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The Mortality Club

GROWING OLD by Gordon Nimmo

Gordon Nimmo, a New Zealander whom I met while taking a cruise up the Danube, told this about his life. "I had to laugh when, five years ago, one of our granddaughters' friends at school said to me -- ( she was 5 at the time ) -- What is wrong with your
face ?? -- I said, I don't really know, -- has it got a red mark or
something ?? -- She said no, -- Its got cracks all over it !!-- Oh dear Oh
dear. That prompted me to write a story about how it feels to grow old."


A few years ago, one of my Grandchildren innocently asked me what it was like to be old, and due to the fact that I had not, at that stage considered myself to be elderly in any way, I had some difficulty in answering the question. To say it was good, or not so good did not seem to me to be an adequate answer, and since then I have given considerable thought as to what would be more suitable and to the point.

The way I see it, growing old can be reasonably well compared with a situation where on one side of a street stands a line of people of varying ages from young to old, and on the other side, a street of houses with the same variations in age. The young people are in the newer houses and the old folk in the older ones. -

If I had one of my children or grandchildren standing on each side of me, my house would be the old one in between two more modern dwellings, and as I grow older, so the condition of the dwelling both inside and out, deteriorates. For example, the paintwork may crack and fade, in my case, the thatch on the roof has disappeared, some of the doors and floors may creak a bit, the plumbing may start to play up, some of the appliances may falter in some way and even the electrical wiring may lose the odd connection !

But gazing out of the front window of this house is a young person, with all the ambitions, beliefs, desires and commitments we should expect a younger person to have.
This must be my soul, and my body is it’s residence until the house deteriorates, or is damaged in some way to a stage where it is no longer a suitable place to live.
When that time comes, my soul moves on, and the house is left empty to further deteriorate until it finally decays away altogether, or in my case, it will be burnt down and the debris cleared away for another dwelling to be built in it’s place to house a new occupant.

I am unsure what happens to my soul after it moves out, but I believe that it eventually finds another home and moves in to live another full life as I have already done. Some of my lifetime experiences may even go with it, and perhaps this is the reason some people encounter unexplained intuitions and phobias in their lives, but hopefully the experiences can be of some value the next time around.

My advice then, to younger persons, is to not allow the condition of the dwelling to influence their analysis regarding the elderly, but rather look hard for the occupier,, who may well be of a similar disposition to themselves, but with the added advantage of many years of life’s experiences to draw on.

The house may look old, but it’s occupant may still have much to offer !
This will be my answer next time !

Gordon Nimmo.
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