Aging Political Activists: Personal Narratives from the Old Left

By David P. Shuldiner | Go to book overview

Chapter Seven
I Think I'm Still Looking for My Core

[Interview with Lillian ("Lil") Dimow, conducted at her home in New Haven, Connecticut, on August 6,1990.]

DAVID SHULDINER: What I hope to get out of our discussion, Lil, is a sense of your evolving self, more specifically, your core self . . . . Have you considered what your core identity is? If somebody asks you what you felt was the driving force, would you have an answer?

LILLIAN DIMOW: I don't think I know. I think I'm still looking for my core. I'm very dissatisfied with my life, and I don't know why, because I've done so many interesting things. I have so many good people around me. But I've never been satisfied with myself. So I don't know what my core [identity] would be.

DS: Do you think that [your] dissatisfaction comes from a feeling that there's always a need for self-improvement, for perfection?

LD: That's part of it, that's part of it. But I procrastinate and do nothing about it. I'm a great procrastinator, really great. I don't know. I have never felt completely satisfied, except the period that I mentioned before we started on tape [she had described a late career as arts-and-crafts teacher in the public schools, housing projects, through social agencies, and in adult education programs in New Haven, which she followed for close to eighteen years, before "retiring" (from paid employment) in 1986, at age seventy]. I knew I was doing very good work then. I knew I was reaching people.

-113-

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