|Pam's parents, Ev and Walt, who are the subjects of her book, A Survival Guide for Children with Elderly Parents (Who Still Have Their Marbles)|
So, if you're over seventy, don't throw out your old stuff. The twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings want to get their hands on it. Put it on E-bay.
Which led me to wonder about the twenty-somethings:
-don't they know the shirts are stained with tobacco drool from grandpa's pipe?
-don't they know the pants have holes in not-so-appropriate places?
-don't they know the orthodic shoes are misshapen from the bunions that grew inside?
-don't they know the sweat stains in grandpa's baseball caps will never disappear?
-don't they know that tea cozies are dust collectors?
-don't they know that grandma's handknit afghans smells of moth balls?
-don't they know the thick socks with nonskid rubber underneath are from hospital overnights?
-don't they know that platinum highlights will come naturally?
-don't they know that herb-scented enlightenment is a reward after fifty years of working overtime?
-don't they know that retirement's freedom was paid for with a social security system
that is broken, a pension that was tithed, and a savings account that started
the minute grandma and grandpa married?
I guess the appeal of the twilight years is their authenticity. You can eat when you want, fart when you want, sleep when you want, make love when you want, stay up all night on the computer if you want, wear what you want, follow the dream you want, go where you want.
That's assuming you can still walk and see and digest and hear and have money to get there. "Getting old is not for sissies," the saying goes, and that's certainly true. But twenty-somethings don't want to hear about back pain, hip and knee replacements, arthritis flare-ups, kidney stones, and cataracts.
Their grandpas and grandmas have held them in diapers, attended their graduations, walked down the aisle at their weddings, and now are travelling around the world with them. They have become role models who have the younger generation's attention, and that is a testament unto itself in this culture of risk and exponentially increasing speed. Grandma and grandpa's histories need to be repeated, and time is of the essence. Forget the vinyl and afghans. Forget style. Tell the stories.