Thursday, May 14, 2009

What Makes Us Happy?

(Photo Credit: Most likely the Mother of the Goosians, San Angelo, TX, 5/14/58)

What Makes Us Happy? Well, among other things, Goose does, and today is her birthday, so we celebrate her and the happiness she brings us with one of our very favorite photographs ever taken of our bright-eyed party girl. You will notice that Goose and her cousin Jeff, to her left, are both wearing fireman's hats. Theme parties are the best parties of all, of course, but the incendiary theme of Goose's fifth birthday party has an extra bit of sizzle if you understand that it was sparked by an unfortunate incident in which Goose and her cousin Tommy (the blond boy on the far left of the photo) had set the living room on fire while playing an overly realistic game of cowboys. What Makes Us Happy? Well, among other things, that Goose's mom was good-humored enough to take that scary moment of family history and turn it into a way of celebrating the spunk of her fiery-headed youngest child. The Mother of the Goosians is now on the brink of ninety, and we think her deep reservoirs of resilience and forbearance help to explain why she remains a spry and generally happy person, despite having lost her husband and her sight within the last ten years.

Go read that article by Joshua Wolf Shenk in The Atlantic that we keep linking to. Shenk looks at the archives of an extraordinary longitudinal (72 year) study of 268 Harvard men who were judged to be healthy and well-adjusted during their college years. Shenk also talks to the study's longtime director, George Vaillant. It's an engrossing read that delves into themes of aging and the mysteries of happiness that are of interest to all of the cranky old broads (and a lot of the pretty young men) of Roxie's World. Here is a quote worth pondering as you lurch forward on your own life's journey:
“It is social aptitude,” [Vaillant] writes, “not intellectual brilliance or parental social class, that leads to successful aging.” Warm connections are necessary -- and if not found in a mother or father, they can come from siblings, uncles, friends, mentors. . . . In an interview in the March 2008 newsletter to the Grant Study subjects, Vaillant was asked, “What have you learned from the Grant Study men?” Vaillant’s response: “That the only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.”
If Vaillant is correct, then we predict a long, happy life for the most affable girl in Roxie's World. Party on, Goose.

Every party needs a song -- or two! -- so here's a vid that gives you two songs in one by two glorious divas singing their troubles away. (Question: Did you know there was ever a Judy Garland Show on CBS? We didn't either, and then we realized it was only on for one season and that it was up against Bonanza on Sunday nights. You know what the cowgirls of Roxie's World were watching, don't you? This vid would make us regret a little the questionable taste of our misspent childhoods, but there's no room for regret in a successful old age, so we'll forgo that feeling.) Sing it, Babs! Sing it, Judy! And many happy returns, sweet (old) Goose!


  1. I love you and Moose SO much, Rox. Am sitting here in Central Michel Richard, waiting for the Mooster, sipping a sparkling rose, and tearing up, overcome with joy and wonder at the great fortune of my marvelous relationships, esp. with you and Moose: overwhelming love--who could ask for more?
    Always yours,

  2. dog-eared book11:05 PM EDT

    Happy Birthday Goose! Hearty good wishes from Indiana of all places (who's yer Hoosier now?). Looking forward to wishing you happy birthday in person on Saturday! Much love, DEB

  3. Hurry back, but travel safely, DEB. What the hey are you doing out in Hoosier land? See you soon (er, the moms will see you soon) . . . .


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