Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?
When The Beatles released that tune on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, I was 26 years old and age 64 was so far off in the future to me that I couldn’t imagine what it would be like.
Today, 38 years later, I am 64 and I am still working on imagining what it’s like to be that old.
From one point of view, the time has gone by in flash. When I close my eyes, I can be that young woman in my mind. I see myself in our living room in Houston, Texas, where my then-husband and I played the Sgt. Pepper album, when it was new, again and again with friends, mixing it up with Alice’s Restaurant which was released about the same time. The year was 1967, and the world was a different place:
Teens and 20-somethings were converging on San Francisco where Flower Power and the Summer of Love were in vogue. Tim Leary was exhorting us to “Tune in, turn on and drop out,” and anything British was all the rage in the U.S.
People were reading Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby, Our Crowd by Stephen Birmingham and William Styron’s The Confessions of Nat Turner. At the movies, we were watching Bonnie and Clyde, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night.
Mickey Mantle hit his 500th career home run. Peggy Fleming won the world figure skating championship in Vienna. Billy Jean King won just about every tennis competition in the world open to women. And Twiggy was the model for every young girl to emulate.
Lyndon Johnson was president. His wife, Lady Bird, was busy beautifying highways. Israel captured the city of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War. Che Guevara was killed. Muhammad Ali refused induction into the U.S. Army. The anti-Vietnam war movement was coming to a head and we didn't yet know the awful events we would witness the following year.
I can remember it like yesterday and yet, so much has happened in between - too much to synopsize. My timeline will have to suffice.
It was about a year ago that I began this blog in earnest, searching then and still for what it’s really like to get older. I have a somewhat better idea of that now (though not nearly enough) through these daily postings which have become the narrative thread of my days – and through the conversations that have resulted with those of you who have so kindly accompanied me on this continuing quest.
There is nothing I look forward to more right now than to blow out the 64 candles today and keep up the pursuit.
“It’s frighteningly important for a writer to be his age, not to be younger or older than he is.”
- - W.H. Auden in a Paris Review interview, 1972 (at age 64)
I believe that's "frighteningly important" for all of us.