At some point in the dim and distant, when my mum was a mere 70 years old or so, she bought a pair of purple corduroy trousers and I sent her this poem by Jenny Joseph.
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
When I was visiting my sister last weekend she’d been sorting out some papers and had come across the next two instalments written by our own dear mum (now 89). The first as a response to my sending her the poem and the second, I’m not sure I’d seen before, was written perhaps a decade later.
When someone has Alzheimer’s disease it’s easy to forget the person you are losing and these two poems helped us remember.
The Purple Age – by E.S.Fletcher
Now I am old I love wearing purple
And red and blue and green
But I will never be seen
As old people should
In BLACK -Ugh!
I never wear red
Upon my head
But I often wear socks
Which annoys one daughter
She don’t think I oughter.
I never spit
But I do say shit
When some stupid twit
Does something daft when I’m driving.
I like to laugh and have some fun
With people much younger than me
Most folk of my age
Have reached a stage when they rely on a stick
Or a zimmer.
I suppose one day I’ll be the same
And be a bit lame
And have to admit
To my VERY old age.
Now I Am Very Old – By E.S Fletcher
Now I am very old I sit here in my chair
And think of all the places I have been
And wish that I was there.
I think of all the folks I’ve known
And dear ones passed away.
Oh Well! That was another day.
There is no doubt that I have changed
Gone are those golden curls.
My face is wrinkled – sad to say
Despite those creams I tried.
Fashions change though not for me
I daren’t even show a knee.
Christmas time will soon be here
And that should bring some cheer
Though cards get less each year.
All the family will arrive, four
Generations now I’m told,
The youngest one just six weeks old.
I love the little ones they are such fun
Just a pity I can’t run.
They don’t mind that I am old
Though one is sure to say
“How old are you Gran”?
To which I shall reply…
I’m NINETY NINE today.
For any further instalments please consult a medium.