Walking thru the crosswalk at half speed, in tan knee highs, with blue hair spun up into a sphere, too much lipstick on an overly wrinkled face, with a cane, shoal, and large brown purse. It's hard for me to imagine her rebelling against her parents.
What they must have though when they learned she was swinging instead of waltzing. She was listening to Benny Goodman and not a more "classic" sound. She now lives in a world where classics are from the 70's, oldies from the 50's, and her music is so old it's called a standard. No one remembers that her parents might have said "I don't want you to play your wild music in here!" while waving a Jimmy Dorsey album cover under her nose.
I feel a strange sense of loss as I see the passing of this generation. I understand that this 90 year old woman was in a pre-war world II atmosphere in high school. Jazz was old news, Big Band was wild, and Swing was emerging, and no one knew what a Stratocaster was, or cared if someone else got voted off an island.
When you went out you dressed up. Even to go and get ice cream, you wore a suit, or dress, and it didn't matter if it was August. I'm not even sure I could imagine wearing a wool suit in summer, and sitting at the diner, smoking my cigar, and then coughing up $.15 for the meal. It sounds like a joke, but she lived it. And now here she is.
Her Grandchildren forcing her to use email, so they can communicate, because, "no one uses the phone, Grandma." She saw the invention of the seatbelt, freeway and satellite. I've never lived in a world without the microwave oven, and she might have heated her iron on the stove. She finally gets a handle the VCR and some upstart has to invent digital recorders, or the Internet, or wireless telephones.
When my kids grow up, the elderly will be my parent’s generation. From Ed Sullivan, and Civil rights, to Hendrix and Tie-Die. What will they think? Certainly they will have a much different impression of what it means to be older. Tattoos and ponytails at the convalescence home, can you imagine? I can image trying to explain things to my great granddaughter. "Calling you at home in New Berlin, the lunar colony, feels odd to me." Of course this won't make sense to her, it will just be her world. And maybe she'll ask me with a furrowed brow, "What was it like great Grandpa, when people used to type on keyboards, and what is a Blog for?"
"Who remembers dear, who remembers?"