Friday, October 24, 2008

How old is "old"?

How Old Is ‘Old.’?

A few years ago, two of the teenaged girls at Open Door Home in our city needed to interview an older person for a school assignment. Open Door is a welcome home , since 1927 for children whose parents cannot or will not care for them.
I, not quite 80 at the time, met the criteria for "older person" so the Director at Open Door (who happened to be my daughter, Beth) called me and asked if I would mind stopping by so the girls could interview me.
When I went to Open door Home, Beth introduced me to the girls. One of the girls was a 14 year old I will call "Sarah." Beth told me, in Sarah’s hearing, how proud she is of Sarah for making good marks in school. I congratulated Sarah and expressed interest so she immediately got her report card to show me. We had a nice visit.

When we started the interview, the first question Sarah asked me was a question usually reserved for people who have reached the century mark, "To what do you attribute living to such a long old age?"

Later when Beth was showing me out, she said she hoped the girls did not hurt my feelings by making such an issue of my "old age." Of course, Beth knew as well as I that it did not bother me.
When I lived in the Atlanta area, I was not as ancient as I am now but I often spoke to Senior Citizens groups on subjects related to aging as my undergraduate degree included a certificate in Gerontology.
One of the persons I love to quote when I speak to a civic or church group about "aging" is Madeline L’Engle. L’Engle said,"One of the nice things about growing old is you do not lose any of the other ages you have been." Wow! Think of that!
It is true. Like Sarah, I know what it was like to be 14 and think 30 is old. I know what it is like to be 30 and think 50 is old. I know what it is like to be 50 and think 80 is old. I know what it is like to be 80 and know that 80 and even 100 is just a number. I know also it is a number nearer the end of the counting . But at the end of the counting, as Christians we know a new day will dawn and the counting will start over.

We gather in church every Sunday to celebrate the truth that what we call "time" does not have the last word over what God calls eternity. What we call death does not have the last word over what God calls life.
I like to quote the poet and Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore who said, "Death is not extinguishing the light, it is simply putting out the lamp because the dawn has come."

Saturday, October 11, 2008


When Wendy, a young friend and neighbor asked if I would like some fresh cucumbers from the garden she and her husband Wade had planted, I answered with an unqualified "yes."

Sunday afternoon, she brought over to my doorstep, cucumbers, tomatoes and a bouquet of zinnias!

Have you ever eaten a simple fresh tomato sandwich made with two slices of bread covered with nothing but mayonaise and slices of tomato? A feast!

It is OK to add meat and/or cheese sometimes. But a plain tomato sandwich Sunday evening was great eating!

And Zinnias! Wendy could not know and I doubt that my children know how much I enjoyed that bouquet of zinnias, which remind me of a small garden of zinnias my husband and I planted seventy years ago.

Charles and I planted zinnias in the first garden we ever made! It was a small plot at the back door of the first house we lived in after our marriage.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

News Flash: Current Health Report

I always wanted a secretary. All the years I was in Grantville and East Point Avenue I had to do my own Sunday bulletins and Church News Letters,
This week I have had two efficient secretaries. Joan (Daddy's Roses) was my secretary for my Veterans Day post. Today I'm dictating to Carol (The Median Sib) to let you know that I'm getting better.
I still have a droopy eyelid, and a swollen side of the face and lips, but I definitely look better. (Maxilliary Sinus at Emory in Atlanta). I'm not getting much sympathy now so I might as well get bettter.
Carol is making me write a post because I don't look as sick as I've looked all week. She has stopped all sympathizing with me. (Note from Carol - That's not true.) I appreciate all the visits I've had.
Last night we had Gil and Naomi and Lewis and Mark from Alabama. We had all our Alabama relatives -- David and Vicki, Jessica and Haley, too. Katie was at camp. Debi, Gregg, Jonathan, Beth, and Carol were the others here last night.

This morning I got a really nice note from Galen and Brenda Foster with a picture of our house on 97 Elm Street in Milstead. It's the house we bought when Charles came home from World War II. We lived next door to Charles' marine buddy, Grover Foster.
His wife, Myrl, and I became good friends and were pregnant at the same time.
Our son, Terry and their son Galen were both born in March of 1947 and played together, had their own language and chatted with each other. It was so cute. They remained good friends until we moved a few years later. Galen is the child in the photo. The picture is at the end of this post.
So I'm getting better every day. My right eye actually opens now, my voice sounds normal again, and the swelling is going down. I had hoped the surgeon would do a little plastic surgery and make me look better and younger. Unfortunately, I'm afraid I look older and grayer. I'm happy to be alive after that amazing surgery. I appreciate all the tender loving care and the prayers and cards and thoughts of so many of you - including many friends.