The kindergarten classes were encouraged to dress up as “old people”. Mom, jokingly asked her son, Tristan, clad in his best assessment of the aged if he wanted to wear a “pull-up”. Of course she then had to discuss why and the discussion lead to many “whys” and “how comes.” Thinking on her toes—as every, always prepared, multitasking parent of a kindergartener she finally told him,
“You are born without teeth, and sometimes no hair and you need a diaper. If you live long enough that’s how you might end up when you are one hundred years old, THAT’S WHY!”
As I prepared this entry—with “Mom’s” permission to use her account… I did a little research and must admit to being surprised. Life was vastly different a century ago. One hundred years ago the average life span was…47. An average US worker could expect to earn between $200-$400 a YEAR. Two out of every 10 adults could not read or write and only 6% graduated high school. Yet 18% of households had at least one full time servant. Sugar cost $.04 a pound and coffee $.14 a pound—mind boggling to compare with today’s barista specialties.
Most women washed their hair only once a month with egg yokes and borax. (If you are thinking how some today use beer in combination with eggs for a beauty regiment—canned beer hadn’t been invented yet.)
90% of doctor’s had no college education. Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. (The pharmacist reported, “Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health.”)
Leading causes of death were 1. Pneumonia and influenza 2. Tuberculosis 3. Diarrhea 4. Heart disease 5. Stroke
Hard to imagine so many changes in a relatively short period of time considering the technological advances of today have no comparison. We may live longer lives, have better medical care and communications systems once thought only Science Fiction, but one constant remains… we are born wrinkled, without teeth, little hair and an inability to control our bowels.…and those who live long enough return to that state. Aging is part of life, living is what we choose to do in the process. Live well, laugh long and love along the way.