Older Role Models

When I was young I can’t ever remember thinking about what it must be like to be old. I guess that is natural The next birthday is more far important than the prospect of turning 80 years old. But recently when age has been on my mind, I have been contemplating the passing of my years.. Guess I have to as it is stariing me right in the face. I looked at my grandparents snd thir lives as examples.

I knew my mother’s father best since he llived with us for at least 15 years. It is funny that I did not think of our hhome as a multigenerational one. Grandad was a hard working Scot. He and his four brothers emigrated to New Zelsand becsse of th poor employment vvonditionds in their counnty. Besides his family were coal miners and he was not fit for a job underground. He was a gardener and an excellent one. We had a couple of patches of grass for Dad to mow on our quuarter acre section and the rest was covered with plant life. My grandfather grew vegetables. fruit trees and vines. In fact he grew everything we ater apart from bananas and sweet oranges. Our section ws not big enough for large crops so the corn, tomatoes potatoes and onions were raised on an empty plot of land down the steet. What we didn’t eat right awaay was bottledd. frozen or made into jam. You would think that with alll this healthy food raised without chemical he eoulld live to be very old but he died in his 80’s of cancer. He showed me you coulld work hard when you were older and still be productive.

My paternal grandmother was almost his opposite. When Puppa died she moved into a litle house beside her daughytr who than did all her housewwork and cooking. Mind you she had never done much of that. I thinkk Puppa was so in love wth her that he happily paid a woman to clean and cook middday dinner on weekdays. Nana liked to sit in a chair and read. She always had a pot of tea beside her and she moved as little as possible. I am sure her food was healthy as her son in law had a great garden. She lived into her 80’s as well. I was astonished when I read her diaries to discover what an energetic young ;person she had been. She was a career woman who ran the local post office and flirted with all the male customers. After work on Friday she frequently hopped on her horse and rode alone for 31 kilometres to attend a social occasion and stayed over with her sister. Then she would ride back on Monday morning to go to work. She did not resemble the slow moving matriach I knew. Myaybe she figured she had earned her retirement.

Her husbanf Puppa was fast moving and impulsive. He often had a graze on his head from hitting his apricot tree. He sdlo hsf s hood garden but I am not sure he looked after it all. I was told he often made hasty decisions snd lost money from poor advice. My uncle said he was too trusting. He had a strange tent like structure in the back yard where he ested in the afternoon snd read western books. The only business that propsered was the clothing store he started with two of his sons. It opertaed for years. He died in his 70’s younger than the others from diabetes complications. I think I am like him a little n my own impulsiveness and too quick actions.

My other grandmother died before I was born but she always sounded like a great person. She must have been adaptable and hard working to come from the city of Dubline to operate a farm in New Zealand. Dairy life is a nd dairy life is a tough way to earn money. I suspect she died of ovarian cancer but Mm was always vague about it. Maybe she did not know or it was never disgnosed. She would have been another good role model for me.

So that is the group. How do I know what factors have influencef my attitude sbout life and aging but it is ian interesting topic to contemplate.