The birthdays just fly on by


‘What happened to “You sure don’t look it!”?’

I’ve whined (er, written) about birthdays before. (Thank you, Loyal Readers, for your patience with my elderly musings: “Sixteen Candles. Plus Another Sixteen. Or So.” “All Saints’ (Birth)Day.”  “Skirting the Issue.” There are way too many — kind of like the number of candles on my cake.)

A scene from one of many random birthday celebrations. I believe this one was not actually mine — I was just trying on the tiara for size

I’m actually grateful for reaching the astounding age that I have reached — especially when I consider the alternative. One of our friends, even older than I, has a motto: “Every day above ground is a good day,” with which I heartily concur.

Having a very nice time above ground with a tiara and a glam group

Last year I celebrated a Landmark Birthday — seventy, it was, for heaven’s sakes — with a fancy party and all the glam trimmings. I was riding high on birthday glory when — about a week later, it felt like — I turned seventy-one.

Last year’s seventieth birthday. Which feels, I swear, like it happened just last week

See, that’s the trouble with birthdays. If they keep on coming — which, thank goodness, they have been, like clockwork every November — they keep on coming faster and faster. Golly. It seems like I just finished writing my thank-you notes when I’ve gotta dust off that Dempsey & Carroll all over again.

Getting ready to break out the thank-you stationery — again

Well, I’ve already written about turning seventy and how it means that you start doing the math. (See “Doing the Math.” Duh.) Here’s a summary for those who hate clicking links in posts: After 70, you start making decisions based on numbers. Like, I’m not getting a New Kitty to replace the Late Lamented Wombat since a kitty could live to be twenty and…well, you do the math.

I’ve also already written about birthdays flying by waay too fast. (See any of the above-mentioned birthday posts.) Repeating one’s self, is, after all, a privilege of Getting Older.

But here’s a new Birthday Wrinkle. So to speak. At my birthday party last week, when people asked how old I was — which, by the way, only gets asked of children and the very old — when I responded, “Seventy-one,” I was met with a chorus of “Congratulations!” and “Happy Birthday!” I think there was even a “Best wishes!” in there somewhere.

Another Brazilian Birthday years ago. When I was still getting “You sure don’t look it!”

But no one — repeat, no one — said, “Omigosh! You certainly don’t look seventy-one!” Nope. Not one single person. No “How can that possibly be?!” Or even a “What’s your secret?!” Just, “Happy Birthday” or its non-surprised equivalent.

This is kind of an adjustment for a person who used to round up the numbers in an effort to appear older. Oh well. I’ll get used to it. I guess.

Back when I used to round my age up in a desperate attempt to appear older

The thing I’m having a harder time getting used to now that I am Post-Seventy is getting mistaken for my mother’s sister.

A Doppelganger sandwich, featuring Moms and Sisters, some real, some imagined

Granted, Mom and I do resemble one another. (A lot.) And, no, it’s not that I don’t think my mother is a good-looking person. (I do. She is.) But, well, she is my mother — and 22 years older than me. Though she doesn’t look it, darn her young-looking hide.

Since I’m almost 40 years older than The Child, I doubt that anyone will ever mistake us for sisters. Though one can always hope

Oh well. So much for the Birthday Whine. In a little while I’ll switch to the other kind. Cheers!

Amagansett, New York. November 2022




“While we’re still young”


‘When it comes to age, everything is relative.’

My Favorite Younger Sister Laura (at left above, smiling and be-hatted) has a lot going on and is often in a hurry. When someone dawdles, say, at a traffic light that has just turned green — or spends too much time chatting up the checkout girl at Costco, she is wont to mutter “while we’re still young”.

She does this so often that when her adorable daughter Natalie was only about two, she would parrot her, much to our amusement.

But, amusement aside, “while we’re still young” has begun to resonate with me, and not just at traffic lights.

See, we helped The Child celebrate her birthday last week. And I realized that she is now the same age I was when I pulled up my socks and moved myself to New York City. This was a pretty brave thing for me to do at the time. (And yes, there’s a story, called “Take a Letter, Miss Henry”.) I didn’t know a soul here, but I decided I needed to get my Ad Career into gear before I got too old.  Continue reading