July 27, 2016

                                                     If I Knew at 60 What I Know Now

I recently attended my Aunt Pearlie’s 94th birthday celebration. Also in attendance were her 88-year-old sister, Geneva, and her other sister who happens to be my 87-year-old mother, Lucille. It was a glorious event. It goes without saying they have marvelous and intriguing stories to tell.

As her grandchildren were escorting Aunt Pearlie into the event, her daughter whispered to me, “She may not know who you are.” 

That would have been understandable given her age and the fact that I hadn’t seen her in nearly 10 years. However, Aunt Pearlie walked straight up to me and called me by my nickname.

 “You know who I am?” I asked in somewhat disbelief.

“Of course,” she replied. “You came in 1951. You and Anne (Geneva’s daughter). My Flora was supposed to come in 1951, but she was lazy and didn’t come until January 1952.”

“My goodness,” I thought to myself in a “duh” moment and said aloud, “So the three of you were pregnant at the same time?”  I had never thought of it from that perspective. Anne had always been my “bestest” cousin. But I had never considered the timing of our births from our mothers’ perspectives. What an amazing period that must have been for the three of them.

“Uh-huh,” she replied.

I also realized that if I am blessed with my mom and aunts’ longevity, I may have more than 25 years of active life left on this earth. My mother still drives, attends senior water aerobics and yoga classes, and has a part-time job. The event was being held at the recreation center where Aunt Pearlie attends exercise classes. And, the three of them speak on the telephone almost daily. Aware of the wealth of knowledge and experience around me, and in an attempt to avoid any aging missteps, I decided to use the moment to ask each of them, “What do you wish someone had told you when you were 60?”

Aunt Pearlie: Everything in moderation, exercise, and eat healthy meals.

Aunt Geneva: Eat right and never forget to say “thank you”!

Lucille, the most loquacious of the bunch, launched into a sermon about pleasing Jesus and what is done in the dark comes out in the light. But with a little prodding she finally said, “I should have saved more money so I could go anywhere I want to go.”

There you have it – sound and reliable aging advice. And just to reinforce the old adage that “It ain’t over, til it’s over,” after the party in a quiet moment, my mother informed me she wants to get her ears pierced.

“Why?” I asked.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said. “But I don’t know where to have it done.”

Needless to say, within the next few days we will be off to the mall where I am going to pick out the best set of starter earrings I can find. Another new beginning!

Aunt Pearlie