“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. 

Me, getting longer in the tooth every second I stayed stuck in Kansas City

The Child, same age as me, above, yet looking long in leg — not in tooth

Yes. I thought I was old — at 27! But, like I say, when it comes to age, everything is relative. Speaking of which, my Favorite Older Relative, my own personal mother, had three kids by the time she was 27. And she didn’t start all that young, at least not for the 1950s.

My Mom was forty when her daughter (me) got married. I was forty when my daughter was born. And see my Grampa? I’m older than he was in this picture — right now

I used to warn The Child that if she waited to give birth till she was the same age I was when I had her, I’d be too old to hold the baby. Or I might drool on it. After all, I’d be (gasp) eighty. But now I have friends who are eighty, or at least pushing it — some damned good bridge players among them — so that joke falls rather flat.

Back when Grampas and Grammas looked, well, like Grampas and Grammas. And not like my fellow bridge players

And my Mom? Well, as you can see from the picture at the top of this post, she and I are starting to, well, look a whole lot alike. People might think we’re sisters, and not mother/daughter. Or buddies. Like two Ladies of a Certain Age who like to hang out together. Which, I guess, is what we are.

Same three Henry Gals, having a great time together, as usual. Tho now I’m older than Mom was here

Speaking of hanging out with similarly-aged people, I used to babysit for one of my mother’s friends. She was (and is) a woman younger than my mom (she had little kids when my Mom had high-schoolers). Anyway, after I grew up, she kept telling me I could stop calling her Mrs. Meisenheimer and call her “Ruth”. You know, since we were both grownups. But I couldn’t do it; she was Someone For Whom I Had Worked who was a Friend of My Mother’s. So Mrs. Meisenheimer it was. Until the day I turned 60, and Mrs. M sent me a birthday card that said she thought it was about time I cut it out. So, hi, Ruth!

I want to note here that The Dude has his own version of “while we’re still young” — it’s “while we still can“. Which is what he says when we go on our adventures. We go to these exotic places — like Uganda, and Guyana, and the Amazon — to hike and search for rare birds. Sometimes these trips are arduous and even treacherous. But The Dude, bless him, insists we go “while we still can”.

And so it goes. See you next week — when, dammit, I’ll be even older. But then again, so will The Child.

The Child and BF celebrating her birthday in Boston — because why not?

Dude Man and Me celebrating my birthday in the wilds of the Amazon — because we still can

New York City. April 2019




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15 thoughts on ““While we’re still young”

  1. My Mom turns 75 the year I turn 40. We are literally going to DisneyWorld. I’d love to have a second child. Am I too old? No. I don’t think you’re old until you think you are, and some of my best friends are 20 years older than me.

    Keep going, Alice.

    • I say everyone who wants a baby should go right on and have one. If I had thought I was too old at 40, then the wonderous Child would not exist (!) More power to you, dear Lorna. And tell your Mom hi. Maybe she’d like to play bridge with me!

  2. You’ve had—and continue to live—an amazing life, so why not keep at it? After all, you’re still young(er than some)!

    My plan is this: when I am literally the oldest person I know, it will be time to settle down and be Old. But, of course, at that point I’ll have no one who will dare judge me, and will be the sole arbiter of what old looks like, so… (insert evil laugh)

  3. This was so good Alice and I can relate to the age thing! I once wrote a series of posts comparing my life at the same age as my daughters and my mother, which were very interesting and great conversation starters. Love the photos of you all!

  4. Ruth Meisenheimer

    Hi Alice! Age has never been a barrier when I’m with your Mom, you, and Laura … Wish I were having a glass of wine with you right now. You and I could have a good? conversation with plenty of laughs. You were in high school and I was at least 15 years older. I think you were mature … I’m not sure I am yet. One thing for sure, I hope to talk to and get together with Henrys WHILE I STILL CAN!?

    • Oh Ruth! Only YOU would say “I think you were mature…I’m not sure I am yet” (!) I’m so glad you are my friend; wish we lived closer so we could have that glass of wine more often. In the meantime, I’ll settle for calling you by your (gulp) first name — as in: Thank you for reading, dear Ruth!”

  5. Todd

    I was brought up to address those “older” as Mr. & Mrs. I have the same story with Mr. Gende. I always told him it was out of pure respect. Of course you had to shout it for him to hear you!!!

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