Deadwyler column: It seems like only yesterday when I was a kid
“They’re old people’s children.”
The above was an expression we used in our family because our generational gaps were so large. What I mean is my father was 40 when I was born ó he could have been my grandfather. So this means when I was a kid my grandparents and their friends and relations were in their 70s and beyond.
I really didn’t understand them, the older ones, like the way they moved and how they got hurt so easily. My grandparents lived, during the summer months, in a beach house that was set way up from the sandy ground on eight creosote posts. So we had a pretty long set of stairs that led up to the back door. I remember the way those old people would climb those stairs, slow like ants. I would run up them two steps at a time.
Also, I would hear stories like Great Aunt so-and-so falling at home, in the middle of a perfectly level floor, and breaking her hip. When I was a kid I’d run around outside and fall, or get pushed down, several times a day with nothing more to show for it than skinned knees.
Now at 62, I too am much more respectful of stairs. Also sometimes when I go to get up from my recliner it just doesn’t work as I collapse back into the seat only to try and get up again.
(When I was a kid I could eat all the candy I wanted and still stay as skinny as a rail ó now I’m diabetic, can’t eat any candy, and I’m struggling with being overweight.)
It struck me how old these folks actually were back when I was a kid at the beach. I had a conversation with a family friend or distant relation seated in the long sunny screen porch. He was 80! I was 8 and could do the math and knew he was 10 times older than I was.
At that tender age I had regard for, but no desire to be like, the oldsters I knew. They sat around and talked too much about their aches and pains and were so delicate and, over the years, they would die at intervals. Plus they didn’t look sleek like the younger adults I knew.
I’m now living inside a senior body and at last I understand.
I was wrong about something else too. I thought it would be eons of time before I became old. Nope, from where I sit now it was only yesterday when I was a kid…