17 Jan

Last week I read about the Red Hat Society, which sounds like just the kind of club I need to be in when I’m older. Or maybe now. I seem to be reading a lot of nostalgic literature recently, which makes me long for my wasted youth and at the same time makes me want to slap myself round the face with a wet sponge and shout ‘You’re only 30! Get livin’!’. Cos it’s true. It’s possible I need to climb more mountains and dance more, drink more wine and go on more daily adventures. Ever feel like you haven’t done enough yet? 

One of the silliest things about life is that by the time you retire and get to ‘enjoy’ your pension i.e. the money you have been saving and putting aside your entire working career – by that time, you’re really too old to enjoy it! This is not to insult the over-60’s, but sometimes [cue massive generalisation – sorry oldies!] they’re happy to take it easy, or stay home and play with the grandkids.  There’s so much I want to do now, but who has the money for it?!

This is why it’s comforting to know that there are clubs like the Red Hat Society waiting for me.  Where I won’t be knitting scarves, sitting around making cups of tea, shaking my fist at the telly or talking to my cats all day. You can bet your polka-dotted ass that when I retire, I’m going to buy an enormous red hat, dress like a crazy person every day of the week and party like it’s 2002 all over again.  You can count on it. 

by Jenny Joseph

With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Taken from the book
When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
Editd by Sandra Martz
Papier Mache Press–Watsonville, California 1987


One Response to “Purple”

  1. tals February 2, 2012 at 13:52 #

    for my mom’s 50th birthday, one of her friends gave her a framed copy of this poem, which sits prominently on a shelf in our living room. can’t wait to wear red hats and be batty with you one day 🙂

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