Ann Farabee: Is 70 just a number?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 11, 2024

By Ann Farabee

Is 70 just a number? Hmm, good question to ask myself.

Seventy years ago, at 8:10 p.m. on a late April evening, I was born. There was nothing particularly exciting about it for me, but I am sure my parents thought I was cute.

On that night, my mother slept peacefully, as I was being delivered in Cabarrus Memorial Hospital in Concord.

Years later, I discovered her list of potential names for me, and just to clarify, she did name me Ann.

She did not choose her other option — Nancy.

The No. 1 girl name in 1954 was Mary. Nancy was No. 8 and Ann was No. 44.

The No. 1 girl name trending on the chart for 2024 is Elodie. Aurora is No. 8. Anne spelled with an e is in the top 1000, but my name, Ann, is no longer on the charts. I guess the name Ann has been retired.

I suppose that somewhere over the last 70 years, name preferences have changed.

That is not all that has changed.

I lived before the microwave and the cell phone. The computer first showed up in 1956, but it was larger than a refrigerator.

The first TV set that I remember watching was in 1963 when I was in the fourth grade, as our entire nation mourned the loss of President John F. Kennedy. My guess is that most anyone that is 70 can remember when they first heard about it and saw it on the news.

In first grade, I remember stacking up my textbooks around my work space, so no one could copy my work.

Second grade was the only grade where I was “called down” for misbehavior. James was lined up in front of me and he broke in line to get there. I pulled on the loop that was on the back of his button-up shirt, and that loop fell off. My teacher was not happy with me. It made me sad because I was just trying to help her get us all lined up properly and I considered James to be out of compliance.

Third grade was not as eventful, but I do know that Mrs. Price was my teacher, and I felt like I was her pet.

In fourth grade, I won the class spelling bee. I also became the official name taker for the class. I do not know why other students wanted to talk when we were supposed to be quiet. Thankfully, Mrs. Hartsell knew she could trust me. That was the year I knew I would become a teacher one day.

In fifth grade, Mrs. Schinhan loved music, art and dance, and by the end of the school year, we all did  too. She let our entire class go to her house for an end-of-the-year party, and that was the first house I remembered going into that a rich teacher lived in. It was the first time I ever saw a deck. The whole class stood on it at the same time, and we looked down into the yard. She must have been a millionaire.

In sixth grade, my teacher was old. I knew that because she had gray hair. I was her pet, too. I got to grade lots of papers for her. A boy in our class tripped her by accident and she fell on those clanky metal steps in Woodrow Wilson School, and when she came back to school, she was wearing a cast.

In seventh grade, I was still the teacher’s pet, but I had some other interests, as well. I still do not know why that boy that I liked did not like me. Maybe I was not pretty enough. Maybe I was way too shy. Maybe he was invited to some parties that I only heard about. Those parties were in brick houses — not in mill houses.

It all worked out in the end.

In 1954, La Salle won the NCAA Basketball Championship, Minneapolis Lakers won the NBA Championship, stamps were 3 cents, and children first received the polio vaccine. Dwight D. Eisenhower  was our president from 1953-1961.

In response to my question, “Yes, 70 is just a number.” It is a fairly big number, though.

So far, a few days into my 71st year, I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

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