A couple in our retirement home celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary yesterday and changed all perceptions of old age – and of long marriages. The husband and wife are both 97 years old and both mobile. I wasn’t invited to the celebration – I don’t know the couple and I’m sure they don’t know me; after all I belong in the next generation, 17 years younger than them. When I was 20 years old I never hung around with people 17 years older than me and when I was 40 years old I never had any 23 year old friends. Why should the age difference disappear when you step into a retirement home?
But when one thinks of their age compared to one’s own the results are quite amazing. I remember my father’s first car, a 1934 Plymouth, by today’s standards a much sought after vintage model. Their father’s first car would have been about a 1920 model, by today’s standards an ancient machine. When I was growing up, planes were a common sight, but in their youth they must have been a rarity. They were born in 1916, in the middle of the First World War. I was born in 1933, 6 years before the start of World War II. This couple is a whole generation older that me.
97 is a good score, both in age and on the cricket field, and a person of that age has certainly been through a lot and seen a great deal. He or she could keep you entertained (read bored) for hours while they reminisce about the good old days. This is why I am always careful where I sit in the lounge, although I understand from a doctor friend that one cannot catch genes, good or otherwise.