“Older Than Dirt”

I was talking with a friend yesterday and she asked me if I felt a year older now. No, not a whole year older. However, I just came across a file while scrolling through my DropBox and as I reread it, I realized that I, too, am “older than dirt.”
Renee Boomer shared these thoughts about eight years ago. They’re surely worth posting again. I hope they give you youngsters under fifty a smile today, too.

Man reflectingMy husband always tells the grandchildren that he is ‘older than dirt’. They find that quite funny. When I was approaching my sixtieth birthday they looked at me and said, “Gamma, now you will be ‘older than dirt’ just like Papa.
Ha-ha. They will have their turn.

Old-Time Memories

When my Dad was cleaning out my grandmother’s house he brought me an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it. I knew immediately what it was, but my daughter had no idea.
She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something. I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to ‘sprinkle’ clothes with because we didn’t have steam irons. Man, I am old!

How many of these do you remember?
– Head lights dimmer switches on the floor.
– Ignition switches on the dashboard.
– Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards.
– Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner.
– Using hand signals for cars without turn signals.
— Ice boxes and home delivery of ice.
— Galvanized steel bath tubs.
Toy doll in tub

Here’s an official Older Than Dirt Quiz :
Count all the ones that you remember not the ones you were told about.
Then see your rating at the bottom. 🙂

Candy cigarettes
Coffee shops with table-side juke boxes
Home milk delivery in glass bottles
Telephone party lines
Newsreels before the movie
TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning. There were only 3 channels — if you were fortunate!
Peashooters
Howdy Doody
45 RPM records
Hi-fi’s
Metal ice trays with lever
Blue flashbulb
Cork popguns
Studebakers
Wash tub wringers

If you remembered 0-3 = You’re still young
If you remembered 3-6 = You are getting older
If you remembered 7-10 = Don’t tell your age
If you remembered 11-15 = You’re older than dirt!

I might be “older than dirt” but those memories are some of the best parts of my life!

The Nursing Home

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was HABITAT

asia-1822460_640Last night I was reading some poems written by a man visiting his aged mother in the nursing home, and decided to write one myself, about an incident that happened when my Mom-in-law was 97. She had dementia, but not the total loss of Alzheimer’s, so she still had a sense of where she was living.

Wheeling Mom around the nursing home
we find the visitors’ room almost empty today.
Just one old gent in his wheelchair, staring silently
in peaceful meditation — or frustration?

We stop awhile in our rambling – and why not?
We’re just killing time, really. The last hours of a lifetime.
I pick a spot by the picture window and we gaze outside.
Beautiful yard. Even if her vision’s fuzzy, I hope
she can still catch some of the spring colour.

She looks around the huge room, discerning
a bit of the high ceilings and classy woodwork.
“My grandfather built this house,”
she informs the man, with a touch of pride,
not remembering that this isn’t a house.

When we first brought her here she thought
it was a junkyard, the final habitat of old and unwanted.
But that memory’s gone; now, thankfully, she likes
this place her grandpa built — sometimes just worked on.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,”
the old fellow snaps. One of the lucid ones, bad luck.
Held captive here by his lack of mobility, perhaps,
but wheelchairs don’t affect the understanding.

“He did!” Mom insists. “My grandpa built this place
and Uncle Pete helped.” Because didn’t they both live here?
And weren’t they both carpenters? Good ones, too!
She remembers her Dad getting letters from his sister;
she and Uncle Pete did live here, back in the ’30s.

Her dad was blind so she read everything to him,
so she knows. How dare this man contradict her!
Of course she remembers her grandpa. Even Uncle Pete –
if only from those letters Aunt Catherine wrote.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about!”
But his harsh retort just bounces off her certainty.
I decide to continue our stroll and wheel her down the hall
while she can still be right – and he’s definitely wrong.

Have Some of My Cake

Good morning to all my readers and followers.

Bright sunshine forecasting a beautiful day and I’m celebrating my birthday by having a coffee, doing the laundry, and generally staying home and avoiding all human contact. 🙂

Not quite true, as I’m cooking supper at the seniors’ residence this afternoon; also, my dear husband gave me a card and a kiss before he left to pick up a few groceries. Thankfully,  I can visit online as well, so won’t you all join me this morning for a cup of coffee, a piece of cake, and a few relevant verses.

CoffeeCake.Farooq Sharif

Here are a few haiku I wrote yesterday, combining thoughts of warmer days to come with our current situation:

morning joggers
run rings around
my safe space

a bumblebee
not knowing the law
comes way too close

if only mosquitoes would get the point of social distancing

This Strange Whiteness

Hello everyone. The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is AFRAID. A word with so many shades, from embarrassed to reluctant to a bit fearful to terrified.

I’m afraid — somewhat embarrassed, that is — that I’ve been very slow to respond. Today I’ve been occupied with a sewing project. And I’m afraid — reluctant to admit and say — that I won’t be doing much blogging for a couple of weeks, as I MUST attend to other important things that have been piling up.

As long as nothing goes “BUMP” in the night, I’m not seriously fearful about anything right now.

Here’s a poem about fear, and how fearful folks with dementia sometimes feel. They know something’s wrong; they sense that their mind isn’t working like it should; and (if they’re still with it enough) they wonder how much more confused they’re going to get.

My verse probably needs some help and I’m open to suggestions how I can improve it.

Wandering in a strange whiteness
I’ve lost my mind in a snowbank,
I’m half frozen — and the wind
has blotted out what I should know;
memories buried in snow.

Perhaps I know you, but the blur
drifting across my eyes today
has made vague shrouds
of the familiar. I can’t recall
in these grey, blinding clouds,
who I once was, or how…
I’m related to you, you say?
I’m afraid I’ve forgotten.

How I wish some breeze
could blow this fog out of my mind;
melt this snow, warm my bones,
show me where I should be,
I hate to have to sit here
half the day, blind and frozen.

Hula-Hoop Flexible? Not.

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today — which I’m so slow at responding to because of a trip to the city this morning — is FLEXIBLE.

A great word, and a great concept. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone were flexible, both in body and in mind. Not flexible with the truth, like saying black is white or “If it feels good, do it.” Just flexible enough to ponder new ideas and make the change when something better comes along.

Flex.OCArtBut my first thought in regard to the word “flexible” is how I used to be when I was young. Hula-hoops were all the rage and we used to writhe around all recess keeping our hoops moving around our waists. It wasn’t one bit hard, either, as I recall.

As fads recycle, hula hoops reappeared when my grandchildren were younger and I decided to try it again, for old times’ sake. (Those old times before I knew what arthritis meant.) There was something wrong with the way this hoop was made, though: it wouldn’t stay where it was supposed to. When I gave it that first spin and started gyrating to keep it circling, it dropped to the floor. Every time. I soon gave up. Either the thing was too rigid to twirl properly or perhaps modern plastic is just too heavy.

Modern Times & Grandma

THE MODERN GRANDMA

The old rocking-chair will be empty today
for Grandma no longer is in it.
She’s off in her car to her office or shop;
she buzzes around every minute.
You won’t see her trundling off early to bed
from her chair in a warm chimney nook;
her typewriter’s clicking far into the night,
for Grandma is writing a book!

Our heroine never allows backward looks
to slow down her steady advancing;
there ‘s no baby-sitting for her anymore—
for Grandma has taken up dancing.
She isn’t content with her thoughts of old times,
with meager and second-hand knowledge.
So don’t bring your mending for Grandma to do
for Grandma has gone back to college!

🙂

I’ve Googled and found this poem listed as “Author Anonymous” in several books, with a few variations. I found this version in the 1976 Friendship Book of Francis Gay. None of them mentioned Grandma running for office, but modern grandparents are doing that, too.

Yes, the lot of grandparents has changed very much my grandparents’ day. We’ve lost some important connections and probably thrown too much wisdom “out with the bathwater,” as Grandma would say. But in many ways I’m very thankful for the freedom seniors have today.

At the Villa one day over dinner we talked about some of the changes that make it possible for handicapped people to get out and about, like walkers, motorized wheelchairs, sidewalk ramps. And then there are health benefits like cataract surgery and macular degeneration treatment to prevent blindness and various medications to regulate the heart and keep people active longer. So Grandma can go back to college. 🙂

I think of my Grandma, who went from home to home visiting her children, not often appreciated by the grands. She had basically no interaction with us except to reprove bad behaviour. The mentality back in her childhood would have been “children should be seen and not heard”; it was not for parents to have a rapport with their children.

One older man told his son, “I envy you that, that you young fathers are encouraged to be close with, and affectionate to, your children. When I was young, fathers were to represent Authority, be stern and dole out correction.”

Some widowed grandmothers a century ago were simply “taken in” by whoever of the children had the most room or time to care for her. I would—and I  think most grandmothers now would—far rather have their own small quarters in a senior’s residence than be the “fifth wheel” in a busy family.