with snow on the ground. A spectacular winter morning. I was invited to my daughter Melissa’s house for a family gathering. I cautiously drove the seven mountain miles from my home to her country home. Last night’s fresh snow crackled under my boots as I walked from my car to Melissa’s front door. It was unlocked. Silent. I wandered in and removed my jacket and hung it on a hook. Unannounced, I went into the kitchen where Melissa was making crepes. She stopped cooking and looked hard at me for a long still moment, her grey eyes wide in her beautiful pale face. My daughter spoke, “When you came in, I was frightened.” She paused, “I thought you were Grandma Bea ... really, you looked just like her.” My god. Melissa thought I was my dead mother. Grandma Bea had taken leave of us 20 years ago. Unsettled, I grumbled to myself, “There it is. Much to my surprise and even my dismay, I have become my mother.” Last week, I went to a party as fine as I could make myself, all groomed and glossy. No one took notice of me. What I really mean is none of the men looked at me. I had become oddly invisible to them. The message is significant, the reality unavoidable. Claire the Sex Goddess has left the room. Indeed, I am transforming into an old woman. Consider my situation: I am a woman alone, healthy, a selfemployed artist with my own gallery, grown daughters, sonsin-law, grandchildren, a beautiful home, a well-functioning car. Yes, my life seems solid and comfortable — nothing to be concerned about, except creating new jewelry designs each year and a lingering hope for a last romance. Now that most of my life has been lived, with my youth and my middle age behind me, what am I missing or avoiding in my selfportrait? Why is there an alligator in the bathtub? Where did I hide Photo by Melissa Haye-Cserhat

Artist Claire Haye in her studio.

GUIDE TO AGING continues on Page 8




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Celebrating the feminine spirit

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