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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Paul and Linda McCartney/My Life in Austin

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I know this may seem really cliche, but I have always admired the relationship that Paul and Linda McCartney had. How many other celebrity couples managed to stay married for 30 years and raise 4 reasonably normal children?

I came across this item several years ago and thought that it hit the nail right on the head.
Inseparable

In the end, when the statistics of their love affair were
tallied, this amazing detail emerged: Paul and Linda McCartney
spent nearly every night together.
In thirty years they were apart only one day. Otherwise,
Linda traveled with the Beatles and Paul's other bands. He
joined her on tours to promote her photography and cookbooks.
At home or away, they slept beneath the same roof, mingling
breath and sweat and memory.
A few nights before I learned that Linda McCartney had
died, I sat in a strange city, sharing dinner with two dozen
other journalists.
Most of us had flown solo to the conference, leaving family
at home.
At dinner, we made mostly small talk, the best strangers
can do. I felt artificial, not at all myself, onstage.
But the man beside me seemed real. As we talked, he
glanced often toward his wife, who sat across the table and down
a ways, engaged in her own conversation.
In his youth, he told me, he hopscotched the world, hungry
for adventure, covering war and cataclysm. Two marriages
failed. He settled down and married again - then spent last
year in South Africa.
His wife couldn't be with him except for brief visits. She
has a thriving career here.
Now, on the brink of sixty, he'd love to return to South
Africa. But a new sensation holds him back.
He told me: "I want to be with her. I want to be with her
every night."
I gulped and nodded and said, "Life is short."
Funny: When you're young, you say "Life is short" to
justify your excursions, geographic or emotional. When you're
older, you say the same thing to justify staying home with the
one you love.
That kind of relationship sounds stifling to some people.
They want space. They fear being engulfed or getting lost in
some rigid twosome.
Early in my marriage, I felt that way. Our work often
separated us. He flew off. I flew off. It felt invigorating,
and when it wasn't lonely, it seemed healthy. We even came up
with a good metaphor: We traveled through life in different
boats that moored, whenever they could, in the same harbor.
Now, we want nothing more than to tie our little dinghies
to the same buoy, to rock gently together through each night.
Our friends report the same change of heart.
What happened?
For one thing, you realize that sharing a day's details by
phone is never as good as sharing a day. Side by side, life
happens to you simultaneously. You carry the same memories,
whose details blend each time you retell them.
Apart, you make separate memories. No matter how
important, they're just stories to the one who wasn't there.
Plus, when you look back, you count too many weeks and
months squandered in foolish places for insignificant reasons.
And when you look ahead, you don't have to squint anymore to see
that the end is nigh, more nigh all the time.
In middle age, you sometimes feel you have only days left
to live.
When I was a child, my friends and I played a little game
pretending that a nuclear bomb was headed our way. We had ten
minutes to live. What would we do? Where would we go? Whose
hand would we want to be holding when the end came?
Paul and Linda McCartney figured this out early, then hung
on for thirty years. In the music, the laughter and the good
times, I suspect they forgot they would ever have to let go.

by Susan Ager
Reprinted by permission of Susan Ager (c) 1998, from Chicken
Soup for the Couple's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen,
Mark & Chrissy Donnelly and Barbara De Angelis.
Strange, strange side note: My former roommate in Austin, Texas - Karen - was a dead ringer for Linda... Oddly enough, she loves the Beatles just as much as I do.

God do I miss those carefree days in Austin with Karen, Cheryl, Melissa, Zane, and Andy...
Flipnotics, ACL Fest (Modern woodstock for Techie, Yuppie types), Shady Grove (delicious Hippy Chick sandwiches and strawberry daqauris!), crazy parties with Andy and Cheryl, Tower Records downtown, UT and students, the accident, moving, etc., etc.

Somedays I feel as though I would do anything to have the opportunity to relive that time in my life - AND STAY. Others, I am very much content with the direction in which my life is going.

Hmmm... I really need to call my sis Cheryl.

L

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