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NINETY SOMETHING


She is ninety-something
A tiny old lady with wizened eyes
She says the hot dog on her plate looks good

“It reminds me of when we roasted them over an open fire.
They tasted so good, hot off the stick.
I don’t have much of an appetite anymore.
I waste so much food, and my mother would never 
have approved with so many starving children in the world.
Would you help me put my leg back up on the chair rest?
My body doesn’t work too well anymore.

I wasn’t always like this.     I wasn’t always this old and crotchety.
I was young once too, and so was everyone else.
I was a child at my mother’s knee.     I was sassy and a brat,
for children of six have such confidence.
I played with an Irish boy two doors down in Illinois.
He hit me in the forehead with a snowball wrapped
around a chunk of coal and I rubbed his face in the snow
until we were wet and cold and our mothers were mad
because we stayed out too long.

I am not as different from you as I seem.
I too had dreams, although I admit
they did not include the events I lived through.

The flu epidemic which swept the land, 
where so many took sick, with children dying out of hand.
The big war, the first one.     I was still a fairly young child,
but I knew the young men were dying, heard the mothers crying.
Then the depression came, with no jobs, no money, no food.
Each night on someone’s table there lay a posting of jobs,
but there were too many looking for work and too few jobs to fill.
No jobs were fat jobs, you were beyond lucky to get six bits a day.
That is seventy five cents, by the way.
I learned to make do with what I had.     There was never any excess.
Not like for the generations who came next.
When World War II came we already had practice.
Only this time my generation was dying, and I was one who was crying.

Look in my eyes, I am still a young girl inside.
A young lady with plans to be a bride, to have my children at my side
and be the loving mother like mine was to me.
But my son took too many risks.     I told him to slow the cars down,
don’t drive so fast.     He did not listen and he died before me.
That is not supposed to happen.

I did not plan to get old and infirm and alone.
Everyone is gone.     I told them goodbye, each and every one.
No one left to hold my hand.
No one left to understand the memories 
prompting bursts of girlish giggles.
I never planned on being the one left for last.
never planned on my future becoming my past.
So much history remains alive in my mind.
I lived the events which shaped the world that you found.
Lived them time after time for ninety some-odd years.

No, I was not always this old.
I was young and fresh and in my prime, for a time.”

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  1. Date: 10/23/2014 6:48:00 AM

    Well written, as always... loved this read.
  1. Date: 10/21/2014 1:47:00 AM

    Monterey, once again you have painted perfection. It is such a treat to read your writing. Thanks for this late night morsel.
  1. Date: 10/20/2014 6:07:00 AM

    Monterery, was missing you so I stopped in to read what you've been upto and found this gem waiting for me, it reads like you really now this lady, very well, much enjoyed her life story, I agree, oft we still see ourselves through the eyes of our younger days, much love to you dear one xxx
  1. Date: 10/15/2014 3:45:00 PM

    gosh, i would imagine she would have to be 99 to have seen WW!. So sad when people end up so alone and infirm. it really makes you wonder why we are made to have to endure such things. Those with strong family ties are the lucky ones. Very nice one. One that the young can try to relate to and realize how things are for the oldies. I am in the middle of this and closer now to this old woman!! Very good, MOnterey. BTW, I really hope you will try my contest. LUv, Andrea
  1. Date: 10/15/2014 3:41:00 PM

    thanks for all your wonderful comments today. I love when you come and catch up on my poems. I hope to read more of your manuscript Saturday because I told Joe I would go on his semi drive with him that day (uggg, no SOUP for me on Saturday!) Wish me luck to catch up on other things! Now to feast on your new poem.
  1. Date: 10/15/2014 11:07:00 AM

    my grandmothers lived till they were 100 years old... I hope we and the generations after us will be inspired by their compassion and tenacity... such a deep, poignant work, monterey!.. huggs
  1. Date: 10/15/2014 10:34:00 AM

    Old and alone, everyone gone. This description is full of understanding. Alike an ancient, the past is predominant. At 85 I see all the familiar people and situations going one by one and can look ahead to just such as the ninety year old tells. Great read. Love, daver
  1. Date: 10/14/2014 10:08:00 AM

    Some of that generation lived through so much that it gave them strength of character that our youth have no idea about..I enjoyed reading this one today..Thanks for the visits to my page..Sara
  1. Date: 10/14/2014 9:35:00 AM

    I am an adding this great write to my fav list my friend. Although I am only 60 now, I identify with much of it and have been thru hard times myself before. Have had two children die before one year old and all my grandparents, Dad and baby brother at 14 years old. Life has been no bed of roses but is now at its very best with me because of my wife and 7 year old son. A VERY solid 7...
  1. Date: 10/12/2014 10:48:00 AM

    This is so beautifully written and sad...It is a fear I have to outlive my children and be left alone. Guess it shouldn't be something I should worry about especially since the woman in my family live long lives and I have 2 daughters ( my grandmother is 102)....hugs Tim
  1. Date: 10/12/2014 7:48:00 AM

    - Oh ... I have heard so many such stories from "the old" .... (I work with that generation for many years as a nurse) - They recall their childhood and youth ... with a smile on their mouth ..... "Once I was a beautiful young bride ...." - Sad when one gets old. ... lonely and need help to most things - A lovely poem, dear friend Monterey ! - oxox // Anne-Lise :)

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