Fifty years ago this week, the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album was released in the United States. Five decades! Just yesterday, right?
Here’s how my life was then: I had no children, nor a strand of grey hair, not even one wrinkle. I was two sizes smaller and didn’t struggle to suck in my tummy whenever I walked into a room because, frankly, I didn’t have to.
When “Sgt. Pepper” skyrocketed to the top of the pop charts in 1967, I was in my mid-20s. That puts me in my mid-70s today. Do I feel the years? Let’s put it this way: Mr. Wonderful and I are replacing our old sand chairs for the beach with high-seaters that are 18 inches off the ground for easier “in and out access.”
We keep a large glass jar on the hall table in which we stash our various “cheaters” so we can read the obituary pages of the Portland Press Herald. Trouble is, the jug is constantly empty because our glasses are … somewhere else. His desk, my bedside table, his work bench, my laundry room, in the car, on the deck, in my purse, in his jeans pocket.
Other realities of our life … We covet quiet evenings at home when we can watch a movie on television in our pajamas. Admittedly, we often have to watch six or seven trailers before we find a movie On Demand that we KNOW and AGREE we haven’t seen.
We have plenty of room in our home but our medicine cabinet needs a two-story addition. Before going to bed, I follow Mr. W. around the house turning off lights. I don’t do this to initiate something amorous, but to save money on the electric bill.
Are we embarrassed by the realities of our older age? Hell no! We’ve got lots of company. One friend confided that her husband’s ears are hairier than his head. Another mentioned that her knees occasionally buckle but her needlepoint belt sure doesn’t. Someone else suggested that her husband is “now 17 around the neck, 42 around the waist, and 95 around the golf course.”
There is hardly a medical operation we couldn’t scrub for because we have heard, in excruciating detail, about our friends’s knee and hip replacements, spinal fusions, cataract surgeries and rotator cuff restorations. And they’ve heard about ours.
Which brings me to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. He recently announced that he’s hanging up his Turnbill & Asser bespoke suits to retire from Queenly duties at the ripe old age of 96. What a role model he has been!
The Prince hasn't missed a grouse hunt, a plaque unveiling, or the Changing of the Guard in 70 years. He’s done 22,191 solo engagements and given 5493 speeches.
It was reported that the mathematician Sir Michael Atiyah, upon hearing the Duke was retiring, said to him, “I’m sorry to hear you’re standing down.” Philip’s answer: “Well I can’t stand up much longer.”
Twenty-one years his junior and I feel his pain.