The last few months have been a real eye-opener for me as well as many others. Time has changed many things, but I think that seniors have changed the most, and in a grand way.
When I was a child, senior ladies had gray hair and wore plain house dresses that were usually covered by a bibbed apron. They stayed home, kept the house clean and did the cooking for the family. When not working around the house or in the yard, which was most of the time in those days, they sat in a rocking chair and listened to the radio.
I fondly remember sitting in my Grandma Davidson's lap while she rocked ever so gently. My head snuggled against her warm chest while she read stories to me. Her apron top would be full of smells reflecting the things she'd cooked so far that day. That was my idea of heaven; the feeling of love and safety experienced in her lap were like none other.
As I grew older, senior ladies started to go out more and began to have blue tinted hair instead of just plain gray. They wore regular dresses instead of the plain house dresses, and the black-laced shoes with cube heels were gone; it was now pumps with a smart heel.
No more sitting around the kitchen table talking about their families; now they were out in public, meeting in restaurants for coffee or tea.
Housework didn't take all day to do with the new washing machines and driers, as well as the other devices that cut the time it used to take to do simple chores. Grandmas were younger-looking, even if they were as old as the last generation. Granted, not all senior ladies had those new gadgets and the advantages that came with them, but a majority of them did.
With the machines that made life easier for mothers and grandmothers, as well as the medical advances, they not only looked younger, they acted younger. It got hard to tell the difference between them as the years went on, and now you have great-great-grandmothers walking around.
Blue hair has gone out the window, along with too much rouge and pillbox hats. Today's grandmothers are just awesome; they are living to a ripe old age, and many are still independent and living in their own places.
My spunky Aunt Clara turned 97 this year and still lives by herself in a neat-as-a-pin apartment. She may not hear as well as she used to, but she still walks to church and to visit her lady friends.
My friend Wolfgang's mother, Elfriede, will turn 92 this month, and he has gone to Germany to be with her for her birthday, as he has every year. Ethel VanTassel celebrated her 98th birthday with fellow members of the East Bay Writer's Group that she is an active member of. Advanced ages aren't slowing today's seniors, and they are out there enjoying themselves.
This year, I was asked to be the guest survivor speaker for Pittsburg's first solo Relay for Life, which is held in conjunction with the American Cancer Society. It was heartwarming to see so many seniors attending and doing laps to help find a cure for cancer.
The Pittsburg Senior Club was there and participated as a group. Some seniors were by themselves, and others were accompanied by friends and family. All unified for the same wonderful cause and not letting cancer, or anything else, stop them.
We are now living longer than before and each year brings another discovery to assist us on our travels through life. Yes, SENIORS RULE!
A native of Minnesota, Carol Olson grew up in South Dakota and Walnut Creek and now lives in Pittsburg. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.