Aging Well in the Gorge June 3rd 2020

Have you ever had one of those crystal ball experiences when you see a vision of your future to be? This COVID-19 pandemic has been my crystal ball.
Because of the pandemic my wife and I have been meeting virtually with our children every weekend. It is nice to see them and share what has happened during the week, how work and school are going – you know, the usual family stuff. But that is not the REAL reason they have been talking with us. It is to check to make sure we are following their orders for us to stay home and not venture out of the house: have everything delivered, but we remind them The Dalles is not Portland, and work from home. (Never let your boy grow up to be a doctoral student in biology. He knows waaaaay too much about viruses!)
When we raised our children, I didn’t think we were helicopter parents, but they have certainly become helicopter children during this pandemic! It’s as if I am the young boy in high school and they’re my parents asking me if I went out while they were gone. And I would have to – let’s say, bend the truth – by using the tricks I learned: not telling the whole truth. “No, I didn’t go to Fred Meyer today” – not mentioning I did twice last week. Or not answering the question directly.  “Don’t worry. We’re making sure we are safe by washing our hands and wearing our masks.”
Then at I read, “Role Reversal During the Coronavirus” by Anne Field. She gives examples of herself and other older adults whose children are nagging them to stay home and I realized my wife and I aren’t the only ones!
Over the years, I’ve talked with many older adults particularly those in their 80’s about their children trying to control their lives. But for my wife and me the pandemic has accelerated that timeline where here we are in our early 70’s, at a time when we still consider ourselves fit and active, having our children telling us what we should do.
It is the age-old tension between safety and freedom. And now the roles have been reversed. We want our freedom and they want us to be safe because they love us.
I thought this might be the time to take a stand, show our independence, that we should be able to make our own mistakes, that we know what we are doing, and they should treat us as adults! (Wow, that takes me back to my high school days!) But we have decided to just nod our heads and tell them “Yes, we’ll do what you ask” and then live our lives as we want – but doing it safely. And hope the crystal ball isn’t showing us our future when we are older.
The cartoonist who in 1934 created the satirical comic strip Li’l Abner, featuring a fictional clan of impoverished hillbillies in Dogpatch, USA, was Alfred Gerald Caplin known to all of us as Al Capp. And many people also remembered Sadie Hawkins Day, a day when the girls asked the boys out (and the day I feared the most in high school because I might be asked to a dance – which fortunately rarely happened). I received correct answers fromSam Bilyeu, Jess Birge, Betsy Ayres, Jim Donnelly from Parkdale, Delores Schrader, Dave Lutgens, Rhonda Spies, Carol Earl and Marla Skroch this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.
This will be the last “What use to beeeeeee there!” question. But even if you haven’t lived in The Dalles for thirty plus years, you probably still remember going to a drive-in movie theater – and maybe even going to do more than just watch the movie.
For this week’s “Remember When” question, what were the names of two drive-in theaters in The Dalles, one located on the bluff at Columbia View Heights and the other where Home Depot is now? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the name of the third drive-in theater that was in The Dalles.
Well, it’s been another week, over too soon and too soon forgotten. Until we meet again, you know you’re past your prime when the reason for taking your wife out for a late night drive to a dark secluded spot is to – set up a brand new telescope!
“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” — Mark Twain

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