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Nostalgia November 2017

We're the Old People Now

By Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic

We couldn’t resist telling the parents that when we bought our strollers in 1987 they cost $99 and didn’t come with GPS, seating for three and ultra-padded dashboards. We’re the old people now.

When we moved from the city to the suburbs many years ago, our children were toddlers and we were young. Our neighbors were the old people – empty nesters, retirees, grandparents – who had lived in the same home for more than 25 years. Imagine that! Fast-forward a few decades --- we’re still at the same addresses. Our neighborhoods have “turned over” and there are other mothers and kids waiting for the school bus at our corner. We’re the old people now.

Yesterday when we were outside, our neighbors strolled by with their brand new baby.
We waved them over to cluck at their 8-week-old daughter. We wanted to stroke the baby’s cheek and admire her adorable sweater and blanket. We couldn’t resist telling the parents that when we bought our strollers in 1987 they cost $99 and didn’t come with GPS, seating for three and ultra-padded dashboards. We’re the old people now.

When we go into Philadelphia and try one of the trendy new restaurants, we look around and see that we are the only ones without tattoos and strategically ripped jeans. Well, it is 8 p.m. Maybe our contemporaries were here at 5:30 for the "early bird special." The other diners are young enough to be our kids. We reminisce about the days when restaurants were quieter and brightly lit and the print on the menu seemed bigger. We’re the old people now.

When we look at the brochure to choose excursions for an upcoming trip, we have to check out the activity levels. We’re not up for an “ultimate challenge.” We don’t want to ice climb or parasail into a volcano. The next level down, “strenuous,” involves 3 to 6 hours a day of hiking on mountainous terrain. We’ll stick with “moderate activity.” We can ride a camel or hike a mile or two. We don't want to do any activity that would require us to get a doctor’s note. We’d much rather shop for souvenirs, take the native food tour, and visit the spa. We’re the old people now.

We used to listen to records. Then there were tapes and CDs. Remember the Walkman? Boom boxes? One of our husbands was super happy with the 200 Motown songs on his iPod. Then his iPod died and his computer was so old it wouldn’t sync with a new iPod. We’re much more advanced than that. We listen to music on our phones, even in our car! We can pull up our favorite songs any time we want. We know how to use Bluetooth and have music in our kitchen. But then the kids laughed at us because we don’t use Spotify. We listen to the same old favorite songs over and over again. How do we find out about the latest releases? Who are Frenship and Rob $tone? We’re the old people now.

Maybe that's why we like joining the 10 a.m. senior-stretch exercise class at the Y, attending the lunch-and-learn sponsored by the synagogue, and lounging by the pool in the gated golf community in Florida. It makes us feel young.

 

Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, also known as the Word Mavens, are the authors of  The Whole Spiel: Funny essays about digital nudniks, seder selfies and chicken soup memories. They can be reached via www.thewordmavens.com.