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Women’s Stories of Successful Aging

Kay Dilger Metcalfe: Written Reflections on Aging

“Since the ‘Baby Boomers’ are getting well into their 60’s” (March 25, 2007)

In this reflection, Kay acknowledges the challenges of aging, especially the illness and death of her husband. She finds herself in a “strange environment” where her life seems “Upside-Down.” However, she goes on to write that she “grasped some determination” to deal with the limitations of age.


Since the “Baby Boomers” are getting well into their 60’s, more & more interest into the Art of Aging has been a favorite subject for Books and Articles.

Here am I at 94 years. How has this process been affecting my life-world-view? When looking back to my 70’s, I felt hale and hearty and presumably normal.

Then, in the 60’s, I was staff illustrator for the Yonkers Public Library and celebrated the original “Earth Day” there.

Imperceptibly CHANGES of all sorts were slyly taking over. Reversals in clothing, methods of communication, cost of living, the buy & throw away culture of the new generation, eating habits, tattoos, shopping stores and so forth.

One day, running after a Frisbee with my grandson, I was astounded that my legs no longer performed appropriately. Good grief!

Then the day approached when my dear, one and only, husband became ill. He suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. We moved to our Farmhouse in Mass. for his recovery.

Fortune was not favorable as his death was imminent. We were both 85 years old at the time. Abruptly, I sensed an unseemly happening come over me. Had I slipped through a “Looking Glass” into a strange environment?

Four years later my daughter, Susan, and her husband, Larry, came all the way from California to live together with me. My son, Tris3, an architect, lives within a stone’s throw in his Solar House but his office and business are in Northampton.

All was well except for me. My life was Upside-down. My normal schedule no longer functioned. Arthritic fingers could no longer stencil tin trays. Organized cooking was no longer a pleasure or possible.

So, I grasped some determination and was determined to cope with whatever was at hand.

However, I must not deny the enjoyment of being with others of our small eminent Church in Plainfield, Mass. Familiar [faces?] and times of old were real fun to ponder upon.

Our Pastor, Nancy L. Sykes, is a profound and joyous person who makes one’s life a most pertinent place to be living in.

We realize that each new generation functions to its own rhythms. Its built-in culture can be puzzling for the retiring generation to comprehend.

Finally, to keep abreast, reading does stimulate interest in the “Why” of the World, the Universe. It has become for me (whose hearing is a minus-quantity) a delightful pursuit to think about.

By living here with my Susan and her husband, Larry, tending and caring for me in many, many opportune ways has been auspicious.

P.S. By having Albums of snapshots of family and friends (taken over, literally, in my case a hundred years) can be a joyously happy repast to feast upon.

Have patience

Kay Dilger Metcalfe