Saturday, February 9, 2008

Woo Hoo! I'm OLD!

I am fond of saying "There have been more changes in daily life between 1900 and today...than there were from the beginning of recorded history to 1900." I'm also fond of saying, (in a sing-song-y voice), "Now, when I was a girl....." Because when I WAS a girl, times were very different. We didn't have a television until I was 10 years old (very few of our neighbors had them). We had one telephone and the number was Pleasant 0026. We listened to programs on the radio. (I STILL LOVE YOU, SGT. PRESTON!!) I remember crying when Mom told me "Baby Snooks is dead". Well...actually Fanny Brice was dead, at the age of something like 89, but I thought she was the little kid on my favorite radio show, and I was horrified; it hadn't ever occurred to me kids could die.

There is one day I don't remember. February 9, 1943.

World War II was raging, and Minot, North Dakota was on "war time" - similar to Daylights Savings, I believe. At St. Joseph's Hospital, around 11:00 pm, I was born!

My dad was City Editor of the Minot Daily News; Mommy was a skillful homemaker, and my sister was six years old. Observe: Mommy looks delighted; I look goofy dubious. NOTE: clicking on these pictures will make them bigger, but also fuzzier. Combination of inferior film during the War and inexpert use of 21st century digital photography (I took pictures of the pictures.)

Frankly, I can't imagine my sister being very tickled to have a little sister - and six years' difference is considerable when you're little kids. We didn't have much togetherness growing up - but she is a great Big Sister, and now as Ladies of Advancing Age, I'd say we're more connected than ever before.

Here we are, my sister Toni and I. Very few of my future sterling qualities can be seen in this picture - although I'd have to say that I seemed to be channeling Dumbo was just MADE for being a good listener. May I add, I've grown into those ears. Truly. Incidentally - oops the Lovely Daughter says I overuse that word frightfully - by the way , Toni has a natural gift for style and decorating, inherited from Mom. It's not just that she's good, it's a gift. She has "an eye", or "the touch".

I've mentioned my interior decorating before (sort of a Hippie Eclectic); my legacy was more related to the bookish bent of the family.

So - as I sit here, at my wonderful laptop computer, watching my nice color teevee, surrounded by two cats, a very comfortable yarn stash, a very respectable library, and My Perfect Husband (OK, so the third time IS the charm; I can't imagine what I ever did to have the karmic gift of Mr Dearling, no kidding!) I have memories of Oofen Blotz, my childhood kitty; a mommy who taught me to knit in 1950; a daddy who instilled in me a deep love of the Written Word and a big sister who taught me to walk and swim, among other things.

My three children (whose births I even enjoyed, hippie Earth Mother that I was) are clever, creative, loving, honest people. I'd like them a real lot even if they weren't my very own punkies. I've pretty much enjoyed my jobs through the years, all some form of secretarial work; I actually LIKE the tactile sensation of typing.

You were right, Mr Johnson, it WAS a good idea to study Typing in 11th grade, so I'd have a saleable skill. Thanks bunches.

So, I view this as really the Last Milestone Birthday. (Well, of course hitting "the big 1-0-0" would be one, but that's perhaps iffy.) Mr Dearling and I are going in Monday to apply for my Social Security, because I CAN! And now, ladies and gentlemen, I am entitled eligible for all those Old People Benefits; I've gotten some since I was 62, but now I REALLY get the lot. I happen to think that's very cool, and if the occasion should arise, I will not hesitate to lay about me with an umbrella shouting "Get outta my way, Sonny!"

But seriously, folks, it has resulted in some pondering. For example - being as it IS a milestone, I thought about planning a birthday party to mark it. (I haven't really had birthday parties, even as a kid.) But -- I couldn't decide what sort of party to have, or where to have it, and anything of a flashy nature tends toward the spendy; the plan instead is to have my kids and THEIR kids over tonight for a Pizza Picnic in the living room.

NOTE: Hog-and-Bloggers, cover your eyes for a moment.

I'm thinking I'll take some cake or a pile of cupcakes to the next Late Night Knit by way of celebration, to share with the knitterly sorts.

OK, Hog-and-Bloggers, you can read again.

It seems that THIS birthday should have Resolutions with it, like New Years. So I've actually made a few, and thought of some Things I Would Like to Do Before I Die (nope, haven't seen "The Bucket List" yet, but the idea intrigued me!).

Laura Ingalls Wilder was first published at the age of 65! So I'm going to try to accomplish that this year. I'm going to literally go through ALL my books and cull the ones that I really don't want to keep. (I realized that there ARE such beasts the other day, and that may be the first step toward the General Purge and Tidy to which I've aspired for a couple of years.) Some of the books are going to The Sow's Ear, our favorite LYS, which has a couple of Help-Yourself bookcases for novels and so on; some are going to collections in senior centers; some can go to the hospital collection and some are going to Goodwill. (Don't knock it, there are GOOD books there - I'll have to donate when it's closed or I'll come back with different books and possibly more of them than I'm donating.)

I would like to learn ASL, polish my knowledge of Indian Sign Language, and study basic French. I mean to try to improve my knitterly skills and abilities. I am also going to start NOW and work diligently to improve my storytelling repertoire and skills.

Things I'd like to do before I die? Oh....see Cirque de Soleil, spend two weeks in autumn at the Mohonk Mountain House, go to a writers' or storytellers' convention somewhere maybe.

HowEVER! My pizza party is just a couple of hours away, so I'm going to shovel out pick up a bit in the living room to prepare.

Just think! I HAVE achieved the Knitterly Stereotype: I'm an old lady, sitting in my rocking chair and knitting while cats play about my feet......honestly? I feel a genuine CACKLE coming on!


CathyCate said...

Cackle away! You've earned it. Enjoy every minute of your milestone birthday, which should go on for a while, and your milestone year, and your milestone quarter-century, and....
OK. Don't milk it.
You DO look dubious in those pictures. "What in God's name have I gotten myself into?"

Marty52 said...

Happy Birthday, Dale-Harriet! I came to your blog some time ago, at Mrs. Mel's suggestion... I'm so glad I did. I enjoy your stories so much, you have let quite a life! Enjoy that Social Security!

Deb said...

Enjoy your milestone year, dear one!! Eat extra pizza, another cupcake, have that second glass of wine or beer! You, my friend, have earned it!

Alyson said...

Wooo, happy birthday Auntie Dale-Harriet! :-D Heck, 65?! You're not even approaching old age yet, in my book. My dad's pushing 70, and he's not even close to old. (Unless you ask my mother. Heh.) And by your logic, I've also reached Old Knitterly Lady age - we just bought a couple of rocking chairs for the porch this weekend!

cheesehead with sticks said...

Happy Happy Birthday To You!

Mary in Boston said...

Happy birthday Dale-Harriet!

Your post reminded me of an essay my daughter wrote in the sixth grade about how she couldn't wait to get to the part of her life where she could wear sundresses and sit on the porch with lemonade, and have a long stick to poke people with.

You both give me lots to look forward to. ;-)

I hope this is a spectacular birthday for you!

MollyBeees said...

Happy Happy Happy Birthday Dale-Harriet! The Sow's Ear is having a Beach Party on Friday for late night knit night so we'll have to do it up right! (I won't be wearing my swimsuit though like I did my jimjams that time!) Have some pizza and cake for me!

MX said...

A bit belated happy birthday wish to you! I hope the pizza party was a smash and that you get to do all the things you want to do!

Anonymous said...

Hippy birdie two ewe! I love the laying about you with an umbrella :)

Elizabeth said...

Happiest of Happy Birthdays! You Totally Rock! (I remember how thrilled I was the first time a younger person told me that about myself.) If the whole world was a great about getting older as you, the world would be a much better place. Embrace your inner old lady! Have a great pizza party.

Linda L. said...

Bon et Heureux Anniv√©rsaire, Dale-Harriet! You are living testament to the saying "You're only as old as you feel" and I bet you feel a lot younger than 65! (Not counting those -30°F mornings when we all feel like "seasoned citizens"...)

If you would like some practice with your French, I'd be happy to parle avec vous... can't let that $36K Bachelor's degree get too dusty.

Jane said...

Oh, Happy Happy Birthday! You have such fun goals, and I definitely recommend seeing the Cirque - sit CLOSE! I love your baby photos.

Diane said...

Happy Birthday. I think you've set some wonderful goals and hope you achieve every last one of them. Isn't it funny how the age when someone is old has changed over the years?

Iron Needles said...

Happy happy anniversary of the day of your fabulous birth! Congratulations on being able to look around and seeing the good in your life.
Enjoy the celebrations, whatever they be!

Dragonfly Judy said...

Happy Birthday from a new reader!

Groovy Granny said...

Happy Belated Birthday Dale-Harriet!! You have a few years on me--I was born in 1949--but I remember most of the things you mentioned. I think I was 8 when we got our first TV. I've also been married 3 times--and while I struck out 3 times, I'm very, very content on my own now. I also have 3 children (girls) who turned into very nice grownups. My stepdad celebrated his 90th birthday on the 7th and until 6 months ago still golfed, hunted and fished regularly. Sooooo--I'd say probably some of the best years are yet to come!! Enjoy!!!!

Groovy Granny said...

Happy Belated Birthday Dale-Harriet! I remember most of the things you mentioned--I was born in 1949. I think I was 8 when we got our first TV. I also have been married 3 times--but I struck out that 3rd time. But I'm happy to say I am very very content with my own company now and being on my own. I raised 3 daughters who have turned into quite nice and talented grownups. My stepdad turned 90 on the 7th and until very recently was still golfing, hunting and fishing regularly. Soooo--perhaps you still have the best years yet to accomplish your dreams!! Enjoy!