I am a child of the 50's and 60's, being born in the early 40's.
Growing old has never been a looking-forward-to occupation. All my female elders looked 'so old' at 50, like my grandmother looked.
We were the generation that enjoyed rock 'n roll at its birth. Elvis, The Beatles, the Hippie phenomena with the peace 'explosion' at Haight Ashbury in San Francisco, Woodstock, and all the rest. I yearned to be involved, but missed being actively involved with the last two.
We owned a big, boxy motor home in the late 60's and I remember driving it and a 'youngster' drove by and flashed me the 'peace' sign. That was a monumental day. A mother with three little ones getting flashed the peace sign and an approval vote for driving the humongous motor home down the road.
Then reality set in. I was getting old. I didn't like how I looked. The hair was allowed to grow and got parted down the middle. I sought out books that allowed me to make clothing in the 'hippie' style. Loved those tops and shirts.
As I aged, resistance was a great part of my life.
Then Golden Girls became a program of 'Life'.
I watched and absolutely loved Bea Arthur's role. Here was a 'with-it', sassy, spoke-out-for-what-she-felt attitude woman and the took-no-prisoners type of character.
She had grey hair, was tall and dressed in flowing garments with those marvelous tall, suede desert boots. She had issues with her tiny mother and still loved her for all of it.
She showed me how to live gracefully and graciously with age.
Yes, I do know it was just a figment of a writer's imagination brought to life by an actress....but oh, how she brought it to life. With grace and graciousness and wonderful 'verve'. Maude was another of the shows she starred in. Same premise, but different situations and relationships and done equally as well as 'Golden Girls'.
I found my leader of sorts. Bea made all her roles 'believable', acted in and showed situations that were similar to real life and did it with the loveliness of age and wisdom. Giving us a road map to follow.
I may not have wisdom in abundance, but remembering this lovely woman with a great deal of sadness in the announcement this morning of her passing away.
Thank you Bea. You made 'getting old' something to attain with a generous dose of grace and love, but most importantly - humour.
I will miss you greatly.
Love and Huggs, Cait