Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Driving At Eighty

My mother worried a lot about her health. She never took any meds to speak of, wore glasses continuously only in her later years, was very active until the day when, suddenly, she was no longer here.

When she would start up, I’d say something like, “How old was your mother when she passed on?” It might have been ten years younger at that point. She would talk about some other age-related matter and I’d ask, “When did your mother get her driver’s license?” She never did. “Fly in an airplane?” (Mom would jump on any plane going anywhere, and started with some barnstormer when a teen, in the mid-twenties.) Nope. “You are in your eighties and you went to the Arctic last year.” Yup.

Can you imagine your grandmother doing that, assuming granny’s gravy years were in the range of the 1920’s to the 1950’s? Many women did not drive then; hardly anybody flew in an airplane; at a restaurant, husbands asked their wives what they wanted, and then passed that on to the waiter (manners at the time, not male domination).

While on a cruise recently, I heard some women talking about downloading a computer program, installing it, how to manage it, etc. I got a peek and saw a bunch of gray-haired not-young-anymore ladies. I don’t know if their husbands were there, or if they were traveling alone, but nothing would surprise me. The thought of sitting in a rocking chair, knitting, potting about in the garden, those days are gone. 80’s are healthier, better educated, more active and out there.


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