Article originally featured in McSweeney’s A Force Outside Myself: Citizens Over 60 Speak
Note from McSweeney’s Editors:
In the past few weeks, the voices and even the lives of older people have been marginalized, scapegoated, written off. Most recently, certain politicians have presented a false and horrifying choice — either we protect citizens over 60 or we save the economy.
We thought it was time to hear their voices. They are living this anxious, troubled moment like no one else. Every day we will add more stories to this mosaic — some tragic, some wistful, some full of levity and hope. They will be at the top of this page every morning.
It Falls Into Place Nicely
by Nancy Kelton
I am 72, a writer, and live in Manhattan. I used to talk to myself. My husband, Jonathan, now works at home. I have to talk to him.
Other than that, I have not much changed my routine. Or my clothes.
The only people who have seen my early-March haircut are Jonathan, grocery store cashiers and shoppers, and the Union Square Whole Foods security guard who lets senior citizens in at 7:30 am.
About my haircut, my mother would have said, “it falls into place nicely.” She and I talked about my hair and clothes. She called my black tops “dreary” and always urged me to wear bright designs with flowers and flamingos.
I miss our talks about my dreary clothes.
I miss my New School classroom. I have been teaching there since 1980. A substitute more technically competent than I am is teaching my April sessions remotely. My students are probably as grateful as I am that I do not have to Zoom.
I am grateful my sister returned my call. It had been a while. My messages about our being a family got to her. We spoke at length and laughed.
I miss hugging my family out west. I miss feeling safe back east.
I am grateful for my loving husband, who plays Scrabble with me. I am grateful I usually win.