Some things never change. 

I visit my 102-year-old-mom at the seniors residence where she lives on a regular basis. I get a feel for the place by observing the goings on. 

My mom is happy there most likely because she is free of responsibility. There are no meals to make, dishes to wash, nor is there dirty laundry to sort. Finally. 

Born in 1914 on a farm, mom lost her mother at a very young age and as a result, was expected to participate in housecleaning, meal preparation and the care of two younger siblings. She hated fetching the milk cow in the field at the end of the day. Afraid that she might run into "des hommes chaud" (drunk men), she avoided all possible encounters by hiding behind shrubs and bushes on her way to find the cowMom decided early on that she had to marry someone from the city. 

But back to the residence. My mother is an introvert and keeps her interaction with the human race (other residents) to a minimum. The door to her room remains open much of the time. When she isn't sleeping, she observes residents and staff who walk by in much the same way as she might view a parade of clowns. Her philosophy? Watch but don't mix.

I always had trouble relating to her approach but it might be wise in some respects. A seniors residence is a little microcosm of society much like high school. My experience with the latter wasn't particularly positive so naturally, I dread reliving a repeat performance (in the event that I live to be that old).

From my mom's room, I can easily hear what is happening in the common area. Sometimes all is quiet, at other times there are "fun" activities for the residents. I think there's something called a monkey toss....I daren't ask.

Once I overheard heard an argument between resident 1 & 2 that went something like this:

#1:  "Where's my paper?
#2:  "I don't have your paper.
#1:  "Yes you do, I saw you walk away with it."
#2:  "That was my paper."
#1:  "No it wasn't. You don't get the paper delivered anymore."
#2:  "Yes I do."
#1:  "No you don't. You stopped it. That was my paper. Go and get my paper in your 
#2:  "No that's my paper."
#1:  "No it isn't you old bird. You look like an old bird."

Taking into consideration that residents are often confused, it stands to reason that clashes occur, but what I found particularly juvenile was the name calling. Will we all regress? I've heard that older folk don't care about niceties anymore. Maybe everyone buries their frustrations for ninety years until the pressure cooker pops and real little monsters emerge. 

I'd better have my sketch pad ready.


  1. A seniors' residence might be the ideal place to unleash your inner Groucho since it's unlikely you or your fellows will remember such outbursts for long.

  2. That's a good point! Inner Groucho...I love it. There's a painting there for sure!!!


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