The Elderly Will Get This

Now that we are following the latest “suggestion” of remaining at home until the end of this next month (I am a rule follower for the most part), I am adjusting to this new world by having my groceries delivered to my home. I was excited to learn of a family connection to a fresh vegetable dealer at a nearby farmer’s market. (Is this the same feeling of euphoria one has after scoring drugs?)  After paying with cash the first week, I decided I would follow the lead of one of my kids by installing the Venmo App.

For anyone ancient like me, let me tell you that it is a way to pay for items digitally, which I finally decided would be safer for my vegetable dealer even though she assured me that she has no problem with cash.

I spent too much time the other day trying to install Venmo on my IPhone, so I sent a note to the Venmo help desk. I received a list of six suggestions. I tried all but the most drastic measure, which was to restore my phone to its original factory settings. I finally gave up and sent my Venmo customer support person the following Goodbye Jocelyn email:

Hi Jocelyn.

 I tried all your suggestions except restoring my phone. That is not happening! I do not want to spend any more time on this project by doing that and then lose all my apps, contacts, etc. 

Being someone not willing to give up without a fight, I then tried to install the Venmo app on my IPad, but I had the same problem. It gets stuck after “click next to complete linking to bank” when I tried to add a bank account.

I did not want to do this from the start, but my children made me feel old for not having the latest app. I guess I can’t blame them, because I am sure I rolled my eyes when my parents got stuck in the past.

On top of being made to feel old by my adult children, I recently learned that our government considers me elderly and in need of extra precautions even though I am not on Medicare yet unless Bernie claims victory and convinces the world that he was correct all along.

So I will go back to doing what apparently is the way to pay for things by elderly people, but in this time of worrying about glitter-sized coronavirus germs, I will wipe down my cash with hard-to-get antibacterial wipes before paying the very nice woman who is getting me fresh veggie at the local famer’s market and hope she stays virus-free.

Now I have the remainder of the afternoon to settle down in my rocking chair with my latest book before my next Zoom session with my truly elderly mother.

Thank you for taking the time to try to help me, Jocelyn.

 So long Venmo and back to the days of yore when everyone used plain old cash!


Karen B.

“Elderly” mother, grandmother, and generally-good-with-technology citizen

  And that, my friends and dear family, is a wrap!




Our New World

We are currently living in a whole new world. We are scrambling for toilet paper, washing our hands until they are raw, isolating ourselves from our loved ones, learning how to homeschool our children, and having food delivered to our homes.

I am slightly ahead of the panic, because I purchased our toilet paper on March 9, when there were just 566 confirmed cases in the United States and 7 in my state. World Market closed its doors at the shopping center near me in December, so I was able to stock up on wine at 50% off. That was a particularly good score!

Dad ordered disposable gloves the day before we got our supply of toilet paper, and on March 11, we went to a restaurant where we ate in for the last time. We were a little nervous, but not everyone at our table was anxious. The proposed restrictions of March Madness was a hot topic of opposing views. The tournament was canceled the following day.

Since then, we began to get more cautious. I picked up a book from the library the day before it closed, and we got take-out from our favorite Asian restaurant. Dad had his gloves on when he picked up the order.

Our town was not so concerned, since it permitted a rib cook-off in the local park on March 14—an event which drew 2500-3000 not-so-concerned residents. I was furious when I saw videos of people eating their ribs with their hands and then grabbing the communal containers of barbecue sauce. But our state epidemiologist said, “There is no need to cancel public events.” Hmm! Will our state have an uptick in cases traced back to the event? We will never know, because it appears our state is not tracing the trail. There were 2800 positives and 58 deaths  in our country the day of the barbecue.

Obtaining groceries in a coronavirus world is different. During our final visit to the grocery store, we both wore our gloves and we maintained our social distance, something that was not the order of the day on March 17. On that day, there had been only 33 positives and 1 death in South Carolina, but nationally, there were 4500 positives and 88 deaths.

We visited with the kids several times through the window, once at our house and a few times at theirs. It was both fun and extremely sad. We threw leftover bags of Halloween M&Ms out the window to them, but Lily cried because she wanted to come inside. Bryce had to pee, so our plants got fertilized.

I hate this, but this is what we need to do for now. For Dad and me, we are not working in a hospital like my sister, we have a roof over our heads, and plenty of food and TP. While we miss you all and are disappointed that our trips to visit each other have been postponed, we really cannot complain. We will just continue to hide from the world until it’s safe to come out again.

A Wholel New World





They Are Talking About Me!!

After receiving my Medicare card, I thought that was the final nail in my “you are officially old coffin,” but I was wrong. With all the talk about the mysterious coronavirus infecting people on every continent but Antarctica, I started researching who is vulnerable.  I breathed a sigh of relief when I read that “the coronavirus outbreak is getting worse and warned elderly and sick people to avoid traveling or circulating in crowds.”

Well, that’s certainly not me, so I can just get on with my life while at the same time follow safe practices such as diligently washing my hands more often and for twenty seconds and fist or elbow bump rather than shake hands. Then I read that the U.S. Surgeon, General Jerome Adams, emphasized that people over sixty years old are the most at risk from coronavirus. By the transitive property, I realized that I AM ELDERLY! OMG!!

I called Grandma and informed her that her two first-born children are now in the elderly population. She responded, “Then I guess that means I must be ancient!”

I was not prepared for this shocking revelation.


I Will Try to Stay Younger Than Spring

Sunday night was another example of showing me that old age does not necessarily mean the same for everyone. Not all seniors spend their final years in a nursing home or stuck in a wheelchair where they are dependent on someone else for their food, trips to the bathroom, and help getting bathed and dressed. Some, like our friend Gene, who at an age north of ninety can still drive a car, take themselves out to eat, travel, and perhaps engage in a sport such as golf, never seem as old as the calendar tell us.

Others can paint, learn the fine art of sculpting, and entertain thousands at a time, like Tony Bennett. This past week and weekend I got to know Mr. Bennett by reading his autobiography and then seeing him perform in Charlotte on Sunday night.

We had gone to his show with no expectations, because, well, he is ninety-three years old. I expected his voice to be weak or strained like other aging musicians I have seen, but I was wrong. While he performed for less than ninety minutes, it seemed like much longer because he sang nonstop.

He did not pause to tell an old tale or take a sip of water, but instead, went from song to song with barely a few seconds in between each tune. Nor did he sit, and it was apparent to all that he was thoroughly enjoying the evening as did the packed audience in Charlotte. He smiled a lot as he looked out and up at his adoring fans. He even performed a few dance moves.

His voice was a little raspier than the Tony Bennett on my playlist, but it was still strong. The words of one song in particular were a poignant reminder that the sands of the hourglass have many more grains in the bottom than the top.

Beautiful girls, walk a little slower when you walk by me
Lingering sunsets, stay a little longer with the lonely sea…

And let the music play as long as there’s a song to sing
And I will stay younger than spring.

After closing with his infamous “I Left my Heart in San Francisco,” he left the stage but returned many more times. While he did not sing an encore, he smiled and waved with appreciation. Yes, I am sure he was tired, but I truly believe he loves what he does and will continue to sing and paint and sculpt until the hourglass is empty.

 It was inspiring.

Tony Bennett- from Blumenthal Photo Gallery


Learning to Hate the Mail!

When I was in high school, I had a math teacher—Miss Pavidis—and she referred to all her students as young whippersnappers. Sad to admit, I have not been a young whippersnapper for a long, long time. I am no longer even a middle-aged whippersnapper, but rather someone that should probably be called ma’am even in New Jersey, where woman like me would still be referred to as “Miss,” even though I have been married over forty years and am the grandma of two little cuties.

I will soon be celebrating the third anniversary of my hip replacement, I have been covering my gray hair for ions, and my hands have age spots and old-lady veins showing through the skin. After careful calculations on timing, I began collecting my Social Security checks as soon as I could.

But this week, the final insult appeared in my mailbox confirming that I am forever a former young whippersnapper. My Medicare card arrived! Although I am not eligible for a few more months, our government has been reminding me for months that this is the big year. I told Grandma the awful news and she responded by saying, “How do you think that makes me feel?”

I am in the autumn of my life.

Springtime in December is Nice

Today was one of those days that made me realize that the decision to settle in the Deep South was the correct move for me, and I am positive Dad would agree. While the calendar says that the arrival of winter is just a few days away, the temperature felt more like a spring day.

My azaleas and roses are still blooming, and Dad left the house today wearing a pair of shorts. The temperature registered seventy-four degrees in my car.

I know this is disappointing to the children of South Carolina who yearn for some snow—any bit of snow. This was apparent a few nights ago at the zoo, where we all went to admire the Christmas lights and say hi to Santa.

The biggest attraction was the snow machine, which pumped out a mysterious white concoction of something resembling soap. The children spent more time running from one snow machine to the next than they did chatting with the jolly old elf.

You know what, if anyone wants snow, then they can either head to a cold-weather state or to that new mall in New Jersey—The American Dream—which has an indoor water park, ski slope, amusement park rides, an ice skating rink, and plenty of shopping.

I’ll wait home to hear about it.

Are You Old Enough to Make my List?

Now that it is December, I don’t mind listening to Christmas music and I am excited to look at the lights. It is also that time of the year to start panicking about Christmas presents. I need to speak with my sisters about what to get for Grandma, and Kelly is going to let me know what’s on Lily’s list. Bryce is easy, and Dad has several ideas regarding him. Now that we have all agreed not to shop for each other, my list is small so it’s not so bad.

I am still not certain about the cookies, so you all may or may not get a box of sweet memories of the past from me. So that leaves only one thing other than the movies (and I promised Geoff that I would give A Christmas Story one more chance), which is the cards. In the past, we got so many that I was able to deck the halls with boughs of cards. Now, I think that the price of a stamp, which is now at fifty-five cents (Grandma was shocked), along with the fact that more and more people are just losing interest, are the reasons why Christmas cards are disappearing.

Every year, Dad asks me what I am doing about them, and each year, I get lazier and lazier. I told him the other day that I am seriously considering limiting my list to friends and relatives over the age of eighty or eight-five.

So don’t look for a card from us!