Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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Ronni Bennett

What strikes me about this post, amba, is the liberal use of the word "old" with no prejudice.

When I started Time Goes By, I made a deliberate decision to avoid all use of the politically correct, awful euphemisms for old: third-ager, golden-ager, oldster, etc. and certainly not the pejoratives geezer, coot, biddy, old bat, etc.

Instead, I made a point to use "old" and "older" in the same manner "young" is used - as though they were as equally positive in tone and just a descriptor of an era of life.

Then, a remarkable thing happened. After a few months, those words really had become neutral for me, tossed off in any circumstance that requires them without the attachment of any unfavorable flavor.

People commonly like to say at our age, "Oh, you don't look that old." This is meant to be a compliment, but it is really a manifestation of a culture that refuses to accept older people as valuable; that age is be avoided at all costs even if that cost involves toxic chemicals and major surgery.

And I love it when others take up my cause and use "old" as commonly and unself-consciously as any other descriptor.

Because our culture has never done any serious thinking out loud about aging except in its (supposed) negative aspects, it's new territory. I've never been this old before (63) and it's a fascinating to be finding out what's it's really like.


What can I say? I could just say nothing because both of you write about what I am feeling and thinking - almost to a tee.

What I want to say is that I love you both and am so grateful I found you. Because I did. I found you.

"Life is an angel you wrestle with again and again that blesses you as it cripples you." For this, especially, I thank you.


Exactly, Ronni -- no one's ever talked about what it's really like! Old people have either been in total denial, pseudo-young, or they've sort of played along, like some blacks in the early 20th century playing along with the minstrelsy stereotype -- you know all the birthday cards about dentures and walkers. In other words, whether we are playing the stereotype or defying it, the real experience has fallen silently through the cracks. That's why I thought your interview with Hugh Downs was so extraordinary. He talked about how immeasurably much deeper and wider his range of appreciation and of love has become. We as a society are so fixated on how we look from the outside (the "culture of narcissism" Christopher Lasch prophetically wrote about) that we've lost awareness of the boundlessness of our own inner dimension. Like splashing frantically on the surface of a vast and welcoming ocean. Your website, and the exploration and honesty of bloggers like Tamar and Ancient Mariner, is going to do so much to help people stop masochistically imposing these phony limits on themselves and missing what's actually there.


What rich comments! I am excited to see where this journey leads us all as we sharing life together. Thank you.

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