Saturday, September 15, 2007

All my old ladies

I was in the process of writing yet another post based on my boobs when I got a call that my cousin had succumbed to pneumonia this afternoon. She turned 89 a few weeks ago and she was a good friend of mine. I don’t buy the ‘she had a good innings’ line although it has an element of truth and I used it myself a few weeks ago when we nearly lost her the first time. She may have been old but she was still a girl inside, still capable of laughing at fart jokes and swearing at her doctor and having conversations that rambled everywhere because there are so many things of interest to talk about. She was a proper intellectual and the sort of botanist who would climb Snowdon in the rain to see a rare grass. She constantly surprised me, was endlessly good company and was never shy of dismissing something as rubbish if it patently was. I’m going to miss her a lot.

My Gran is 99 and hoping to make her 100th birthday in February and two days ago she fell and broke her hip. She’s recovering in hospital now but she’s in pain and I guess nothing is certain when you’re 99. She’s one wonderful woman, I get my picky fingers and love of textiles from her. She taught me to weave and when her shoulder finally gave out, gave me her loom on which I am a faltering learner. She also taught me how to play cards but didn’t pass one enough of her skill to make me rich at poker, unfortunately, however she did pass on her prodigious ability to absorb gin, not to mention her boobs which, when she saw them sprouting on my 15-year-old-frame she immediately recommended I reduce via surgery. It was she who taught me about structural architecture as it relates to the female form, not least by displaying some of the most unbelievable pieces of 1950s engineering nestled in her top drawer which I would give my eye-teeth to own these days. When she was 76 I stayed with her for a week and we stayed up late playing cards and drinking and skinny-dipping at midnight. I’d like to see her but for now I have to wait to see if she’s going to hold up.

I once had a vision of myself at 80, living happily somewhere wild and vaguely cut off. It’s stayed with me and maybe that’s why I get along so well with women who've got a few decades on me, I guess I’ve always assumed I’m going to be one, one day. I’m lucky, I know a few and I’ve known them well and I get to spend good time with them, if not always enough of it. I’ve picked up some pretty good tips and I’ve been able to introduce the spud to them all so that one day when the time comes he'll know enough to be nice to his own old lady.

Here’s to Liz, I’m glad I got to tell her I love her, I’m proud to have known her. She’s leaving a big hole. Here’s to all our elders and betters, let’s hope we can live up to them.

23 comments:

Samantha said...

What a lovely tribute. May we all grow old with spunk, laughter and the slightest amount of irreverence. After all, the saying goes that well behaved women rarely make history...

jenny said...

So sorry to hear of your cousin Liz. It was a blessing that you got to know her so well and she had you around to keep her young. Hope Granny makes it to 100 and beyond! xo

lady macleod said...

With a family tree like that I'd say your chances for a wonderful future are good. I have always had the same sort of relationships with older men. I love the stories they tell. of course these days it is more difficult to find "older", soon I will be it! I hope someday someone can tell a story like yours about me.

Sparx said...

Samantha - LOL, that is so true - here's to bad behaviour and the memories it inspires (within reason, of course, spud.) Thanks for the drop in!

Jenny - many thanks, I hope so too. I just blew someone out for Tuesday night because that's my evening with my cousin... took me a moment to remember she won't be there to receive me. Good to see you!

Lady M - Oh, you're not that old, surely! It's the same with me, I love the stories and can listen endlessly to someone talk about the past. Our neighbours have lived in the same house for over 50 years (in his case, over 70 as he was born in it) and I can listen to my friend Elsie talk for ages about how they met and what this area was like in those days. I'm sure one day someone will tell wonderful stories about you - just reading your blog and I can tell it's going to be an epic! Thanks for visiting

Suki said...

Good luck, Sparx. That was such a lovely tribute to two very lovely women. :)

Hope you grow to be yet another old lady like them.. in your own special way. :)

Jennie said...

Hear hear! I myself have never had any ambitions in life, save one: to one day become a matronly gin-sucking old woman, with white hair dyed yellow รก la Vivienne Westwood, cigarillo in my gob, knitting, with a very small, annoying dog at my feet.

I'm actually very aware of how acute life is, so I am presently needling all my granny's recipes out of her before she goes.

And btw, what a strange coincidence! I was just starting to form a blog post about my tits too!!! We must be psychic...

Flirty Something said...

99 - good genes in your family, hooray.

Driving With the Brakes On said...

Condolences on the loss of your cousin, and I agree with everyone else - what a lovely tribute to her. I aspire to be one of those ladies - no matter how long it lasts, life is still too short to not enjoy the bulk of it!

Sparx said...

Suki - I hope so too - and you! Thanks for coming over.

Jennie - That about sums it up! Sign me up for the gin-sucking but not sure about the annoying dog... Boobs R Us... that's you and me! Great pics, btw

Flirty - indeed! Thanks for coming over.

Driving - true words indeed, not to be taken lightly.

ilana (Helen) Pengelly said...

Hi Steph,
Your cousin sounds like my old Auntie Sadie who at 93 (or so) was hit by a bus, lost both legs and finally agreed to move into a sheltered flat. She held court from her ground floor garden suite until she passed away at 99. Gives me hope for the future.
Blessings & Good Cheer
Helen

DJ Kirkby said...

*Holds up cup of tea* Here's to Liz! Damn now I can't see keyboard through my tears and I am not even related! Your elders sounds as amazing as mine and I would never have thought that possible. Thinking of you...

Sparx said...

Helen - lovely to see you! Your Aunt Sadie sounds like an amazing woman and a real lover of life.

DJ - aren't they great? I'm such a big fan of elders, we all need good ones to show us what's coming, hey? I think it helps put things into perspective a lot.

Suki said...

Hey, no fair! I've been semi-regular on your blog over the past almost-three months! Won't have you talking to me like I'm a lurker who just delurked!

Hoto said...

Gutted.

Sparx said...

Suki - LOL! Sorry hon, I run out of 'thank you' phrases sometimes, I kinda don't know what to say all the time, and I'm sort in a bit of a grief situation here and not really very thoughtful. I am thankful though, that you come over. And, I've been over to your blogs, all four of them.

Hoto. I know - me too, me too. I'm so sorry you missed her by such a small window. She was looking forward to seeing you a lot.

Blogget Jones said...

Your cousin sounds like a delightful woman. You're lucky to have her as an example of what growing older can be like! I hope to be that way, too. My grandmothers were my example, though they didn't make it as long as your cousin did. I miss them desperately, and I talk about them a lot because it kind of keeps them alive for me. So, tell your cousin's stories to everyone who will listen!

Lindystar the HOR blogger said...

Sparx you are the Queen of tasteful tributes, you've done her proud.

Ivanna said...

What a lovely post.
I'm really scared of getting old, but I guess old never has to imply boring or irrelevant or not being able to enjoy life.

BOSSY said...

This is terrific - Bossy totally gets it. And the older Bossy gets the more she can see that one day she will be gray and withered and still feel 20. OK, maybe that day is tomorrow.

Anyway, sorry about your loss. It's never easy, this Changing of the Guard.

Jonny's Mommy said...

Lovely tribute. Had a similar loss myself recently. Sorry before about deleting my post...I was unsure if I should make my blog public as I have photos of my little one on there and ... I don't know....anyhow....I deleted the link...it is here if you'd like it. Either way I'll still keep up on your daily ramblings....http://boondockramblings.blogspot.com/

Sparx said...

Blogget - thanks, that's good advice, I certainly will.

Lindy - aw, thanks hon, I was trying.

Ivanna - no, it doesn't. I'm quite enjoying it myself - I guess that's what life's about really, trying to enjoy it as much as possible. Good to see you.

Bossy - I'm sure it's not tomorrow. Maybe next week... just kidding... it's true though, everyone says the same thing - doesn't matter how old one is, one still feels young.

Jonny's Mom: that's ok hon I understand. I'll drop in again soon, good to see you!

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