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.
I love this poem. There are moments when I do think about how I will be when I get older & it is in these lines that I smile the most.
I have a Great Aunt Eloise & Great Aunt Clara; sisters they are. My memory is peppered with things that they have done. I am too young to have known them in what they would say was their heyday, but the women I have come to admire still have a sensational shock and awe lifestyle. Now don't let your mind drift to south of the gutter, their shock and awe may be tame to some of you, but for me it is an enlightened experience every time I have the pleasure of visiting.
They took me & a cousin on trips during our childhood summers. Excursions to the beach where we would rent a house on the sand, listening to the soft morning murmurs of the Gulf and nights of games & laughter. They would tell scandalous stories of their youth - the men they dated, the men they loved, the men they lost and those that are forever etched on their hearts. True Southern Belles to the core, they are the kind that Scarlett would have been jealous of; their romances, adventures and even calm days are ones that could fill a hundred books! I have always admired that with each passing year they seem to get more energetic, more alive. Eloise travels often to see her children. Clara, though recently age & illness have been a battle, for years kept up as though she were ten years younger than her birthdate. Both have always been eclectic, outspoken, kind, women of gumption and barrels of laughs - refreshingly growing more with ever year.
I loved them as a young girl for the ice cream sundaes, caramel cake, trips to the Gulf and sweet disposition. As a teenager I fell in love with their ability to listen, to comment and to share their own teen trials without ever preaching or patronizing. As a woman, I now appreciate their zest, their ability to promote family, to live life, to speak their mind, to be eccentric, and to love with all their hearts.
They are my WARNING. My poem, walking around this earth reminding me of purple hats, red dresses, summers sipping sweet tea or brandy and the need for satin shoes. I am enjoying every day that I get to spend on this earth and hope that I will get to live out a life so full of fun & love that one day my own nieces & nephews will write a post about me.
I hope to do it justice... ;o)
Do you have anyone who inspires eccentricity or any habits you have that help in continuing an eccentric life? I know you do - you are a writer ;o)
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