Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Being the Older One

For many years I was the youngest person: at work, at a church group, at the local women's club. I had my son at twenty and was very active. Many of the ladies in my groups were mothers of several children and most at least in their thirties. Sometimes they referred to me as the "baby" of the group. It embarassed me at the time. I was so ignorant.

I work with a group of people mostly in their twenties. I am over forty and over the other number that starts with an F but is significantly old than forty. Is it a coincidence these are "f" words I ask. Some of these young girls have so much drama in their lives: bad break ups, some are single mothers. They think I am really cool but today they completely took me by surprise when one asked if I was a hippie. I wish I was a hippie but to be honest, I am even a little young for that. I was not yet in high school when Woodstock took place. I do remember a very liberal friend's parents allowing her to go (they named their daughter Violet and were all for self expression). My father told me if I did anything like that I should have a good time because it would be the last thing I did and he would shoot me when I arrived home. My father was from Alabama and sadly, I knew he was not joking. Several months later the movie came out. My then boyfriend Rusty and I went to see it at the theatre in Asbury Park, New Jersey (made famous by Springsteen). It didn't start until eleven p.m. and I called my parents to tell them I was going to be late. The conversation was brief and I was told that I would be grounded for a month. It only took me a few seconds to realize that it was well worth it. How I remember the joy of sitting in that theatre in my white tank top with small red peace signs and the words peace on it and watching that movie. Few things in my life have been so exciting. When I was first married and had my son I made all of his babyfood myself. I had a huge garden and baked my own bread. For three years I was a vegetarian. When severe anemia overtook me and a short time later I was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease, I began eating meat again. It sure beat shots and transfusions. As my son got older I think I became more conservative. I did attend the later Woodstock which took place in New York but it certainly was not the same. I only stayed one day. Being dirty and using port a potties is not my cup of tea. It did really strike me though when I realized none of them had every seen my first new car, a 1971 Plymouth Satellite Sebring. Being older, wiser and more experienced doesn't compare to being the youngest and fittest.
Still, I don't think I would want to go back and do that all again. I'm too tired.


Ronni Gordon said...

Hey Nelle,

Thanks for the card. That was really sweet of you. I have it on my windowsill and I look at it every day.

alphawoman said...

Youth is wasted on the young! Ha! My cousin who lived on Long Island went to Woodstock. Got stuck in a traffic jam and walked.