Aging Well June 15th

It makes you think – reading different perspectives on aging. I just started re-reading John McKnight’s book “The Careless Society” which describes how we have replaced true “caring” with a professional class of service providers who depend on creating needs and deficits in order to take care of us. In this eye-opening critique, he specifically addresses the differences between the professional’s view of “oldhood” as a set of problems that need to be solved and the perspective of his 81 year old mother-in-law who sees “oldhood” as just a condition – like being male or female, tall or short; neither good nor bad.

For McKnight’s “Old Grandma” (she liked to be called “Old Grandma” because she believed it gave her authority) old was many things: “finally knowing what is important; when you are, rather than when you are becoming; knowing about pain rather than fearing it; being able to gain more pleasure from memory than from prospect; when doctors become impotent and powerless; when satisfaction depends less and less on consumption; using the strength that a good life has stored for you; enjoying deference; and worrying about irrelevance.”

Does this understanding of “oldhood” speak to you? At my relatively inexperienced 62 year, I know I don’t have a clear understanding of the meaning of “old”. I don’t feel old, but then I don’t feel young either. It’s like I’m in junior high again – at that in-between stage. But if society portrays “oldhood” as a problem as John McKnight suggests, instead of just a condition that “is”, as Old Grandma believes, maybe that is why my generation is so fearful of growing old – while consuming the products and services that we are told will help us avoid “oldhood”. But fortunately there are many who are actively challenging the deficit creating messages describing old is a problem, and instead portraying “oldhood” as a time of self awareness, creation and relevance.

They say you should “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” This coming Saturday morning you can be “Queen (or King) for the Day” – enjoying a delicious breakfast prepared by Bonnie and Edna. This month’s menu includes biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit and coffee. Not bad for $5.00 – or $4.00 if you are a Center member. And the Center would like to thank our friends, Heather and Tara, at Edward Jones for sponsoring this month’s breakfast.

And to add a little spice to the scrambled eggs, this month’s breakfast theme is “high school graduation” – if you still remember those days. And if you can find your high school yearbook, stored among all those other lost memories, bring it to the Center this week or during breakfast and receive $1 off. So far only Jim Gordon has taken up the offer. And after reading the scribbled notes in his yearbook, I see he hasn’t really changed – still following the humorist Dave Barry’s philosophy of “I’ll mature when I’m dead.”

And continuing this theme, for the Tuesday lecture on the 22nd (the last one until September), we will meet at the school previously known as Wahtonka High School at 11:00 for a tour of the School District Archive Museum with Rymmel Lovell. Park in the paved parking lot parallel to 10th street and the entrance to the museum is through the gate on the south east corner of the building.

Thanks to the help of many volunteers and the generosity and support of all the folks who attend, the Center’s Tuesday Night Music has been a real success. And it also helps when you have crowd-pleasing, talented musicians playing each Tuesday night such as the “Jazz Generations” next Tuesday the 22nd and the “Strawberry Mountain Band” tonight. I keep sliding the tables closer together and further back so more couples can get out there and do their thing – we may not move as fast, but we still enjoy moving. The beats start at 7:00 and although the electricity is flowing there is no charge – but donations are graciously accepted.

Several folks remembered the radio series “I Love a Mystery” but only Joanne Scott remembered the three friends: Jack, Doc and Reggie. (If you want to hear the old time radio broadcasts from “The Adventures of Sam Spade” to “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar” you can find many of them on the Internet at www. For this week’s “Remember When” question we’ll stick to the category “Old Time Radio”. What comedy duo first performed on national radio in 1938 the hilarious comedy routine “Who’s on First?” For a chance to will a free Saturday breakfast, call 541-296-4788 or email

Well that’s another day in the sun. Until we meet again, don’t open up your umbrella when the sun is still shining.

“The only real way to look younger is not to be born so soon.” Charles Schulz

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