Wednesday, September 10, 2008


One of the problems of getting old is that a person only gets to do it once, so you we really novices at how to do it gracefully. Our role models, in fact, were our parents, not aging celebrities. So we have to be willing to not have all the nips and tucks and shots and grindings and camouflage clothes that keep the latter group looking so swell, and settle for whatever our parents modeled for us as they went into middle age.

My mother did well, I think. The only complaint I ever heard her voice was that she had a finger with arthritis in it, and sometimes she would unconsciously rub the joints of that finger while we were visiting. If asked, she'd simply say it was just a touch of arthritis. And consider that until he was 75, my dad had never, ever been in a hospital and never had an operation at all in his 93 years.

I watch the obituaries and find that lots of people younger than I am have died. Living in a senior apartment complex makes me very aware that there are people younger than I who look much, much older and are really in very sad shape. So I tell myself that I'm not doing too badly. This morning Jerry and I went to the Los Angeles County Fair and I wanted to wear my Nikes, which are good for walking, so I jumped into a pair of jeans and a tee-shirt. It flashed through my mind to wonder just how many 73 year olds run around in jeans. I smiled to myself, because I think I am a jeans kind of girl (woman!). One time many years ago, my teenaged granddaughter said to me, "Grandma, you just don't look like other grandmas! I love the way you look." Of course when I look in the mirror now in my own mind's eye I see myself as that same Grandma April was talking about, but I suppose I have aged in my looks in 20 years! But just a little.

I try to be "up" and chipper as I go about my daily ministrations. Unless I'm with a group of old people who are moaning and pissing about their aches and pains, I keep quiet about mine. Yes, I have them. But I don't want them to define me. Nevertheless, there is a race going on in my body that I can't deny: which is going to disappear first, my teeth or my hair. I honestly can't say which is winning. A hairpiece (not a wig, yet, just a large hairpiece) covers my head, and so far what teeth I have left are mostly mine. Not counting the gaps, the roots of them are all mine, but some have caps on their heads too. My retirement budget does not allow for implants, in spite of what my dentist tries to tell me.

I cannot find any muscle anymore when I grab my flabby upper arms or my gluteous maximus. I'm not yet like poor old Spotty, our senior citizen cat, who before she died I described as a bag of fur with some bones rattling around in it. I don't think I'll get that bad, but even so, I try to wear clothing that hides some of the flaws and still am vain enough to put a "face" on whenever I leave my apartment other than to feed the birds outside.

So I guess I'm doing as well as I can, and I certainly don't moan and groan to people about it. But I gotta' tell you this, when 5 a.m. comes and I have to crawl out of bed, I am stiff as a board. Every joint hurts, sitting up hurts, standing up hurts, and I limp into the kitchen to try to get things to work normally again and to get oiled up with some strong coffee. That, and a hot shower, usually put me back together into my 73-year old form.

The other day I saw a picture in the newspaper that might as well have had my name in the caption: BOBBY TITLE WHEN SHE GETS UP IN THE MORNING. I share this with you, and now you all know how the real me looks at that ungodly hour!

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