This article was written by Maude Lillian Meador Groshans who was my children’s great grandmother. Maude Lillian Meador was born on April 16, 1887, in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, her father, Robert Meador, was 25, and her mother, Charlotte Shipman, was 22. She married Gottlieb Jack Groshans on June 12, 1912, in her hometown. She died on January 17, 1971, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at the age of 83, and was buried in Streator, Illinois. (note that Maude picked the name Robert Jack for her son. This must have been a namesake because her father was named Robert and her husband was Gottlieb “Jack” Groshans.)
Submitted at the usual rates by Mrs. Jack Groshans
104 Wall St.
Eureka Springs, Ark.
SOMEDAY I SHALL BE OLD by Maude Meador-Groshans.
The warning whistle of “fair, slim, and forty”, bids me STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN. FOR THE ENGINE OF OLD AGE IS THUNDERING JUST BEYOND THE CURVE.
Now I have an ambition to be a healthy, happy, likable old lady. For some reason the opinions of the aged seem to set like concrete, therefore I will warn myself of the pitfalls before that time comes.
These are rules and regulations to guide me when I find myself “not so young as I was”.
Do be scrupulously clean physically. A dirty old person is an abomination. A soiled baby is sometimes cunning -an elderly person never. Bathe daily and see that the linen next your skin is spotless. Watch for bodily odors – and use a deodorant. Thus you avoid disgusting your friends.
Be careful of your appearance. I hope my grandchildren will be proud of “the way grandma looks”.
Keep the mind dressed in up to date ideas. You are as young as your mind; read new books, see new plays, hear new music, see new pictures-and do it with an unprejudiced mind -strive to get the modern viewpoint. Don’t let your mind stay in a rut twenty years behind the times.
don’t condemn present styles; they are as beautiful as what you wore thirty years ago and likely more sanitary. If you do not believe it, get out the fashions and examine the hats, skirts, sleeves, shoes, and think it over.
NEVER under any provocation offer advice. Keep still. You had to learn, and it developed you, didn’t it? Why deny others the chance to grow? Besides, people do not really want advice. They tell you their troubles and say “What would you do?” Honestly now, how many ever followed your advice? Can you recall one? And was your advice wise? Free advice is not valued highly. If the case is really serious, send them to a lawyer if it is legal, to a doctor if physical or mental, to a minister if spiritual, and to other professions if technical. At least you will be free from blame if their case is not rightly diagnosed. In the same way, avoid seeking advice from any except those competent to give it, and our friends seldom are – the very fact that they are friends may blind or bias their judgement.
Keep family affairs to yourself. You may be wrongfully treated, but it is human nature to take the side o the absent one (mentally, if not audibly). Besides it is undignified. If you have to live with the younger generation, your years should have taught you the art of adjusting yourself. Surely, you should be wiser than they. Loyalty is a wonderful thing. If you live with an in-law whom you detest, keep it to yourself. Don’t tell your children if you dislike their mates. There is a possibility they dislike you, too, you know, and it isn’t making it any easier for criticism to creep in.
Don’t, please don’t, advise young mother how to rear their children. They invariably resent it and modern methods are different to what they were when you reared yours. “The world do progress”. Besides their mistakes are a help to them. And never correct other people’s children. So many old folks have the annoying habit of admonishing “Now, now, you mustn’t do that. Nice little boys don’t do that”. “Why, Susie, that isn’t polite. What would Miss Blank think if she saw you do that?” Oh, but the children hate it and I have inwardly marveled at the control of the children in not answering as rudely as the questioner deserved . After all, if your grandchildren, or your friend’s offspring are rude, ill-mannered, ill-tempered nuisances, you are not responsible, and so why worry, and why annoy the mother by criticizing?
Don’t begin by being imposed upon by your married children. Taking care of the kiddies while parents take a vacation, or for the afternoon while mother goes to a party or lecture can soon become slavery and your time is no longer your own. There is a conspiracy among young folks that their parents never have anything they are interested in which they cannot leave without warning. They take it for granted that “Mother will be glad to keep the children”. Does the prospect appeal to you? Want all your time mortgaged? Well, I don’t. If you, at the beginning, let it be known that you ‘ll enjoy having them unless you have another engagement, or there is something else you would rather do, the children will soon learn that you do it as a favor. They will find a way to manage without making a drudge of you. Sounds selfish but to offset this, I say there are times when parents should sacrifice to help their children. If daughter is recovering from a wearing illness, or son has had a nervous breakdown and grandmother could keep the children a few weeks, it would be a duty shirked not to lend a hand. What I contend is, young people need the responsibility, as well as the joy of a family and you rob them of character development if you let them shift the load on you .
Get an interest in life – a hobby . Start a collection of something and learn all you can about your collection and similar ones. Study butterflies or birds – keep a record of kinds seen, time of arrival and departure, habitat. Photography may be as placid or as strenuous as you wish. Grow a special flower or vegetable; raise chickens or ducks or squabs or goldfish – do something that interests you. It will help to keep you fit physically, fresh mentally, probably keep you out of somebody’s way.
The most difficult accomplishment to acquire is that of being an intelligent listener.
We all like to talk but don’t we treasure that friend who by cleverly placed question or an apt answer makes us forget how we are monopolizing the conversation? And what a subtle way of acquiring reputation for wisdom.
A sunny natured old person is a joy. Not one of those determinedly jolly old duffers who meet you with a slap on the back and a “Fine day. Ha! Ha!” manner. Just simple good humor.
Don’t talk of aches and pains. All old people seem to have them. People hate to listen – and they seldom care. Tell it to your doctor. He is probably bored stiff but at least he can charge you for listening. ·
Avoid food which you know is injurious to you. Take care of your health. sleep long hours – rest in the middle of the day (a nap is better); drink large quantities of water; eat simple foods; don’t worry about other’s affairs. Life will continue when you are gone.
Cultivate friendships with younger generation, then when contemporaries pass on, there remain strong links with the present and you are getting a new viewpoint.
Save enough to be modestly independent. If you need care in old age, having the money to buy service takes away that humiliating feeling that your relatives are discommoding themselves and families doing what you should have had the foresight to avoid. Better to spend less now and have more later. “If youth but knew what age would crave, it would both make and save”.
So many old folks give away, or sign away their independence to someone on the promise of having a home and care as long as they live. DON’T DO IT. I have never yet seen it work successfully . Keep what you have and pay as you go. Then if you are unsuited you can go elsewhere. This is the most serious fault of the elderly, and I think someway ought to be devised by law to avoid it being done.
I should like to grow old gracefully – no, placidly, and they are not synonymous. Not from a desire to fool the public about my age. Who cares how old I am, anyway? Besides it is a waste of time to lie about your age in your home town. There is always some old woman to tell on you. We all know her. She begins sternly “She is fifty-four, I remember she was born the August after my Benny in June and he was fifty-four the fourteenth.
Don’t take root in a place. All of us are familiar with a pathetic old mother grieving herself to death for her old home and old friends. The prospect of settling down for life sounds peaceful, but we are not masters of our own destiny and changes may come that make it imperative that a change be made. How much better to teach ourselves to be adaptable and enjoy the move than to go mooning around, making everyone miserable around us over the unavoidable.
If you want to be a healthy, happy old person, begin now to lay the foundations. The cheerful, resourceful aged are not sudden products – they developed slowly from youth.
You cannot be a glutton now and otherwise abuse your body and be a hale old person, anymore than you can make a cesspool of your mind now and have a sane, clean outlook in later years. Nor can you let your spiritual life fester with doubts and “isms” and meet death tranquilly.
Be tolerant of other’s ideas and opm1ons. Taboo religious arguments, or political differences . Among women don’t discuss age, weight, or diet! don’t reminisce about yourself. Don’t talk of the good old days – “Today is the best day the world has ever seen, tomorrow will be better”. Don’t express the idea that young people are fools and immoral – our grandmothers said the same of us.