Old Age & 3 Virtual Remissions
|Buy this title now from these booksellers or a store near you.
|Amazon||Barnes & Noble||Books a Million||Powell’s Books||Indie Bound|
$24.95 hard cover $16.95 soft cover
Ray Watts, 86, has expressed his life in this book with complete honesty, humor and wit, as he tells us the story of his wife, medical ailments and how three amazing dreams ultimately fulfilled his sexual, emotional and physical needs. Ray’s breakthrough story is illustrated with exquisite detail, vivid colors and sublime imagination by Susan Spangler. This books gives hope to seniors that life after 65 can be just as fulfilling and wonderful as your youth.
“WARNING: With its beautiful, colorful illustrations, this volume may appear to be a children’s book. It isn’t. It’s a courageous, uninhibited, intelligent adult book about life, love, sex, old age and death. It is sad and funny and oddly uplifting, and you have never read anything like it. Also, the pictures are gorgeous, which seems altogether appropriate: After all, why should kids have all the fun?”
—Peter Carlson, author, K Blows Top
“It is rare to find anyone willing to write about old age (I mean old-old age) without rose-tinted glasses or medically-obsessed depression. Here comes Ray Watts with his clear-eyed, honest and open revelations, suffused with experience of love and loss. As a fellow octogenarian I welcome his courage and clarity, his generous willingness to tell it like it is. And the beautiful illustrations are like musical accompaniment, adding a further dimension of art and memory to his words.”
—Barbara Scheiber, author, Unlocking Potential
“This is a touching, immensely poignant testament to remembrance, to togetherness, to the joy of physical love. It is unflinchingly real. It was written for anyone, man or woman, who has truly rejoiced in love. Written as well for those who have grown old … but not too old to remember, and to dream.”
—Carson Davidson, writer/producer/director, Help! My Snowman’s Burning Down
In November 2001 a very good neurologist diagnosed my wife Penny’s increasing forgetfulness as “probable” Alzheimer’s disease. I’m told that no diagnostician will leave out the “probable” until the patient has died and had an autopsy; but the symptoms are soon enough plenty clear to the family.
In the fall of 2002 my urologist told me, after a biopsy, that a small new lump in my prostate was cancerous. I was given a choice: watchful waiting, or an operation to implant radioactive seeds in the prostate to kill the cancer. To my undying regret, I chose the second alternative.
In January 2003 I was given a drug, Lupron, to shrink the prostate before the operation. I was warned that it would render me impotent “for about six months.” I gulped but said OK. The drug was injected, the prostate shrank, the operation—a duet surgery which the urologist performed in tandem with a radiotherapy oncologist—took place in May. As advertised, the wee cancer was annihilated; but, soon after the surgery on the advice of both surgeons, I took a Lupron booster shot. In January 2004, not as advertised, the Lupron impotence was still in full sway—and, in 2011, it still is.
Soliloquy, late February, 2007
A Well-Heeled Man, 82, Considers
Well sure, it beats the alternative—
But God! What a drag!
The internist, podiatrist, dermatologist, cardiologist—
bless ’em all—
just within the past ten days
have dealt with
wax in my ears, my varicose veins, assorted itches,
blood pressure and cholesterol.
I’m moving up my date with the ophthalmologist
because my dim vision is getting even dimmer.
The quadruple bypass surgery a few years ago
was a great success.
The prostate surgery the same year
stopped the cancer—
but I’ll never again know erection and orgasm
and will forevermore wear a diaper twenty-four/seven.
My dear wife of fifty-eight years has Alzheimer’s
but greets me joyfully when I visit
the dementia ward
and counts aloud with me the steps between floors,
one to twenty, as we walk them together,
down and up, before sharing the fruit I bring,
and I think I can pay the bills for another ten years—
Our daughter makes waves of love, care and cheer.
I can and still do perform healthful exercise and useful tasks.
I can and still do enjoy good friends, restaurants, concerts, plays.
From the windows of my thirteenth floor corner apartment
I can watch the sun come up and go down
and its annual march across the dawn and evening skylines,
left to right, right to left,
as the seasons pass
and the birds fly by
as they did a million years ago
and likely will a million years from now.
My new cane helps a lot with my imbalance.
Penny and I quickly get into the large bed.
My penis has remained fully erect, hard.
Almost instantly it is inside her,
although we are both still in our summer clothes.
Without ever disconnecting, I am able to open her shirt,
caress and kiss her breasts.
Never uncoupling, we manage to become completely naked.
My phallus fills her vagina in a most delightful way.
The only thing wrong is that no orgasm comes;
but it doesn’t seem to matter to either of us.
We can wait.
We are so happy, so together, so in love.
Then I am awake, alone in my dark bedroom in apartment 1310.
I am again small, flaccid and age 85,
not the big, horny 50 of seconds ago;
and Penny is once again gone, once again
But I am just so damn happy!
What a beautiful gift is a good dream!
Waking from it I am
for precious moments few but fervent
remitted from frail 85 to fecund 50.
It is Nature’s consolation prize for not giving me real magic,
not giving me well-hung and life-lasting equipment
for use in real extended youth with a living wife.
Now it is 7:20, and it is written.
I am so glad I got it down before I had time to forget.
The sore throat is better this morning;
but cold or no cold, I’m hanging onto that vitamin C.
Raymond Day Watts was born in Cincinnati on October 24, 1924. At various times he has made his living (barely or comfortably) as a copy boy for a big city paper, as a soldier in World War II, as a reporter for a small city paper, as press agent for a regional theater, as a letter writer for a U.S. Representative, as professional staff member of a U.S. House committee, as an assistant to a Democratic National Chairman, as counsel to another U.S. House committee, as counsel and later general counsel to a U.S. Senate committee, as an associate or counsel or partner in various law firms, and now for some years most happily as a federal government retiree on a nice little annuity. As amateur and hobbyist he has written lots of poems but not until this book tried to collect and publish any of them. But, he says, it’s not too late to try.
Susan Spangler is an award-winning graphic designer, illustrator, painter and poet. She and her husband, George, have two grown daughters and four grandchildren. They share their home with a young dog, an old cat and fluctuating numbers of fish and kids.