Overheard: I Know How Old An Old Person Is, According To The Neighbor Girls

I believe the children are our future… let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.

With a hat tip to Whitney Houston, here’s a short conversation I overheard when the neighbor girls next door were playing outside with their cousins and friends.

In total there were seven girls, ages 6 to 12.  They are creative girls, boisterous, and oh. so. funny. when they get together.

Girl #1: I know. Let’s play theater up on the deck.

Many voices, shouting at the same time: Yes! *yay*

[Sound of small feet running all over wooden deck as they drag metal furniture around on it.]

Girl #1: I’ll play the sister!

Many voices, talking over each other: I’ll be {indistinct words}. *blah, blah, blah* No me… I wanna be {indistinct words}. *blah, blah, blah*

Girl #1: OK. Now we need someone to play the old person.  

[Complete silence. Nary a peep. Total quiet.]

Girl #2: I’ll be the old person.

Many voices, filled with concern: Are you sure? Really? You want to do that! 

Girl #2: Yes, I’ll do it.

Girl #1: How old will you be?

Girl #2: I’ll be… (dramatic pause)… seventeen.

Many voices, in unison: *gasp* That old? {indistinct jibber-jabber} Oh my!

And that, my gentle readers, is all I heard because the girls started talking quietly among themselves, presumably to prepare for their big performance.  Of an unnamed show that I can confirm has at least one sister– and an old person in it.

Break a leg, girls. Happy Friday, everyone. 😊

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Pleasantly crazy. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Wordy.

121 thoughts on “Overheard: I Know How Old An Old Person Is, According To The Neighbor Girls”

  1. 17, sigh. I told a recruiter the other day I became interested in information technology around 1990 and she replied “I hadn’t been born yet.” I recalled being impressed she didn’t preface her statement with the word ”like” before feeling old.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrew, great *like* story about *like* you know old people! Not that you’re one of them, of course. It’s weird to get older and it hits you at the oddest moments.

      Like

  2. I learned the truth at seventeen…

    I am choosing to believe she said seventy. My eyes are getting old and I’m almost sure that Ally wrote seventy too. Reality is flexible.

    You know, I don’t remember ever thinking that 18 or 20 or whatever was old. I thought that people in their 20s were grown up and that impressed me. I knew, of course, to not trust anyone over 30 and old was people at least my parents’ age, 42 and older.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Zazzy, I’d forgotten that song. Good memory you have there.

      I remember, for sure, that as an elementary school girl I thought the older girls in high school were so cool and refined and old! Definitely old. So overhearing this conversation resonated with me and took me back in time. It made me laugh out loud.

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  3. So my first experience with overhearing similar age-related conversations among those younger than myself came at my not-so-old-age of 19. Standing in the checkout line at the local K-mart one summer’s day, a group of 14 year olds were talking and giggling. Then the infamous line was spoken: “Did you know that Paul McCartney was in a band before ‘Wings’?” the others hushed and then all joined in with a unison, “No way!”
    This has become a family joke between my brother and myself – reminding us age really is relative. (ummm, there’s a subtle pun in there, get it?)
    😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. laura, that is a perfectly hilarious story. What a thing to overhear! I love it. I can see how it’s become an inside joke between you and your relative. You just never know what you might hear when you listen in, do you?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh to even be 17 again! Sometimes it seems so long ago. And sometimes it seems like yesterday. It seems nowadays that everyone is younger than me! Thank goodness for grandkids to keep me moving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beth, I liked being 17 as I recall, but of course knowing what I know now I wouldn’t want to be that age again. I find the opposite from you, almost everyone I encounter is older than I am– either literally by age or figuratively by old-fashioned thinking. 🙄

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      1. Elderly is at least 90! There is a 90-year-old in my walking group. She is spry and her synapses snap better than many millennials. I would never call her elderly. I think of it more as an overall physical state than an age.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This fits right in with a Dr. Seuss book I’ve been reading: You’re Only Old Once (and other myths).

    All my teachers looked old, and they were probably only 35 – 40. Your keen observations have given me a chuckle this morning, Ally. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marian, I need to read that Dr. Seuss book. I never have, but its theme appeals to me.

      Most of my teachers were of the same age as yours, but a few of them were ancient by all standards. I swear there were cobwebs on the corners of their glasses. 🤓

      Liked by 1 person

                1. Ah-ha! Thanks for the link. It does explain how this book came to be, but I cannot believe this book was on the NYT Bestseller List. Not sure what to make of that fact.

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                  1. Two words ~> name recognition. Some books sell due to the author’s name, not the book’s content. But I think he was also poking fun at all the poking and prodding we are subjected to these days due to “advances” in medicine. 🙄

                    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hahahahaha! This is so sweet, so funny & yet so sad! Imagine if you have volunteered to play the old person? It would have been fun to offer just to ask the question, how old do you think I am?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lynn, this conversation was sweetness in its purest form. These girls are often up to something when they get together. Now that you mention it, it would have been fun to ask them how old they think I am. Of course, am I ready for the answer? 😳

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Which brings to my mind the memory of when my son and his friend were around 4 and asked me how old I was – I said “28” to which they replied “how did you get so old?!” I told them I worked hard.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Janet, it’s interesting how certain ages mean so much to one person and nothing to the next one. I thought 35 would be so old, but you know what? It wasn’t. I liked being 17 it was the one year during my teen years when things went my way– or at least I remember it that way.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Margaret, I wonder about the play too. I couldn’t hear them anymore after the casting was over, and there was no way for me to see them from where I was. Whatever they did after this conversation is a mystery to me. Maybe like the play? 😉

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  8. Oh man. What must they think of people our ages? Yesterday my daughter went to play with the two little girls who moved in two doors down. I’ve met the grandma who has lived there for a while. When I came to retrieve my daughter, I met the mom: young, blonde, gorgeous, hipster. I immediately wondered what she must think of me: older probably by 15 years, decidedly unfashionable, perma-frizzy hair, and nowhere near as pretty. My inadequacy made me cut the conversation short with, “Well, I’m sure I’ll see you again.” That lady and I will not be BFFs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Betsy, I hadn’t thought of the mom angle on this conversation, but you’ve got a point. I wonder how old the girls’ mothers are? I bet that you didn’t look as old and disheveled as you think you did, but I take your point. Age differences can make for some awkward situations, not on purpose, just because of the different age-appropriate priorities.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, I’d forgotten about Seventeen magazine. It was such an important step toward adulthood in my world. We went from American Girl magazine to Seventeen to Glamor magazine. That was how we got our fashion news back then.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. This is a fun observance by you Ally. And I remember when teens thought 30 was old (“don’t trust anyone over 30”), so I wonder what these girls would think of Clint Eastwood’s “get off my lawn” character? Probably they would deem him ancient.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. linda, we have a real life old coot living down the street from us. I think he’s ancient, in body and mind, so I cannot even begin to think how the girls would describe him. Age is relative, for all of us, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s very true, the older we get. I know that I cringe when I am filling out a form and I have to scroll endlessly to get to my age category. Or a news story mentions elderly to describe people in their 60s and I have seen comments on social media when a reporter does that and people are angry, as am I. It gives me cause to pause Ally.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, I hear you. I hadn’t thought about how much time I waste scrolling down a page merely to check the box with my age in it. I do wonder about news reporters who toss the term ‘elderly’ around without stopping to define the term. It’s often inaccurate and mean-spirited.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. When I was in school, our style book termed “elderly” at 80 and above. They also discouraged using the phrase “dead bodies” which is redundant and I see/hear it used all the time. I should have kept that style book – it might have rivaled your telephone etiquette post.

            Liked by 1 person

  10. That was funny. I remember a 17 year old “co-op” student who did a work term with us, saying that her mother was “old”. So I asked her how old she was and she said 37. I was 39 at the time. I also remember listening to Prince’s Party like it’s 1999 song when it was released back in 1982, and thinking, the year 2000 was just too far away to even contemplate.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. thehomeplaceweb, I remember thinking the same thing about that Prince song. It seemed implausible that we’d be living in any year that started with 2—. Of course these girls weren’t born until after the turn of the century. Oh dear, now I feel really old!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Marty, yes, I was thinking the same thing as a kid. Then I thought at 35 I’d have it figured out, but alas that didn’t happen. Now I’ve given up on figuring it all out, and think, instead, about how young I used to be.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. When I was in kindergarten, they had one of the sixth graders come pick up our “milk order” for the class and take it down to the cafeteria. I remember thinking, “Man, he’s really big and old!” And of course, now I look at a sixth grader and think they look like they belong in preschool. I hate playing the old person in real life…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow – Whitney sure had that amazing voice and rocked this song!
    Loved your quick story to remind us that “old” does change.
    And when I was 13 or 14 – someone at my mother’s work had a heart attack and he was okay – but I recall them saying he was only 25….
    and I was like “what?”
    And later of course I learned 25 is super
    Young for a heart attack –
    But it felt old at the time

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Prior…, I’m sure at 13 I’d have thought 25 was old enough to have a heart attack, too. Of course, now I’m horrified to think of that happening to someone so young. Old is what you think it is, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. My granddaughter, aged seven, wanted to play Barbie dolls once. She said to me “I’ll be the popular Barbie that everyone likes and you can be the unpopular Barbie that everyone hates.” What fun!

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  14. Delightful, as always. Took me awhile to track this down Ally, but here’s a list I used in a post on aging; I got it from a HuffPost article on exactly this topic. (A copy and paste here)

    For 5-year-olds, old age begins at 13.
    For 13-year-olds, old age begins at 30.
    For 30-year-olds, old age begins at 50.
    For 50-year-olds, old age begins at 75.
    For 75-year-olds, never. And go away.

    Like

  15. I distinctly remember standing outside a yellow school bus waiting as the students who rode that bus from the high school to our elementary school got off to go get in their own yellow school buses. They were absolutely MYTHICAL in my 8 year old imagination.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Katie, MYTHICAL is so true. I used to have to walk by the high school on my way home from elementary school and those girls where COOL, so I get how 17 would seem old to these neighbor girls.

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  16. Haha! This reminds me of some of my writing students when they decide on the ages of their characters. 17 is actually a very popular age for little kids to pick, and they do consider it to be “old” as if that is the age where everything truly becomes important.

    Like

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