“Someday I Shall Be Old” by Maude Lillian Meador Groshans

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.

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