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Greek-American Stories: Forget About it!

Aging has a lot of setbacks. But let’s talk about the good stuff, first. Aah, just a minute … let me remember one ‘good’ stuff. OK, let’s leave that for the moment. Being a good yiayia, I love taking my granddaughter, Alexandra, on my knee and telling her about when I was her age. I told her, “I remember getting excited over getting my first driver’s license and registering to vote for the first time and going to the high school prom with a really nice guy.” She looked at me and said, “At twenty three?” I looked at her. “You’re 23?”  “Yeah, yiayia. You came to my birthday!” I thought and thought. “I did?” Oh, yeah! She was right! “Then, get off my lap!”

I’ve learned not to get all excited when other drivers beep and yell at me. As long as no one’s lying across my hood, I ignore it all. But, I got a little concerned when I went to the cleaners to pick up my husband’s shirts. I paid and put away my change, carefully. Then, went to my car, started the engine before realizing I didn’t have the shirts – like I had Visitation Rights. Embarrassed, I told the owner, “Sorry! I went to make some room for them.” 

But, it was serious when, for a brief moment, I didn’t recognize that the man sitting in my living room was my husband. Worse, I introduce him as Mayor de Blasio. Maybe some kind of epidemic is spreading. For instance, I called my friend, Dottie. “Hi, Dots! It’s Kiki!” And, she said, “Kiki, Who?” I said, “You know! From 49th Street?” Silence. “Your mom and mine were good friends?” More silence. Guess I’ll call her next week. Getting back to the good stuff, I recall … aah, just a minute. Gee! There had to have been something good. Gimme a minute!

Then, there was the time when I had to take my cat, Sissy, to the vets for a checkup. She had an itch that was taken care of with a salve the vet prescribed. I left and suddenly I stopped. Where’s Sissy? I went back inside and she was in her cage looking at me as if saying, ‘remember me? Wait until I get a hold of your curtains.” She’s very expressive.

The phone rang just as I got inside the house. “Kiki? It’s Dottie!” I paused, looking up at the ceiling for a clue. “Dottie, who?”

I remember a ‘good stuff’ now. Once, I needed to use my age related amnesia to get out of a situation with the property tax clerk in my neighborhood. He’s known me for years, f’r heaven’s sake. So, I forgot the payment a few days. Big Deal! I don’t do that often. I greeted him like a long lost relative and then said, “is Eisenhower still president?” He paused and said, “Ahh, let’s forget about the late charges this time.”

Anyway, age awareness made me a little richer. That happened when I decided that some things are no longer practical anymore. Doing some house cleaning, I came across things that are no longer useful to me. It was kinda’ hard to do. But, even my grandkids weren’t interested in them. They’re riding flashy autos and staring into their cell phones. I decided it was time to sell my (a few tears) 10-speed bicycle, my collection of long playing (a long sigh!) records that included Hill Billy singer Zeke Manners  & his boys (who’s gotta be about 126 yrs. old by now), the moon rock I bought that everybody said was a fake, (I got twenty bucks for it, Ha, ha!), my Hoola Hoop, the green Frisbee, and at the bottom of the ‘baoulo’, was – (I really hated to give that up) my old Greek school alphabet book that had a hand written note inside the cover by the teacher, Kirio Moshos, that read, “are you sure you’re Greek?” Anyway, there is one modern invention I will never let go of – my hand calculator. I wish I had it in grammar school instead of the abacus I used. I use it when paying my bills, calculating someone’s age and the difference between my blood pressure when I last visited my doctor and this morning’s pressure. I sure got a heart-pounding scare when it had registered ‘0’, until I realized it was out of batteries. My advice to all of you is, don’t get all riled up at getting older. Remember the alternative!

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