Me and This Old House

Her Spirit was as Young as Mine

I was out one evening with a friend of mine, Irmgard, who was visiting from the mainland. She was 92 years of age. We had decided to go to a movie at the theater; a romantic comedy.

In one of the scenes, the character playing the beau who was courting the young woman said something that prompted me to chuckle. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but it was a sweet romantic scene. To my surprise, Irmgard caught the meaning of the sentiment before I did. She had actually laughed a moment before I did. She had grasped the implication and the sweetness of the portrayed situation before I had.

That was my epiphany on this subject of not aging. I realized Irmgard’s spirit was as young as mine. And this is my tribute to a lady I often think about, one who taught me much without ever trying.

We do not age. We might have learned this through our spiritual upbringing when we were 20 or 40 years younger, but the words or concept might not have sunk in. We cannot fully learn and understand this truth until we are on our way, gliding along past the chronological milestones of life.

Waipuilani Beach Park, Kihei, Maui
Waipuilani Beach Park, Kihei, Maui

Irmgard had traveled to Hawaii with her husband every year for almost 30 years. The first time I met Irmgard, she was a widow -- 83 years young. She continued to visit the islands every year, staying a full month each time in the same hotel she and her husband had stayed in. She was able to reserve the same room, year after year, by booking ten or eleven months in advance.

She and I had so much fun together when she came -- walking, talking, dining and spending time with my grandchildren. But the last year that she came to the islands, she discovered that a new manager of the hotel had given her carefully reserved room to someone else. By that time, she had been a returning guest for more than 40 years.

Parliament Buildings, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Parliament Buildings, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada | Source

Irmgard felt very let down by that one gesture of a new and insensitive manager of the hotel.

The next year, I visited her in Victoria, British Columbia. She was a gracious hostess, so thoughtful and always young at heart.

Irmgard had a crisp German accent, self-confidence, love for everyone and a healthy curiosity about what comes after this earthly life for us mortals. She didn’t like looking old. She knew she was young.


The years have gone by. Sometimes I’ve caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror when I’m not expecting it and, startled, I think, “Wow, that’s me.” But then I shrug because I know I wouldn’t have it any other way. My family, my experiences, my memories – I wouldn’t trade my time on earth for anything.

Have you ever seen an old, neglected house and wondered how did it ever get so weathered and broken? Or did you, in fact, see an old house and immediately think of the beauty and the joy of family and friends the old house once held? Did you picture the prettily scented flower vines which once climbed the porch? Did you imagine the variety of flowers in the owner’s garden? Did you think of the love and happiness perpetuated within the walls of the structure -- year after year -- and the young children playing securely in the yard of the ever-watching house?

Me and This Old House
Me and This Old House

Forever 28.

Yesterday I saw many blossoms – all at different stages of life -- which brought all this to mind.

I thank our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, for the friendships I have with very elderly people because I’ll be there soon myself – to that stage. One might have a weathered face or a bone structure that is weak, and yet can have a perfect faith and hope in a bright future beyond this veil.

I chuckled with my 82-year-old mom yesterday as she rose haltingly from her kitchen chair and walked slowly to the livingroom. She said to my Dad, "Look at me, George! I'm walking like an 82 year old and I'm only 28."

‘For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face:

Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.’

(Holy Bible, King James Version,

1 Corinthians 13:12)



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© 2012 Pamela Kinnaird W

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Comments 44 comments

Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 2 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Thank you, Au fait.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas

Really enjoyed reading your tribute to Irmgard and the beautiful photos you've included. I very much appreciated your excellent example of the blossoms in different stages of their lives, too.

Voted up and beautiful.


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Pamela Kinnaird W 2 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

I appreciate your comments. I very much agree that in today's culture the elderly, in general, are not being listened to. Their experiences not only can help others learn without those others having to attend the school of hard knocks but also the experiences of the elderly can help strengthen the ties that bind. Thank you for reading and commenting on this hub.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

This is so beautifully written and it showcases a basic fact of life. Yes...our bodies age...but for most of us...our minds stay forever young. It is a shame that our culture in the U.S. does not venerate the aged as is done in some other cultures. Much could be learned by listening to them and what they have experienced and learned during their lifetimes. Nice that you still have your parents! Enjoy them as you do your friend Irmgard. You are indeed blessed!


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Pamela Kinnaird W 3 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

I'm so glad you enjoyed this. Thank you, old albion.


old albion profile image

old albion 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi Pamela. I can only echo all that has been said above. This hub is a delight. I am in tune with all you have said and observed. Well done.

Voted up all and following.

Graham.


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Pamela Kinnaird W 3 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Thank you Anna Haven. I'm glad you enjoyed the metaphor.


Anna Haven profile image

Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

An insightful prose. I think your metaphor worked really well.

The lady sounds like she was a good friend and really loved life.

Your words are so true.....only the packaging fades, inside the beauty only grows.

Excellent hub.

Anna :)


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Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

You may be right, Perspycacious. In this case, I was comparing the old house to myself -- old on the outside but joy and memories on the inside. Thanks for visiting.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

There will be thousands of unmentioned casualties from today's and tomorrow's poor economy: large homes, farm houses, etc., especially on the east coast. The upkeep of such homes is getting to be beyond the reach of the occupants and property taxes aren't going to be showing any mercy as local governments struggle to cope with the reduced tax base of America's "unpaid leave."


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Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Me, too -- every time I see an old, dilapidated house I wonder about the people who lived there and whether they have progeny. I think of dashing to the nearest town office to try to find out the former owners' names down through the history of the house. Thanks for reading.


europewalker profile image

europewalker 4 years ago

Lovely hub. Everyone should have a friend like Irmgard, so sorry she has passed. Age is just a number and I choose to ignore mine.(63). Everytime I see an abandoned worn out home I wonder what the story is. If only walls could talk. I really enjoyed this hub:)


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Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Perspycacious, I am so glad you enjoyed this little hub. That's wonderful that you had a long and special time with your grandfather and that you learned to love being around the elderly because of him and his influence. Going back to work at 82 years of age is very commendable. My dad has done the same. He's 85 now. He only gets to work four months of the year, but in the little town he's in, he feels lucky to have that much work. He really looks forward to the camaraderie and responsibilities.

Thanks for reading and commenting on these thoughts of mine.


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

I especially appreciated this line: "...we are on our way, gliding along past the chronological milestones of life." For some of my years as a teen by grandfather Sanford Winslow shared our large bedroom, his stories, and his lifestyle. He had gone back to work at age 82, and lived healthy to age 94. Family friends were just that, regardless of age. My sister and I were taught to respect our elders, and we were able to enjoy them as they delighted in enjoying having us around. Love your neighbor as yourself doesn't specify just certain ages. This was a delightful read, well-crafted, and enjoyable as have been the comments. Up, awesome, beautiful, interesting.


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Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

I'm really glad you enjoyed this hub, Sparrowlet. That's great that you had experiences very young in life to help you appreciate and understand people in your life who are termed 'elderly' but are really young at heart like you.


Sparrowlet profile image

Sparrowlet 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

What a beautiful hub! I enjoyed reading about your friend and remembered many friends of my family when I was a child. My father was a minister, and we children spent time with him, visiting the elderly parishioners and having them at our home for special days and celebrations. One of them left a pre-civil war bedroom set to me in her will, which is still in my room today. I often think of her, and the stories that old furniture could tell if it could talk! Definitely voted up!


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

prasetio30, thanks for visiting and commenting.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

I love this hub very much. Very well written and you fly my imagination in the pictures above. Rated up and awesome!

Prasetio


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

That's an original truism you've spoken. Thanks, aviannovice. I hope your rehabilitation efforts with birds are going well. It's something I want to learn to do, too.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Voted up and beautiful. If it weren't for memories, we would be without smiles when we need them.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Hi Nell Rose. Thank you for your comments. I'm glad you feel about 30! Remember when 30 seemed so old?


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

What a beautiful hub and tribute to your friend. I know exactly what you mean about age and the older generation. I never really mixed with older people until I did a psychology course in the evenings, and then to my surprise I met people much older than me, and yes they are exactly the same as they always were, age is only in body, not in mind, and now I am over fifty I still feel about 30. I love your photos too, wonderful, nell


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

I think we gravitate towards those who share our emotional, social and intellectual level -- no matter what their or our chronological age is. Thanks for commenting.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

I love your story and love the picture of the old house. My brother thought it was really funny that I'm friends with someone that's 10 years younger than I am and his daughter is friends with someone that is 20 years older than she is. I don't think it's strange I still feel young just look old.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

xstatic, as long as we're useful and can laugh and think straight -- as you say -- viva the long life. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Wonderful Hub! I feel no different at 71 than I did at 40, am as mentally sharp as ever, yet I know the calendar does not lie. Like your friend, I hope to live as long as I am useful and able to laugh and think straight. You were wonderful friends to each other.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

thumbi7,in your profession, I imagine you interact with many elderly people. Thank you for your comment.


thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 4 years ago from India

Beautiful hub!

The changes that happen to our body may be difficult to accept as we age

But I have observed in many elderly that they are still a ten year old or fifteen year old at heart.

Voted up and sharing.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Thank you, Wayne Brown. Yes, Irmgard was a dear lady. Thank you so much for stopping by to read my musings.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 4 years ago from Texas

I too have had the experience you describe..look at an old, long abandoned house with all the features of years ago on its face and wondered of the laughter, love, and whateve those walls has seen...there is a story in everyone of them and so sad that they cannot come forth. You tell a lovely story here and I certainly can tell you receive a great amount of wisdom and insight from your dear friend. Thank you. WB


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

I wouldn't have the courage to look inside unless I was with a group and I guess that would be trespassing. Actually, that's one house I don't want to look in. I like to picture the family that once lived in an old house, though.

In this case, my old house is just a metaphor. Thanks so much for stopping in to read.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

That's a great comment you made to someone. Thanks for repeating it. It's so true.


DearBandit profile image

DearBandit 4 years ago

Your very lucky to have someone like Irmgard in your life. And that house is quite something. I wonder what the inside looks like.


annescripts profile image

annescripts 4 years ago from Gilbert, AZ

Loved your hub. I recently told a someone, "Some of the youngest people I've ever met have come in packages over 70." The outside may age, but the inside always feels the same. Beautiful job.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Thank you, PapaGeorgeo.


PapaGeorgeo profile image

PapaGeorgeo 4 years ago

very neat! voted up


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

drbj, hey, that's a good idiom. I hadn't heard it. Love it!


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Bob, that doesn't sound good in Britain. I had no idea it was like that. India has got to be the worst -- at least for the women. If a woman becomes widowed and is not wealthy, she is expected to leave. Many have to beg to survive. Many die.

I agree with you: cultures benefit when all ages mix.

Thanks for your comments.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

With this lovely tribute of a hub, Pamela, you remind us that we all have to age but we do not have to get old. Growing up is mandatory. Growing old is optional. Trust me.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

Full of insight and understanding. So many cultures respect the aged and look up to them. Unfortunately, neither you nor I live in one of them. Britain is the most ageist country on Earth I believe. Once you have lost youth's bloom here you become invisible to anyone under 40. And your opinions, unless they are accompanied by offers of the material kind, count for nothing either.

I spent many years in Mexico where the old are loved, appreciated and listened to. The young here are convinced old age will never happen to them.

And cultures benefit where all ages mix. Cooping all old people togther, or treating teenagers as a seperate race is a neurotic and destructive way for a society to function.

Bob


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

Hi Angela, thanks for commenting. I enjoyed all that you've said -- and thanks for the vote.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona Author

catalystsnstars, thank you for commenting. I maybe should have mentioned, my friend, Irmgard, passed away two years ago.

The house was my metaphor. I'm not sure if I succeeded in that effort, but I tried. Thanks again.


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

What an exceptional and insightful piece, Pam. Being in the later years of my life I relate to everything you said and surmised about your elderly friend. I, too, have always enjoyed visiting and friendship with my elders (although there aren't many these days) and can honestly say I've learned more from them than perhaps any other source -- including day-to-day living. As you say, it's subtle and one has to be tuned in but it's one of life's true treasures. Definitely voted up! Best/Sis


catalystsnstars profile image

catalystsnstars 4 years ago from Land of Nod

You paint a lovey picture of what it is to age. And now I wish I could see your friend irmgard, she really sounds like an interesting person. I'm sure she'll be very touched by this article.

As for the old house, I've always loved the characters and memories an old house might hold. there is wisdom in the past and we shouldn't let the facade of the present distract us from its beauty.

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