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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Spunky Seniors, a Welcoming Group

I joined a new Facebook group this week, called Spunky Seniors. It's a group of people who are fifty or older, who want to share their talents and enjoy their successes together. I guess AARP started the notion of the age of fifty being a significant turning point in people's lives.

Which, I guess, is fine. I remember thinking, when I was twenty and my mother was fifty, that she was a senior citizen. We didn't really have grandparents that we knew into their old age. They had all passed before the first of us had married, and before I was ten. Grandfathers were gone before I was born, and one grandmother, my mother's mother, passed when I was five.

I remember her ... I remember her sitting in the little "cricket chair" that I still have and treasure for its memories. I remember her in the living room of our very busy house, her chair in front of the corner china cabinet that held my mother's special things, some odd china bowls, a large scenic sugar Easter Egg, and an Easter lamb made of curlicue vanilla frosting. I remember Nana's rosary beads clicking in her lap, her lips moving silently as she prayed, and her fingers reaching out to tickle me as I ran past her chair, giggling. It is one of the happiest, most carefree memories I have of childhood.

My other grandmother, my dad's mother, lived longer, but for more than a decade was in a nursing home, where we visited her now and then on a weekend. She was bedridden, and fairly silent. She died on a very cold week in January, a month before I would turn ten. I remember we stayed home from school the next day, the day before the wake and funeral, and my brother and I bundled up and went for a walk to the park. I can still hear my dad saying very sternly to us "If you are stopped by anyone and asked why you are out of school, just say "death in the family." I remember after her funeral finding the leftover thank you cards in the front hall on my mother's hope chest. They were literally "letters edged in black," with matching envelopes. I didn't ask permission, I just decided that I could write notes and deliver them up and down the street. Found out later, I was told sternly that I might have caused a heart attack for neighbors who would find such an envelope in their letter box. I remember feeling badly, and watching carefully for the next day or two, wary that a hearse might come down the street and pick up one of my neighbors. But none did.

Our parents were our oldest generation.

Now we're the oldest generation in our family. Parents, aunts, uncles ... all of our parents' brothers and sisters have passed, save one sister-in-law of my mother's. And of our generation, the numbers are beginning to dwindle. We've lost two brothers, one sister, and a number of first cousins on both sides of the family tree. Our own children, the next generation is now in the middle, and their children, our grandchildren, are reaching adulthood and beginning yet another generation. I am now a great-grand aunt. Any of my great grand aunts were never known to us, as they were back in Scotland, or in Canada. They were never known even to my parents' generation, their own grandchildren. Those who came here to America apparently never looked back after a few years. Perhaps there was nothing to look back to. A world depression dominated our parents childhood, and surely their parents, my grandparents, were busy trying to survive here with their children in America.

So I am more than happy to join such an upbeat, confident, creative and productive group as Spunky Seniors promises to be. Some are writers, some artists, and all are beginning to find time to pursue life's next passion. I am already a decade older than some of the members. I will share my excitement with them when a book is published, or a quilt is sold. And I will in time be the grandmother again, or the great grandmother, happily sitting in the little cricket chair, rosary beads clicking in my lap, and fingers twitching to reach out and tickle a little one dashing by.

Oh ~ Here's the link to Spunky Seniors!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I've mentioned that in one of my posts for my Blog Book Tour. It's hard to believe I'm part of the older generation now!

    Morgan Mandel


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