WE ARE A WEB


Like it or not, we are a web. We are connected in ways we cannot imagine. Back in the dark ages, we were girls of seventeen and eighteen and parted ways to begin our lives, careers and families. Through the years we tried not to think of our age, which makes it interesting now to celebrate 90th birthdays so often.

By and large, everyone is holding up well, give or take a few aches and pains, though four out of nine have lost children, three in this past year. All but one are widowed, and the strength in each is admirable and enviable. All but one still live in their own home. All but one still drive. One is giving her car up next week at the urging of her children. Yesterday’s birthday girl passed the DMV test, had her license renewed for 5 years, and bought a new car in celebration.

There comes a time, if you are cognizant, that you need to throw away the car keys. In my case, I found fading sight was to blame, but I think there are also tiny things like jumping when another car horn frighten you, or slowing down when others are speeding up. So many small warning signs.

It is always interesting even after seventy plus years to hear that someone is related to someone that is a friend of someone else. One friend worked for the Oakland school district with the Godmother of my daughter. A few years ago, I met the sister of another friend and mentioned that a good friend of mine was moving into a lovely senior development. She asked if it was “blah-blah” and I said it was. She told me that she sings at a church in Walnut Creek, and I told her that our cousin donated the stained glass windows. Someone mentioned a few girls and someone else said those are my cousins.

One had a menu from the Matson Line ship Lurline from 1948 where one of our ladies was listed as a passenger. My cousin was the captain of the Lurline at that time.

Of course our conversation flows from subject to subject and includes things which need to be discussed either for ourselves or for other aging friends. One women received a new scam telephone call which she warned about. I don’t believe that this group of women are particularly vulnerable, but in a weak moment, you never know. One friend who is 95 and not in this group, is sharp as a tack and has all her marbles, but when someone told her she needed to send $15,000 to Mexico to help her grandson, she sent it. Luckily she was able to get her money back.

The picture of the frail little old lady is not always a true picture. Some grannies may be packing a small derringer in their pocketbook.

However, yesterday afternoon, my daughter was shopping and a frail little old lady was clearly confused and panicky beside her. When she asked if she could help, the little lady said that she wanted to get back home but couldn’t remember where it was. My kind daughter put her into her car and found where she lived and got her home again. When I said how proud I was of her, she said it might have been me. You just don’t know from one day to the next.

Memories are great, but we tend to forget that there is still time to add to them while polishing up the old.

Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.

14 thoughts on “WE ARE A WEB”

  1. The simplicity (and complexity) of this blog post is stunning. You chronicle the aging process in a matter-of-fact way but your words belie the challenges one faces as old age takes its toll. One day at a time, they say. I love this post, Kayti.

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    1. There have been challenges throughout all our lives. Nothing really changes. It’s always been how we face them. Sometimes disastrous things become humorous in retrospect. Your mother broke her toe jogging in place so I knit her a toe cover which she wore to her high school reunion. She was a bit hit. I will look for my knitting needles.

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      1. I do not remember this. Which toe did she break? Don’t bother knitting me a toe cover because my little toe is so short the doctor had a hard time holding on to it when he reset it…LOL

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  2. My dearest mom,
    Such wisdom you have and how wonderful it is that you surround yourself with friends that also continue to be curious and insightful. The little woman that I assisted seemed to enjoy our conversation even more than me and really didn’t want to say goodbye when we reached her apartment. I am certain that the experience was way more enriching for me, however, as I am now determined to look for opportunities to help the more vulnerable with small random acts of kindness. Such an easy thing to do…even with just a warm smile. As our communities become more dense, traffic and stress increase. It is good to remember that each day is a gift and that it is all temporary. What matters in the end is the lives we can touch with kindness. That is what you have always done and I am grateful that I was paying attention along the way. I love you so very much.

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  3. We are still fortunate to share memories. I could not think of a particular name for a flower this morning. Helvi helped me out and it was the Agapanthus. I temporarily lost it.
    Good post, Kayti.

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    1. Agapanthus is a name Dr. Can never remember either! My plant bugaboo is Alstromeria! Luckily we have neither right now.

      It is so frustrating not to remember things we should remember, but just yesterday a youngish man was here and his brain shut off in mid-sentence. I’m sure that there is so much information in our brains that it gets confused. We are all fearful of a possibility that we will become forgetful. Keep bringing up those memories Gerard. The more you use them they won’t leave. One of my friends at the luncheon Wednesday had to leave. She suddenly for just a moment forgot where she was. It has happened before so she is quite frightened. Perhaps a mini-stroke, who knows? She is protecting herself (and others) by selling her car. A gentleman friend left the house one day, turned and said “Old age sucks!”

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  4. You’re so lucky to have so many of your friends from your earlier years still with you. One of those little truths of life that we never think about until someone expresses it is, “You can’t make old friends.” Maybe you said that, now that I think about it. But it’s true. As much as we may enjoy someone we first meet at age 70 or 80, we’ll never have the same kind of experience we have with people we’ve known for half a century or more.

    As for the interconnections among people — they truly are amazing. I’m convinced that if we talk to any new acquaintance long enough, we’ll find the connection. It may be a home town, it may be a former boss, it could be a divorce lawyer, it could be a favorite spot where we vacationed. But the connection always is there. When a friend had to go into a Houston rehab center for a brief time, she had a nurse from Liberia. That didn’t take any time at all. After five minutes, we discovered that his sister had married a brother of my houseboy. It’s an amazing world.

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    1. Yes, read my reply to you in the Isleta post. Another time we were selling our Kirkland house and a belly dancer wanted to buy it to uese the barn to teach in. A Palestinian friend who worked for Sam said “I know her!” and he did. She didn’t have the money so that ended. They always say we have to be careful what we say, we might step on someone’s toes. You never know.
      I am so grateful that we still have so many wonderful friends. The differences between the age groups is interesting. The 90 year group are all experiencing (as I am)so many changes in their bodies, and some even in cognative ability. It’s comforting to know you are not alone.

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      1. Why, thank you! I hardly can believe it’s been a year since my last, and that wonderful three-week trip. I was hoping for some sort of autumn trip this year, too, but it just hasn’t worked out. So, in a fit of rationality, I decided to take on as much work as I could manage, and save up some money for a spring trip. I’ve never seen the big prairies in spring, and it’s about time I do that!

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