Old Lady Babies
Old Lady Babies
By Susan Frederick
After the birth of my first daughter in 1975, a social services nurse offered me an opportunity to join a mom’s group, and I immediately said yes. Each month, we’d gather in someone’s home. A registered nurse would be there to talk about some aspect of parenting, and answer questions, and then we’d all have snacks and talk.
After the group meetings stopped, Elaine and I stayed friends. She’d been a teacher and I’d worked in an office before our babies were born. Neither one of us was ready to go back to work full-time, so Elaine sold Tupperware, and I sold Avon. Elaine was way more successful than I was because Elaine made going to a Tupperware Party like being at a Comedy Club. She was hilarious. The word got around and pretty soon, living rooms were packed with young women laughing, drinking coffee, meeting friends, and buying plastic bowls.
One of the topics Elaine talked about was “Old Lady Babies.” Old lady babies were older women who dressed like teenagers. “Have you ever seen an older lady in a mini skirt or hip hugger bell bottoms?” she’d ask, and we’d all begin chuckling. “That’s an Old Lady Baby! Something we’ll never be!” At the time, we all raised our coffee cups and agreed—we would never be Old Lady Babies.
But guess what? I’m seventy-one now. I’m not wearing hip hugger bell bottoms (because that would be so 70s), but I am wearing whatever I damn well please. It might be a tie-dye t-shirt, or a tunic over leggings, or a leather jacket with skinny jeans. Because I can.
One of the things I love most about being an active senior is that I no longer care what other people think. Maybe I’ve become what we all laughed about in our youthful ignorance—an Old Lady Baby. I’m not sure, but here’s the best part: I’m still laughing!
Susan Frederick grew up in small logging towns in the foothills of Mt. Rainier in Washington State.
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