North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

By Katie Bourg
Senior Daze 

For the common good


A few days of good weather almost always brings out a little extra ambition. ‘Flowers that bloom in the Spring, Tra La.’ That sort of thing. At my age one would think I would be beyond even the mildest frivolity. No so. My generation does not give up so easily. I saw on the news that one great-grandma even went to a Prom with her great-grandson. Wouldn’t mind doing that, if my hip would cooperate. Not likely, but a nice idea.

My grandson has purchased a sailboat and moved to my old neighborhood, where he can berth it in front of his new address. He has been threatening to get me onto his boat and I have resisted. I’ve told him I have never liked boats much, and have no desire to tempt a watery fate. But I’m only 88. Maybe I’ll try it yet. I can still balance my checkbook, remember not to leave the stove on, and always recall what I read in the morning paper. I’m sure if the need arose I would remember how to swim. I could a few years ago, when I traveled to Hawaii with daughter Betsy. Would do it again, but I don’t like airplanes. But if they asked me to go…!

For the most part, I tend to believe our generation (senior citizens, if you will) is more flexible than our children and grandchildren. I hear a lot of complaints these day from the young, who say we cannot seem to accept change. What they don’t get is we have been down the same road before, and have a better idea of what change works and what doesn’t.

Take medical care. I don’t know how long it will take to make Obamacare work well. I don’t think he knows, either. Or anybody else. What I do know is there were people who died before they should have, when I was young. And there were lots and lots of young men who were not in good enough shape to be drafted in the ‘40s because of malnutrition and earlier medical problems that were not addressed. I read it in the paper—way back in the ‘40s. I remember. I know a lot of towns had “poor houses” where old people went to die, but not with dignity. As a young girl I had a job on a county medical ward. Warehouse might be a better description of the place. It was one step before the pauper’s grave.

Social Security was a new idea and Roosevelt was subjected to the same criticism for making change as our present administration is now experiencing.

Those who opposed it were wrong. We are a healthier race today than we were in 1935. We even have too much money for fun. Look what our people spend on recreation, not to mention sports teams. Don’t tell me we can’t find a way to take care of our nation’s health. What we spend publicly fighting each other every four yours would go a long way to ensure proper care for everyone.

So don’t blame us ‘old folks’ for not accepting change. We’ve handed our kids and grandkids tools to keep them healthy and on track for many years longer than our parents enjoyed. We are not the ones who do not understand change and what it can do.

It is my understanding that we are the last large industrial country in the world to get around to doing what needs to be done for everyone. When I see so much resistance to accepting the inevitable I get a little irritated. My own kids are in their 60s. I’ve tried to teach them to carry their share of the load, for the good of all. What have you taught yours?


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