I’ve Never Had Grandparents…

But I sure would love them, they have 80+ years of crap to share with us.

Betty White was recently honored with a Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement award.  Since then, she has come back into the spotlight and had a stint last week on SNL, and managed to spark love from people other than die-hard Golden Girls fans.  

Betty is 88.  I just came across a letter to the editor in my Screen Actor Magazine and it further lauded and reminded us that old folks aren’t senile old bats, decrepit old-fashioned, sweet-toothed simpletons, nor boring old farts.

The elderly possess a world we will never know, they’ve gotten through the torment of middle school, the nerves of young adulthood, the throws of early careers and young parenthood.  Then, the rise and flux of technology, media, transportation and communication systems, the chaos of war, changes in medicine and care, and a tremendous period of significant mutation for the world.  The last 80-90 years have seen an unbelievable amount of progress and process in how life is lead.  These people know change.  These people know resilience.

Here is the letter to the editor that made me teary with recognition.


“An Elder At 80”

Eighty-year-olds are “elders”.  Our children are seniors: high school seniors, senior salesmen, senior writers, and retired seniors.  We, the elders, are a separate generation heading towards 100.  Many elders, or perhaps most, have acquired some physical handicap, but we have wide-awake creative minds, escaping senility.

Cataclysmic events of the Great Depression and WWII flash in our memories.  Glorious moving pictures arrived in small town America.  Home radios sounded with scratches and hynoptic new televisions stir our memories.  We experienced the thrill of celebrations when we moved into the twenty-first century at the end of another 1,000 years– the new millennium.

We are live actors.  Acknowledge, recognize and call us who we are, ELDERS.  Perhaps there is another Methuselah hanging around (if we use a different calendar).  I’m Ida the elder, an actress nearing 90, with a will.  I still yearn to learn and earn.  Ida Lee, Hollywood


Age is a concept, not a state of being.

My father is 59 and swears he’s still 18.  He always says that age is a mindset, and doesn’t have to be a status.  Sure. bodies and faces and mechanisms age, yet why discount the important stuff?

Something has been pissing me off in recent days is my mother’s insistence on her getting old.  I keep thinking, but Mom! painters do their finest work later in life, directors finally get their voice, people finally pursue their dreams after retirement.  There’s life beyond middle-age.  One of the most beautiful things about it is that the neuroses of youth fall away, appearance is always important, sure, yet not of prime importance, you’ve battled years of finding out who you are, and now you can be it.


2 thoughts on “I’ve Never Had Grandparents…

  1. old folks aren’t senile old bats, decrepit old-fashioned, sweet-toothed simpletons, nor boring old farts.

    I love you Des.. this line made me laugh. I like that you wrote about this. We are hurdling ourselves daily through time into eventual old age. Being old is not being another species. I think it’s definitely time to redefine age / “success” ideals and see life as one long process instead of a series of age groups.

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