Friday, March 22, 2013

The Little Old Lady in Lavender Silk

I was seventy-seven, come August,
I shall shortly be losing my bloom;
I've experienced zephyr and raw gust
And (symbolical) flood and simoom.

When you come to this time of abatement,
To this passing from Summer to Fall,
It is manners to issue a statement
As to what you got out of it all.

So I'll say, though reflection unnerves me
And pronouncements I dodge as I can,
That I think (if my memory serves me)
There was nothing more fun than a man!

In my youth, when the crescent was too wan
To embarrass with beams from above,
By the aid of some local Don Juan
I fell into the habit of love.

And I learned how to kiss and be merry –– an
Education left better unsung.
My neglect of the waters Pierian
Was a scandal, when Grandma was young.

Though the shabby unbalanced the splendid,
And the bitter outmeasured the sweet,
I should certainly do as I then did,
Were I given the chance to repeat.

For contrition is hollow and wraithful,
And regret is no part of my plan,
And I think (if my memory's faithful)
There was nothing more fun than a man! 

~ Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)


  1. When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
    With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
    And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
    And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
    I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
    And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
    And run my stick along the public railings
    And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
    I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
    And pick flowers in other people's gardens
    And learn to spit.

    You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
    And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
    Or only bread and pickle for a week
    And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

    But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
    And pay our rent and not swear in the street
    And set a good example for the children.
    We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

    But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
    So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
    When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

    Jenny Joseph

  2. There was nothing more fun than a man!

    Most of the time. :^)

    I can't say that OLD men are fun, though.

    Perhaps our definition of "fun" changes as we grow older?

  3. Jez,
    The best part of growing old: not having the old inhibitions. After all, time is limited!

  4. I love Jenny Joseph, who is still alive at age eighty!

    Thank you, Jez, for sharing Jenny's "WARNING" with us. It's a fitting complement to Dorothy Parker's Little Old Lady opus, though Parker, who came earlier, is more risqué.

    I was amused to learn just now that Warning was the inspiration for The Red Hat Society. I have often wondered how that delightful phenomenon got started.

  5. Perhaps, AOW, free indulgence in an excess of candor is The Last Great Privilege life accords those of us who've lived life with a strong point of view?

    Some mellow with age, others become increasingly captious, bitter and sharp-tongued, still others irrepressibly randy in ways most unseemly.

  6. __________ An Awful Truth __________

    Do most old women stop enjoying sex
    Once the saggy baggy phase sets in?
    Could any potent male regard these wrecks
    As outlets for the joys of carnal sin?

    Lechery in randy, aging goats
    Arises at the thought of flesh still fresh ––
    Softly rounded curves and slim white throats
    No too long departed from the creche.

    Ironic that old pussies cracked and wizened
    Still dream of ardent service from Fair Youth,
    But no matter how these crones appear bedizened
    ‘Tis just their cash that lures, and that’s the truth.

    The resource that best sustains us when we’re old
    Is found in vaults replete with jewels and gold.

    ~ FreeThinke

  7. FT,
    Mr. AOW was the youngest resident in the nursing home -- he just having turned 60 and everyone else in their late 80s and older.

    YE GODS!

    The old ladies were irate when they found out that Mr. AOW had a wife who visited every day. They must have thought that I was his daughter. Well, one day the realization came that Mr. AOW and I are married. The old ladies would no longer speak to him! Funny, really.

    Mr. AOW said, "Being there with all those old ladies -- I felt like fresh meat thrown onto the table."

  8. AHA! So you too know from "true life experience," AOW, the way old age often overcomes inhibition and robs too many of their dignity as they make a last ditch effort to make up for lost time. ;-)

    Men must be very careful not to be too nice to old ladies, though none other than Benjamin Franklin highly recommended it -- or so we've been told.

  9. The "wealth and leisure effect" of "retirement" soon turns even sensible folks into fools...

    Wish for one, or the other, but never both.

  10. Julie Andrews, now in her seventies, who came along just too late in pop music history to sustain the advantage she gained from creating the role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, the musical version of Shaw's Pygmalion, sang this version of My Favorite Things to celebrate her 75th birthday at Radio City Music Hall. I think it fits pretty well with today's theme:

    Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
    Walkers and handrails, flax seed to aid shitting,
    Bundles of magazines tied up with strings,
    These are a few of my favorite things.

    Cadillacs and cataracts, no men making passes,
    Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
    Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
    These are a few of my favorite things.

    When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
    When the knees go bad,
    I simply remember my favorite things,
    And then I don't feel so bad!

    Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
    No spicy hot food or garlic and onions,
    Bathrobes and hot pads and no more wild flings,
    These are a few of my favorite things.

    Back pains, confused brains and no need for sinning,
    Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinning,
    And we won't mention more ills that Fate brings,
    When we remember our favorite things.

    When the joints ache, When the hips break,
    With each passing fad,
    I simply remember the great life I've had,
    And then I don't feel so bad!


    Ms. Andrews reportedly received a standing ovation from the crowd that lasted over four minutes and repeated encores. We hope she did.

  11. A Lady Who Thinks She Is Thirty

    Unwillingly Miranda wakes,
    Feels the sun with terror,
    One unwilling step she takes,
    Shuddering to the mirror.

    Miranda in Miranda's sight
    Is old and gray and dirty;
    Twenty-nine she was last night;
    This morning she is thirty.

    Shining like the morning star,
    Like the twilight shining,
    Haunted by a calendar,
    Miranda is a-pining.

    Silly girl, silver girl,
    Draw the mirror toward you;
    Time who makes the years to whirl
    Adorned as he adored you.

    Time is timelessness for you;
    Calendars for the human;
    What's a year, or thirty, to
    Loveliness made woman?

    Oh, Night will not see thirty again,
    Yet soft her wing, Miranda;
    Pick up your glass and tell me, then--
    How old is Spring, Miranda?

    ~Ogden Nash

  12. WOW! Andie!

    That's a Great Find. Ogden NASH actually waxing almost LYRICAL!

    I thought I knew his outputpretty well. He's long been a great favorite, but this one is new to me.

    Hillaire Belloc wrote a wonderful poem called Do You Remember an Inn, Miranda? It's been set to music at least two times that I know of. Something we might share in future.

    So much wonderful stuff -- so little time!

    It's really a sin to waste time being cantankerous, isn't it?

    Thanks, Andie. This has turned into a really good thread.

  13. You have a lot of talent for picking illustrations that go with your article really well, FT. I enjoy your imaginative use of many colored fonts too. You did a great job on that Grand Canyon music a few weeks ago. I hope I'm not the only one who notices these things?

    Helen Highwater

  14. You may be, Helen. Thank you very much. I do try. Looks may not be as important as content, but it could never hurt to look your best -- or at least look "interesting." ;-)



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