Age is Just a Number

20 Feb

As a mother of three, my days are normally consumed by the three “S”’s—schlepping, schlepping, and more schlepping.

That’s why, when two members of my writing group, Rene and Maggie, invited me to lunch and to see Seminar on Broadway (a play about four novelists who take a writing seminar together) I graciously accepted.

I just had one concern.  Rene and Maggie were of a certain age where . . . well, let’s just say the number was higher than I keep my thermostat in the wintertime.

I had never socialized with grandmothers, outside of my own, and that’s only if you counted staring at the TV together while it was unplugged.

What would we have in common? I wondered.  My friends collected parking tickets and shot glasses.  These ladies collected reading glasses and social security.

My husband fought rush hour traffic on the parkway.  These ladies’ husbands fought in the Rainbow Division in WWII.

I told myself, Lisa, don’t be age-biased.  Some day you’ll be old and collecting social security.  Then I remembered Obama’s deficit plan and changed that to, some day you’ll be old.

On the morning of our outing to NYC I stood on the platform and waited for the train. I had asked Rene and Maggie to call me on my cell phone to let me know which train car they’d be on since their stop was two stops before mine.

“Lisa T!  Lisa T!  Is there a Lisa T. here?” the conductor bellowed.

“I’m Lisa T!” I answered. Why was the conductor paging me?  Did he need me to schlep him somewhere?

“Come with me!” he said.  I followed him up the steps and down the train corridor.  “Your friends are waiting for you,” he smiled, and led me straight to Rene and Maggie.  They sat primly on the bench, wearing colorful scarves and playful grins.

“Who needs cell phones?”  Maggie said.  “We’ve been working the system long before wireless communication.”

After an animated conversation about vacation destinations, movies, and the Anderson Cooper show, we arrived at Penn Station.  “Should we take a cab or walk to the restaurant?” I asked.

“Walk,” they answered without pause.

It was 20 blocks from Penn station to The Kellari Tavern.  We had to stop a few times to rest so I could catch my breath.

At one point we got lost. I said, “Don’t worry, I have a GPS on my phone!” But by the time I dug my phone out of my pocketbook they’d already asked a passerby “Which way?” and gotten us back on track.

At Kellari, Rene instantly made friends with the restaurant staff.  “You look like an actress, “ she told our waitress.  “Honey, your bra strap is showing,” she whispered to the hostess.

Before the hors d’oeuvers had arrived, Rene’s charms had already earned us a free round of champagne.  “Ladies, it’s on the house,” said the manager as he served us three glasses of bubbly.

Over an Old Fashioned, Maggie told fascinating stories about her adventures raising nine children, including one about her daughter working as a personal chef to Ethel Kennedy.  She talked about family hardships and explained her family motto, “We stick together no matter what.”

I shared my family motto: “We stick it to each other no matter what.”

It was the best meal and conversation I’d had in a long time.  Unfortunately, the same didn’t go for the play.

Our reactions: “I couldn’t understand a damn thing he said!” “If I wanted to watch someone eat ice cream from the container I could have stayed home,” “I’m not sure her exposed nipples really added to the plot.”

We found Seminar boring and consensually disapproved of the gratuitous profanity and nudity.  And given our span in years, age had nothing to do with it.

Thankfully, though the play was a bust, our day together wasn’t. Maggie and Rene shared events I’d only ever read about in history books. These ladies were sharp and worldly, and didn’t brag about doing tequila shots (though thanks to Maggie I’ve added Old Fashioned to my list of cocktail favorites).

The way they interacted with the world around them was eye opening. They were friendly and engaging, and went out of their way to talk to strangers.  They relied on personality, not Wifi to make things happen.

I discovered an important lesson in humanity that day: that friendship transcends age.  I learned it from the Seminar—the one led by my new old friends.


Speaking of friends . . . I’d like to thank my classy and clever friend Morristownmemos for awarding me the Kreativ Blogger Award, and the utterly effervescent Good Humored for honoring me with the 7 X 7 Link Award. You can count on them for some good humor and for some good blog recommendations (that’s how I discovered The Mainland).

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26 Responses to “Age is Just a Number”

  1. karensdifferentcorners February 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Sounds like you had a great time!

  2. BARB BEST February 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    Love the lessons here!

  3. Angela Weight February 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Lisa, I loved this post! I work with older people for a living (since writing hasnt made me wealthy) and I find them (most of them) very charming. Loved your comparisons of your friends to these ladies. So true!

  4. Paprika Furstenburg February 20, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    Great post! I have friends who are much older and some who are younger. I think having friends of different ages gives me a peek at different perspectives on the world. Plus, hanging out with older people makes me feel younger 🙂

    Thanks for the very complimentary shout out!

    • Main Street Musings Blog February 20, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

      You are so right–it really broadens one’s perspective. (And feeling young is nice too).

  5. mimi February 20, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    Loved your story…..just terrific. Couldn’t stop laughing, especially about the conductor questioning whether he wanted you to schlepp him someplace. I think having friends of all ages is enriching. Great piece…..

  6. Pamela February 20, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    I really enjoyed this, Lisa! So funny.

  7. Main Street Musings Blog February 20, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    That means a lot to me, Pamela, considering how much respect I have for you as an author (and as an individual). Thank you!

  8. earthriderjudyberman February 21, 2012 at 12:54 am #

    Before I was 8, I lived in a multigenerational household. The ages ranged from 86 – a bachelor who lived on the same floor as my folks – and my cousin who was younger than me. It was great to have a built-in grandfather and a cousin who enjoyed hanging out with me. That’s why I prefer the mix of ages in any neighborhood I’ve lived in. Loved your yarn.

  9. Audubon Ron February 21, 2012 at 3:54 am #

    You know. You are on to something there. I miss that classiness.

  10. Sherry Stanfa-Stanley February 24, 2012 at 3:32 am #

    I turned 50 this year, and I find the gap between me and the old biddies slowly narrowing…

    I’ve found having good friends many years older than me–as well as some much younger–makes me well-rounded. And a few cocktails never hurts the issues of translation.

  11. Main Street Musings Blog February 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Sounds like you can relate! Happy 50th!

  12. Dawn@LightenUp! February 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    “Then I remembered Obama’s deficit plan and changed that to, some day you’ll be old.”
    Very, very sweet story, hanging out with your Betty Whites. Love them. 🙂

  13. Downith February 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    As an older mom, I found myself wondering if some of the young hip moms view me this way!

  14. thelaughingmom February 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    What fun! I love hearing about people’s lives and older folks are among my favorites to spend time with – although the universe of these folks is getting smaller the older I get. An afternoon Rob Roy is a great tradition – especially if you can sober up on a train ride home.

  15. Main Street Musings Blog February 26, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    Well said!

  16. theorangeinkblot February 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    I adore my more seasoned friends- they really get what is important and what we should just let go and forget about. Nice post!

  17. Main Street Musings Blog February 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    Thanks! Your comment is so true!

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