64 is the new 63
It has not escaped my notice that, on December 22, I will turn 64. While I am excited that there's a Beatles song about me, the depiction of that age by the Fab Four (”Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?”) rankles a bit. I’ll have you know that my family still needs me! Largely because I’m the main one who still feeds THEM! I am NDY (Not Decrepit Yet) and won’t stand for any remarks to the contrary!
But approaching this age brings me to reflect upon loved ones when THEY were 64. My in-laws, Leona and Phil, were 64 when Stevo and I started dating. I remember Mom Seyfried snoring softly on the Barcalounger every night down in Valdosta, GA “watching” TV, her lineup of pill bottles and her preference for polyester pantsuits. I loved her, but definitely thought of her as rather elderly. When my own mom was my current age, she was living in Atlanta with my dad, who would pass away a mere three years later. I had three of my five kids at that point, with Patrick on the way. I thought of Joanie then as a very fun gal, but never one who would be mistaken for Farrah Fawcett, even without your glasses.
Which brings us a generation back, to my grandmothers. Grandma Berrigan lived to be 99, a milestone I fervently hope I won’t reach--at least not the way poor Grandma did, after more than a dozen years of mental decline. So when the Beatles would have serenaded her, it was 1959. ’59 was a rather unremarkable year, unless you count statehood for Alaska and Hawaii, and the debut of the Barbie doll (unrelated events as far as I know). Again, to little me, Grandma was already in her dotage, not registering that she was still sharp as the proverbial tack, and the full-time caregiver to my Uncle Don, who had Down Syndrome.
Nana Cunningham was a year younger than her grandma counterpart, and a thousand times more glamourous. She retained the gorgeous face of her youth (when she was a ringer for the movie star Myrna Loy), and, with a hairdresser’s help, lovely blonde hair. Nana’s sixties were spent largely during the 1960’s themselves, but no miniskirts or love beads for Nan! After retirement from teaching music in NYC schools, she spent her days doing crossword puzzles, lunching with friends, and volunteering at Lots for Little. Old lady stuff, thought I.
They are all in Heaven now, and here I am, still stubbornly earthbound. If you asked Aiden and Peter to describe me (and I beg you, don’t) I am guessing they’d mention my wrinkles, and that I fall asleep "watching" TV (my homage to Leona!) The word they most likely wouldn’t use is “young," and that’s OK. Because I’m not, not anymore. But there’s still much of life to live, and I look forward to it all.
Especially Social Security and Medicare. Whoopee!!