Growing up makes for good stories

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I almost bought some beer at the Tom Thumb Tuesday, just to see if I could pass the “If you look 30 or under, we card” test.

I had just come from interviewing Mrs. Margaret Curran, who had recently celebrated her 101st birthday, and I was feeling a bit well, age-conscience, I guess you could say.

When one is young, age is a relative thing. Young people never take into consideration the day that our knees pop when we squat down or that first grey hair.

I was 22 when that happened.

I nearly drove my car off the road when the sun spotlighted my first grey hair. When my eyes caught its reflection, my steering wheel veered sharply toward the ditch. The car’s direction recovered, but my sensibilities did not.

It bothered me so much that I nearly cried, and I bet there isn’t a woman out there who hasn’t had a similar experience.

Like my story said, Curran has seen every mentionable event in this current century. It’s mind-boggling that she could share where she was, what she was doing, in the instants history was made.

As children we are not aware of our impact or place on the world. Growing up, I didn’t understand that there were children who went to bed hungry each night or that there murder and mayhem happening in this world. Today’s children are much different. Instant communication and global news networks have changed that, but I do wonder just how much they are paying attention.

I didn’t transition into adult awareness – that point in time where one realizes there is a world outside your immediate confines – until I was about 20. I was in college, focused on readying myself for the big bad world, when I realized just how big and how bad this world could be. It was 1997, and middle schoolers had just shot four classmates and a teacher in Tennessee. It was on CNN, and I can remember watching the students scatter like ants as the helicopter-based news reporters gave the world aerial shots of the scene.

It makes me wonder what my children tell as their “remember whens…”

I wonder what Margaret Curran’s moment was. I tried to ask, but her reply was, “You know I’m 100-and-something years old, so I don’t remember all that great.”

She did say something that made me smile.

“I’m deaf as a post and only have one-and-a-half eyes to see with. I like going around, visiting.”

It must have been an all right life, if, at 101, those are the only two things you really have to complain about.

I hope I can be so lucky to say that my biggest complaint was grey hair at 22 (gone now, thanks to Clairol) and seeing some bad things on television.

On second thought, I guess I will wait a couple of years before trying out that beer test. The results might make my biggest complaint list.