Skip to main content

Aging ain't what it used to be



 "When I get older losing my hair, many years from now. Will you still be sending me a Valentine, birthday greetings bottle of wine?" This line from the pen of the Beatles was in the extreme far distance when I first heard it in 1967.  I was 15 and the idea that I would someday be 64 was inconceivable (did I even know what that word meant?).

I remember what 64 year old people looked like in the 60's and they looked - well, they looked old.  Old as in men wore baggy khaki pants and brown brogans and shuffled around on a cane coughing all the time like they had tuberculosis. Their shirts had stains on them and they yelled at kids and were generally useless for anything except taking up space on the front porch or giving kids Dutch rubs.

64 year old women were gray-headed, fat and wore baggy old flowery moo-moo's and had those thick nylons that went up to the knee and black clog-dancing shoes they stomped around in and yelled "Ehhh?" every time you tried to talk to them.  "Ehh?  Whadja say there sonny?"

This is how I remembered them, me being full of wisdom and 15. Now that may not have been the case, but youth has a way of ageing people prematurely and yes, unfairly. When you are 15, dating a girl 17 would put you squarely in the stud category (not that I would know anything about that!). A 24 year old is, like, way advanced in age and if a person is 30, well, can someone say "one foot on a banana peel and the other in the grave?"

Remember hearing that some 12th grade cheerleader was dating ... (gasp) a college student? Yea, she was probably 17 and the guy 18.

"Old man look at my life, 24 and there's so much more. Live alone in a paradise, that makes me think of two." I was 20 when Neil Young published this iconic song and 24 seemed a long way off. Come today, I was 24 - 40 years ago. In simple terms when I first heard this song, I would triple my age to arrive where I am today.

Back in 1968, the ever-morphing and imaginative Beatles also wrote: "They say it's your birthday. It's my birthday too, yeah They say it's your birthday. We're gonna have a good time. I'm glad it's your birthday. Happy birthday to you." This was written when they couldn't imagine being 64 and were still excited about actually having another birthday party. The good thing about having a birthday at my age is you get to reflect that you are still alive. The bad side is yea, you are one year older and like Pink Floyd wrote, "One day closer to death".

My dad (rest in peace) once remarked about exercise that "all it does is postpone the inevitable.

Alice Cooper released "I'm eighteen" in 1970.  I was eighteen at the time and I still love this song today because it really summed up how I felt at that time. I was a man in that I could go to war for my country, but I was a boy because I couldn't buy a beer.   Vincent Furnier, the lead singer for the band was coincidentally - 24 years old when they released this song.

"Lines form on my face and hands. Lines form from the ups and downs. I'm in the middle without any plans. I'm a boy and I'm a man. I got a baby's brain and an old man's heart. Took eighteen years to get this far. Don't always know what I'm talkin' about. Feels like I'm livin' in the middle of doubt."  Here I am 40 some odd years later and like Vincent, I often time think I still have a baby's brain and an old man's heart.  "I get confused every day and I don't know what to say" and folks older than me tell me it gets harder every day to sort things out. I hope not. I pretty much live day to day off my notes on my calendar as it is.

"What?  Rely on my memory ehh, sonny? What memory? Now where did I leave my brogans again? On second thought, where can I take my brogans and get the laces replaced  with Velcro? Do you think my khaki pants are too wrinkled to wear to Wal-mart? The older I get young fella, the better I used to be! Hand me my sack of meds while your up! What are those kids doing on my lawn?"

Comments

Anonymous said…
I enjoy your articles Bert. I was going to write something else, but for the life of me, I don't remember what it was. LOL!

Fred
Anonymous said…
Loved that. Left me sitting in a reverie long enough to let my coffee get cold. Anyone who drove past my house and saw me sitting on the front porch swing, staring at the grass in my flower'dy mumu, just saw that ol' lady in your article. �� ra
Weldon Haltom said…
Bert, it seems that you, like me, mark time in your life by the music of your life.
I've had mnany of the same thoughts over the years.
You're so much better at putting those thoughts into words than I can.
Keep it up, Bud.
Anonymous said…
Dandy Don Cunningham: Great! Bert, I meant to tell you this morning, but had to make a visit to someone, but your column in The Baytown Sun was great! I want you to know how much I enjoyed it and always really look forward to reading them. Bless you, brother.
Anonymous said…
Caroline Pemberton: I meant to tell you also that I enjoyed your column. I get distracted and forgot to tell you.
Anonymous said…
MR: enjoyed the column as well Bert Marshall, but I've been mowing all day, (you've seen my yard and golf course....lol)

Popular posts from this blog

Camp fires, wood smoke, and burning leaves.

When I was a kid, everyone burned leaves in the fall. I always enjoyed it so much.It was a happy time. Man, that smell was amazing and you couldn’t go anywhere without smelling it. Of course now I know that it is a major source of air pollution and those of us that live inside the city limits are restricted from doing it. I don’t think I would burn them anyway, choosing to compost instead.
The whole family would engage in raking the yard and the reward was burning the leaves. The thick gray smoke would pour out like liquid clouds and we would run through it. Afterward, we smelled like smoke, but we didn’t care. I would wager that most people under the age of 30 have never even raked leaves into a pile, let alone burn them.
Growing up in north Georgia in the late 60’s, my 3 brothers and I would camp out most of the summer and burn anything and everything on our campfire. At the end of summer there wouldn’t be a stick, pine cone, or needle on the ground. We smelled like mountain men a…

Riding the waves

Back in 1974, after coming back to the USA from the unpleasant conflict in Southeast Asia, I was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California. Vandenberg has 20 miles of coastline that is basically closed to the public and people in residence, regardless if you are in the military or not. This rule didn’t seem to affect my fellow airmen and I from going body surfing on a lonely stretch of beach, far from controlling authorities. There was a submerged shelf that ran out a couple three hundred yards from the beach that was flat and about 6 feet deep.You could swim way out there and as the ocean waves came in, they would hit that shelf and make 5 feet high waves that white-capped all the way in. Now mind you, this was pre-Jaws and none of us had ever heard of a Great White shark. Year later I read where this stretch of beach was prime habitat and a couple years ago, an airman was killed right there.
We had been in the 65 degree water for about an hour and I was turning …

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

I wish I could remember who it was that said you can get a basic education in three years, but let us take a look at Ben Franklin as an example of that. We have a family joke that the answer to almost any Jeopardy clue is almost always “Who was Ben Franklin?”
When I am asked who I would most likely enjoy an afternoon with, it is always Ol’ Ben, the only President of the United States, who was never the President of the United States. Did you know he was the master of self-promotion and a man I admire? Even as a young lad, if he spotted a person of higher station, he would grab a shovel or some tool and begin to work diligently. The person would see him and remark, “What a fine worker that young man is!”
I’ve read a couple of books on the man and it still amazes me that he did so much with so little organized education. “From 1714-1716, Franklin attended Boston Grammar School and George Brownell's English School (for one year each) but he was withdrawn due to the expense of formal…