Ages and Generations

Mamacita says:  One of the wonderful advantages of a college class is the mixture of ages, even generations, sitting together and sharing points of view. (I’ve always thought school should be about ability, never about age, but don’t get me started.)  I have absolutely adored almost every student I’ve ever had, and there have been very few exceptions.  The mixed ages work really well, and I wish all levels were mixed like that.  Grouping students by age is ridiculous.  But I digress.

Several years ago, I had a student who looked, to me, to be about 85 years old. She was bent almost double, walked slowly with a cane, had that husky, chain-smoking, elderly, quavery voice, and was quite honestly a walking cross-cross of wrinkles, turkey-neck, and sag. Her feet and ankles were swelling over her shoetops. She had thin white hair, pulled into a little bun on the top of her head. All she needed was a pair of knitting needles stuck through it. My mom is 85, and this woman could have been HER mother!

. . . only bent almost double. . . .

. . . only bent almost double. . . .

She was accompanied by a note-taker, as she was too shaky to write fast enough for a college class. I took one look at her and immediately assumed that she would be a hard worker and a serious student, but that opinion lasted only until I realized that the note-taker was doing ALL the work and the student was doing nothing, and by “nothing,” what I actually mean is NOTHING.  So that was a bummer.  (I caught the note-taker filling in a test, even.  Cripes.)

This story, however, is not about that. It’s about this: some of the women in the class asked her how old she was, and she replied, “How old do you think?” (Always a mistake.) “Oh, about 80,” they guessed. Wrong. She was TWO YEARS OLDER THAN ME. This took me so by surprise that the whole class laughed at the expression on my face. I then asked the class how old they thought I was. Their reply: “Oh, about forty.” I’ll take it.

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