Thursday, January 17, 2013

Three Women in Their 90's

I was going to write about a woman in her 90s today.  I don't know the woman.  I do know her daughter in law, not well, but I do know her. 

Today, these things happened here in the United States.

1.  Betty White turned 91.
2.  Dear Abby, 94, died.
3.  My acquaintance went to DSS to apply for Medicaid for her mother in law.  The mother in law had refused to make plans for long term care, to the despair of her children. Last month, the mother in law fell and now needs 24 hour care, at least for the next few weeks. The lack of planning has turned into a family nightmare and my acquaintance bears the brunt of it.

In a way, these stories all have something in common.

Betty White:  she is one of the most beloved American actresses.  She has been in show business for over 70 years, and I have loved her since the 1960's.  My first memories of her were her starring on the game show Password, hosted by a man, Allen Ludden.

Betty ended up marrying her host, who died too young. Betty never remarried.

So many of us baby boomers remember Betty White as Sue Ann Nivens on the Mary Tyler Moore show.
And, there was Betty White's classic "Muffin" sketch on Saturday Night Live just a couple of years ago.  I saw it, and it was so funny.  I don't dare post it on this PG blog.  Even today, at 91, Betty White still appears on TV and has her own TV series.  She is incredible, and I love her.  She is what all of us dream for if we make it into our 90's.

But not all age 90 stories end well.

On this happy Betty White birthday, we also received news that "Dear Abby", Pauline Phillips, had died, at the age of 94.   

Phillips gave up her column of many years in 2002, due to Alzheimer's.   It is now written by her daughter.  Alzhemier's is everybody's nightmare, no matter where in the world we live. Let us remember Dear Abby for what she accomplished, not how she died.

To young people, I can't quite explain just how important the advice columnist Dear Abby was in our lives back in the 60's.   The letters people wrote her, and her responses, were classics. 

There was no Internet back then, no texting, no Facebook.  How quaint, to write a letter to someone you didn't know, for advice.  But millions of people did it, and lived by that advice.

And finally, there's the mother in law of my acquaintance.  She wanted to be independent.  But she would not work with her children.  She didn't want to face what might eventually happen.


So many of us baby boomers today celebrate with Betty White, mourn with the family and fans of Pauline Phillips, and try to be the best caretakers we can be to our elderly family members.  We can wish for the 90's of Betty White but sometimes we end up with the 90's of Dear Abby - or, my acquaintance's mother. 


Do you have memories of Betty White and Dear Abby?  Or find yourselves a caregiver to elderly parents?


2 comments:

  1. I enjoyed your post...I too wrote about Dear Abby today. What a gift she was to millions of us! Betty White...one of my favorites for her spirit and sheer energy. She is a role model for all of us. And as for you friend's mother...sadly too often things happen that way. Three women...three diffferent impacts. Makes me wonder what ours will be like...

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  2. I do hope I age as graceful as Betty White.

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