by Vera Grant AMMM              Ireland           24.02.2023

I always liked my granny. Some of my sisters didn’t but that didn’t matter.  I did. She was called Rose, was born in 1883 and died in 1976 when I was 26 years old.

As a teenager I remember walking down the Antrim Road on a Saturday morning to help her with the housework.  In my bag I carried the clothes into which I would change for the cleaning.  I wore my good clothes, the raspberry coloured trousers which to me, were gorgeous and certainly caught the eye.

Those mornings always seemed to be bright and sunny though now on reflection I think that was how I felt sashaying down the Antrim Road.  Granny always had ready a cup of tea with some of her homemade soda bread and butter and her rhubarb jam.

I felt quite grown up sitting beside her in the kitchen, discussing what jobs needed doing.  Some days I didn’t even have to change my clothes as there was very little to do.  Maybe my granny just liked me coming to have a chat and she always gave me one shilling which then was worth twelve pennies.  It was a small silver coin and pocketed quickly in case she felt I hadn’t done enough to earn it.  She never commented.

My granny came to mind when I was reading a recent blog on celebrating young people and I thought of her and the richness and wisdom she shared.  This was highlighted after my “away” weekend to be pampered, according to my daughter.  She insisted we were going, not only to experience the beautiful hotel and the magnificent grounds, but we were going to be actively involved in using the Spa, having a swim, and treating ourselves to some body / facial massages.

We did all of that, but the pool area was swarming with beautiful young bodies, shiny, smooth and tanned in spite of it being Winter, and a lot of exposed flesh.  We had on our swimsuits and felt very much ‘the older generation’ and that included my daughter whose 40th birthday is looming.  We had a lovely time but it was nice to get home and feel comfortable in my own skin and surroundings.

I thought about all that had happened over the weekend and realise that I enjoy and like the company of older people.  In fact I realised that I surround myself with them.  We play bridge together and I regularly go to visit a number of neighbours who are in their late 80s and live alone.  I am always offered a cup of tea and, whilst not homemade soda bread and jam, it can be scones, apple tart or even an all-time favourite, dark chocolate digestive biscuits.

Being with them we share stories, we laugh and are always amazed at how much we have in common.  We often share the same viewpoint on the current newsworthy topics.  When leaving they always say, ’now, won’t you come back again soon?’

Perhaps to them at 72 I am young, well younger than they are.  If, according to recent research, ‘multigenerational friendships help maintain a youthful outlook’, I hope my granny felt that when I visited her.   I know when I leave my older friends I feel thankful, joyful and forever young.