Little Old People

There are little old people who live in little old houses.  All across the land they are.  Some do just fine the way they are-ageless with the time.  Some don’t exist beyond who they used to be.  Some barely exist at all.

There are little old people who live in little old houses.  Some of them you would never know were old.  Some of them passed into old before they were done being young.

There are little old people who live in little old houses.  Some have kids.  And some never did.

There are little old people who live in little old houses.  They raised their kids.  Worked their jobs.  Fought some wars.  Survived depressions.

There are little old people who live in little old houses.  After work they mowed their yards.  Fixed the broken windows.  Patched the roof and plumbed the leak.

There are little old people who live in little old houses.  Shopping was done at the local mart where names were known.  At home they grilled their steaks and drank a beer.

There are little old people who live in little old houses.  Out back or on the side they grew their gardens.   Went fishing on the lake.

There are little old people who live in little old houses.  They taught their kids as best they could: to swing bats, kick the ball, arithmetic, respect, hard work and ethics.

There are little old people who live in little old houses.   They fixed flat tires and changed old oil.  Painted dull walls and moved around the furniture.

 There are little old people who live in little old houses.

Some go unseen.

Day after day.

There are little old people who live in little old houses.   Some were pillars and some were not.  Some were close to perfect.  Others, not so much.

There are little old people who live in little old houses.  Alone they sit.  Waiting each day.   For a friendly face.  Or to just pass away.

There are little old people who live in little old houses.  Little old houses just up the street.  Or down the street.  Or right next door.

There are little old people who live in little old houses.  Their clothes are dirty.   They don’t bother.  Who cares?

There are little old people who live in little old houses.  They can’t do what they once did but they aren’t sure when they stopped being able.

There are little old people who live in little old houses.  We know they’re there.  You know it.  I know it.

There are little old people who live in little old houses.  Say hi.  Cut their grass.  Do they need bread?  Ask.

There are little old people who live in little old houses.  Tell them who you are.  Find out what they did.  Where they’ve been.  What they do.

There are little old people who live in little old houses.  If we’re lucky one day it will be us.

One of the little old people who live in little old houses.

And we’ll think about the  little old people who lived in little old houses.

And know how it feels.

46 thoughts on “Little Old People

  1. They go unseen, measurably because our society (at least in most Western cultures) does little to augment their visibility, to encourage us to keep them viable or to embrace them for their wisdom, their kindness and their contributions. People need to wake up and reacquaint themselves with the concept of humanity.

    Okay, Eric’s off his soapbox.

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    • I just see things every day that are disturbingly sad. It’s not even, in many situations, that people are going out of their way to be cruel. It’s that we forget about people when they are no longer part of the active world outside of their doors. It’s just…..sad.

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  2. Reminds me of my grandparents. They are in Philadelphia. I know the priest comes every week for them as they can no longer go themselves. Wish they were closer.

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    • It’s so difficult for long distance families. I will say I have been amazed by people who live across the country from their elderly parents who still help manage finances, or find services within the eldery’s community to help at home. Monitoring by phone and computer. And doing better than some people who live in the SAME HOME as the elderly.

      I love the churches who take service to those who can’t get out to the services. The soul needs tending too. 🙂

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  3. A reminder, nay a call out for all of us who are of able body and mind, not to ignore the elderly. Too often they live in their own small worlds, without friends, family or support. They are there as we are, yet go unnoticed. Excellent post Col. Bless you. xx

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    • Thank you Jen. I’ve seen some things recently that just make me extra sad/frustrated. And honestly, makes me think about the days ahead for those of us who aren’t there yet. We change it now, or it will be the same for us all.

      And sending another extra hug for you today!

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  4. Very, very good…true in many cases, I see it every day as I am one of those people. The difference, I walk six miles a day, work out in a gym three days a week, put a minimum of four hours a day into writing and another two into research. I have five books of poetry http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_11?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=ann%20johnson-murphree&sprefix=ANN+JOHNSON%2Caps%2C346 and I marvel at those my age who have given up, believing that age defines them. You have “hit the nail on the head” so to speak. Children forget these elderly parents, mine have me doing triathlons with them. I do the walking. They have forgotten how to dream, I have tried to start a writing club in my community as these people have a store house of memories I am in hopes that the Boomers will change this trend of age means a death sentence. This was a great post, your work is always enjoyable to read. Thank you for sharing. ajm

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  5. Colleen, soft smile, yes these little old people that we notice when we sit about living our lives. Seeing these folks at Mikey D’, or the grocery store, or the pharmacy, going thru the motions of life, exiting as best as possible, we look upon them and wonder, and I suspect some of us hope we one day become one. Maybe this post will change the perspective of how we look upon these little old people. Take care, Bill

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  6. This is it, Colleen. This is what you are about, as I see your fiber in every post, my friend. You are so right about community and life and the cycle of life.

    Hey WP, our Colleen deserves Freshly Pressed 2 on this one to teach some folks this lesson. Pretty please.

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  7. I cannot imagine not having anyone care about you, especially in old age. There are people without family: children or relatives, but the saddest stories of all are those who have children and grandchildren who have erased them already from their lives.
    What a reminder this is, Colleen.

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  8. an excellent post, colleen

    I am becoming one of these little old people – my wife dead, kids/grandkids seldom seen because of the distance that separates us, most of my male friends now dead

    my social circle is shrinking – my friends now, the widows of my male buddies

    only this morning, I got a text message from one of my oldest friends – who lost her husband to cancer a few months after I lost my wife to the same – telling me what a wonderful time she had had on a cruise trip to Norway with 3 female pals (all, like her, widows) and how awful it felt coming back home and being alone again. Yes, she has kids, and grandkids – but they live in different parts of the country.

    Gone are the days when extended families lived close enough to one-another to provide comfort and support to elderly/vulnerable members !

    P.S. on the off chance that any of colleen’s readers live anywhere near me (Perry Barr, Birmingham), don’t be put off by my avatar – I may be grey and balding, but I’ve still got my own set of teeth (o.k some of them are missing). Please feel free to pop by and cut my grass 😆

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    • Duncan you pulled my heart strings but kept me laughing. I would LOVE to know if anyone shows up to cut your grass!!!!! Personally I’d rather see them show up with some steaks to grill and if you enjoy such a thing…..how about taking Duncan a cold beer?

      We are too spread out from our families. I already feel that.

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  9. A wonderful call of attention… If they are elderly now, they are of a hardy generation. For instance, when dad fell on his face, not one complaint or a seeking of sympathy. When Old Man Jack caught a cold and I would offer to take him to the doc, he’d say, “Why the hell for?”

    I wonder what the next generations are/will be like. I wonder if they will have little old houses. I wonder what their country will be like. And I will be one of them… unless something happens first, that is.

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  10. I really liked this post, it resonated with me. Most of the time, I smile and wave. But sometimes on those days I stop to talk, either to people on the sidewalk downtown who are alone, at the library or in my apt. building, I am always glad I did. I am not sure why life makes us so ‘busy’ that we don’t stop more often… Thanks for this loving and kind reminder, Colleen!

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    • We have gotten too busy Robin. We are always rushed and hurried and checking things off. I am as guilty as anyone. I hope to take my own advice and slow down. ANd I’m sure that those you speak to are more grateful than you could know. 🙂

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  11. I met a little old man and his wife this last week. He is 87, and taking care of his wife, who is in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s. What a hoot he was. He told us many stories, one was that his birth certificate said he was born “somewhere near the Ohio post office”. Funny guy, and his wife seemed like a sweetie.

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    • 🙂 My husband has spent the last couple of weeks meeting a bunch of stay at home people. He’s hearing the same kind of stories. But this story, “somewhere near…” is precious. 🙂

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