Getting old is definitely not for the faint of heart


In the early 70s, my Father went to Dr. Walter Gunby on Franklin Street in Cambridge. One day, while waiting for Dad, I walked up to the receptionist, Mrs. Gunby, the Doc’s wife: in the 70s a physician’s office, usually meant a husband/wife team. The wife was the receptionist, made appointments, did the billing, answered the phone and did whatever else was needed.

I saw a cartoon taped on her window showing a doctor, the cartoonist let me know that the man was a doctor because he was wearing a stethoscope around his neck. He was talking to this wizened old man sitting up on the table and the caption was the physician saying “growing old isn’t for sissies.” I am learning first hand that this is true.

Mom and Dad lived and worked in Baltimore while I grew up living and going to school in Cambridge. After I was grown I liked to shop in “downtown Baltimore.”

I would go home to Mom and Dad’s in Baltimore where Dad would drop me off in downtown Baltimore. Until one day when I asked Dad to drop me off and Dad said he didn’t drive downtown any more.

I asked why and he explained that because his reflexes were not as good as they used to be, he had stopped driving in the city. It was a rude awakening to think of my father as old.

Now I understand how smart my Dad was to realize his own limitations and set his own limits. No wonder he decided that getting old isn’t for sissies. It must have taken a lot of determination to give up driving in the city.

I wish I had that cartoon. Of course, I did have it and now I can’t find it. I undoubtedly put it in a special place where it would be safe and I could find it. Of course now I need someone to tell me where that special place was/is, then when I find it, I will frame it for my wall.

Editor’s note: Jackie Jones Vickers writes from her desk at Pleasant Day Medical Adult Day Care at 2474 Cambridge Beltway in Cambridge. She worked with the Aging population for 10 years or so before opening Pleasant Day Medical Adult Day Care in the late 80s. Thirty years later Pleasant Day is thriving and serving the aging and disabled population at a campus designed and built for medical adult day care. You can reach Jackie at 410-228-0190.

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