Kay D’Arcy is too busy redefining her life, choosing new careers and much too occupied to let age get in the way of her successes. After her 28 year marriage dissolved because her husband “chose a new pahth” (yes her English accent adds the right flavor to the very statement), this mother of six was more than ready to start a new kind of life. Was she conscious of her own courage? No, but she was conscious, as she says, “of being in the undignified position of having been left by her husband and no longer invited to friends’ dinner parties because although a spare man is always a social treat, a spare woman is in not.”
She had been a nurse and midwife for 48 years, but time for a change is time for a change, and age was no blockade. Following another talent of hers, she became an actress and, no matter that she was in her 60s, she moved into an apartment with 7 assorted drama students from the age of 18-32. A woman of indefatigable determination, and an understanding of both the splendor and misery life has to offer, she is now busy acting, including roles you might think not within the realm of possibility for this delicate, beautiful, disciplined, woman. Yes, she can gnash her teeth and look ferocious and she learned, with difficulty because it went against her nature and breeding, to hit someone.
Life marches on, and Kay, now 83 years old, marches right in step with it. The phrase “has-been” has no meaning for her; she is an “always-is”, a realist not afraid to look any event in the eye and take charge of it. She recently began teaching tai chi. She babysits. She writes poetry, and is active with an acting group for physically disabled people. Kay is having a good time as a committee member of SAG Radio Group, and does live performances a the Gene Autry Museum Theater in Griffith Park every Christmas using genuine scripts from his Christmas shows. Because there will be new acting roles just right for her, she is waiting now from a response from two agents for representation.
Too old for taking on new jobs, roles, passions or positions in life? Nonsense and never. There may be reasons we cannot change jobs and definitions or follow latent talents, but age alone should not ever be one of them. Listen to Kay tell about the details of her life and about her poetry, some of which is inspired by an aunt’s suicide and others by her love of children, her own included. And, just a little bonus here, she found letters from her mother written in the days when writing letters was the only choice for keeping in touch. Interesting story there, too.
For your reading enjoyment, I include one of Kay’s poems that she was generous enough to offer.
“A cool morning breeze yet stillness fills the air.
Drawn to the open space between the trees,
Monazites fringing scattered stones and fallen twigs,
I settled down against a sturdy tree,
Sank myself deep into the cushioning earth,
Emptied my mind and, looking up as soft light filled the sky,
Felt tension drain and, lightened with release,
Allowed the blessed peace to soak into my bones.
And then they came – how long before they came I do not know.
First grumbling squirrel just above my head,
Then the quiet, unhurried passing of a lone coyote.
And as he looked, not altering his pace,
My presence, quite accepted, had no impact on his consciousness
Other than I was there – another tree, another form of life.
And he passed by unruffled as the dawns clear light
Brought in the start of yet another day.
And then they came, shyly, stealthily skirting the Monazites,
Peering round their bark.
Slim formed and supple – curious, gentle
And, yes, full of joy and playfulness.
They’d come to share their glade with me
And I, uplifted by the lightness of their glance,
The gay abandonment of childish joy
Accepted all as natural and then
Reality creeping into my awareness
I froze and, pausing, they took in my fear.
And quietly, effortlessly they drifted out of sight.
Was it imagination or had I seen them there,
This happy band of little Indian braves?
Whenever Idlewilde enters my consciousness
They will be there, enriching all my memories of the place.
Kay D’Arcy February 2010”