November

There is no moustache to join in the fund raising of a Movember. It is long gone like the career I once expected that went with it. Seventeen years of no upper lip shaving swept away with the clip of some scissors and the scraping of a sharp blade. There was not even a tan line left behind, once the sink was rinsed. The face in the mirror was a shock, almost as much as the look on my children’s faces.  They had never known a non-moustached father nor one permanently out of uniform.

The moustache was a reminder from an earlier beard and other changes from my young adulthood. Like hair which occasionally was quite long. Now that is nearly all gone too. My multiple ages of man (The Seven Ages) may match Shakespeare’s words, but it feels like multiple adult lives.  There was the work time before the armed forces, then the military career which in turn encompassed multiple locations, jobs, stages, phases but not as many ranks as I had hoped.

Then there was the moustache-less rebirth as a civilian, jobs then as a self-employed consultant then back to the attractions of permanent roles. Again different jobs in different locations with one huge difference. I have stayed in one home. I have lived in this house longer than anywhere else, whilst jobs changed, children grew to adulthood and my little hair changed to grey.  Why this retrospective now, it is not an anniversary, but an anniversary has prompted these thoughts.

I worked from home on Tuesday and walked in the dull drizzle to the war memorial where at 11:00 I stood for the requisite two minutes and contemplated the war dead. The memorial was ill attended on Armistice Day although on Remembrance Sunday it had been busy. Then we had stopped the car for the two minutes, on a journey to see family. As I stood with my wife and the dozen others, cars drove by seemingly oblivious. The silence was in my head. The memories were in my head.

I have written before about my annoyance at not commemorating proper dates and I was glad to see the BBC make an effort on Tuesday with its coverage from The Tower of London and Ypres. Perhaps in 1918 we will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the war on the proper day. I find it hard to enjoy the commemoration of the start of the war. On Monday I used my lunch break to join the crowds at the Tower of London for the stunning display:

IMG_0406Wednesday provided a shock, as my daughter’s boyfriend broke his leg during training on an Army course. This flooded memories of other notifications and more remembrance, from my service days of delivering bad news or hearing it.

The growers of the Movember Moustaches raise funds for Men’s Health. By raising funds they hope that there will be fewer notifications or treatments required. I shall not be growing one to join in although for an unshaven weekend I was tempted, but I can support them. My son is growing one – so well done him, He’s growing the one I once had my wife has just commented. I wonder, if, at the end of the month, the growers will be glad to cut, trim, and shave, the hair away. Perhaps some will remain for several years or return next year for an anniversary.

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2 thoughts on “November

  1. While in the service in 1969, I grew a mustache, and I kept it continuously until a few months ago. It was accompanied at various times by differerent forms of beard or goatee since I can raise on in a week. Then I was urged to shave it because I would look younger. I did, but I said nothing. My wife didn’t notice it was missing for four days until it was pointed out to her by my son’s girlfriend. My son hadn’t noticed, nor my daughter, nor my grandchildren. I then took a poll to find out which was the best “look” for me, clean, mustache, goatee, or full beard, and the goatee won 4:1. I’d always prefered that anyway.

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