I am prone to think about aging more often lately, and this sometimes leads to thinking about my Mom and her attraction to feisty older women that seems to have started in her middle years. I recall her saying to me that it was difficult getting older in the Twiggy youth culture of the 60s and 70s. I remember that now as I experience the same thing.

Lia: Mom, it seems as if you’re drawn to old women, why do you think this is and what about them attracts you?great-gram1

Mom: My first experience befriending an older woman was when I was 45 years old and your Dad’s company moved us to South Africa. For the first few years you kids kept me busy. Then you all went back to the states or off to school. I had time on my hands and decided to do some volunteer work with the Child Welfare Society. I took on the job of driving Elizabeth Lester, an older gal, to the African Creches (nurseries/preschools) outside of town. Her job was to oversee their operation. Elizabeth lived at the YWCA and I admired her gutsy attitude.

After we returned to the states, I met an elderly woman, Eva Sutton, whom a friend brought to church. I became acquainted with her and soon began to drive her to appointments and other places she needed to go. One of her happiest times was when we went grocery shopping at the local A&P. She loved walking up and down the aisles looking at all that was available. I think her son usually did her shopping for her. Occasionally I did her laundry. She was a spirited gutsy gal.

Lia: And I remember May, too.

Yes, after we retired and moved to northern Michigan I met May Howe. She was a widow and her children lived far away. She loved to take long walks through the hilly woods, and from time to time I would go over and walk with her. Sometimes we would have her over for dinner. As she aged, I began to drive her to appointments and later to church each Sunday. Eventually she went to live in a care facility near a niece several hours away. I tried to keep in touch, but have never heard from her.

Lia: Do you think your attraction to these ladies has anything to do with Great Grandma (pictured with me above)?

Mom: Not that I’m aware of. Though we did name you after her, and she raised three sons under harsh conditions. The three women I’ve spoken about all lived alone and were very active. Simply, I admired their independent, gutsy attitude. I am now, one of these ‘older’ women. And, while I don’t see myself as being gutsy – I am content with myself.

What about the painting from the French antique store of the older gal you’ve had for many years?

Mom: I’d stop in the store to just see what was new, and there was this painting hanging for such a long time. One day on an impulse, I bought her. I realize it is a primitive painting, but I have an attachment to the ole gal like she is an aunt or something.

Lia: Anything else you want to add?

Mom: Now, do I have trouble with my age? Definitely yes. I used to look at myself in the mirror and say,“I have to make friends with my face.” Now I see people our age (in their 80s) who are having serious health problems and wonder why we are so blessed. I really think that my relationship with older women has been nothing more than admiration.