Tag Archives: singing elders

Yesterday When I Was Young ….

Yesterday when I was young
The taste of life was sweet like rain upon my tongue,
I teased at life as if it were a foolish game
The way an evening breeze would tease a candle flame,
The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned

I have just been listening to the local radio and they have played Charles Aznavour singing  “Yesterday when I was young”.  Charles Aznavour has always been a favourite and I am happy to listen to him at any time, so I started thinking about when I was young.

The words of this song don’t really apply to me; in fact, I think when he wrote this song he must have been feeling his age and counting all the things he had missed.  See what you think by listening here.

As I have said before, I don’t think I have missed out on anything in my long life, and I have plenty of happy, happy memories.  So I prefer to listen to Dean Martin who sung  Memories are made of this in 1945, and it just keeps keeping on.

But Aznavour plays a large part in my memories.  I remember seeing him first at The Royal Albert Hall in London in 1967.  This was a particular birthday treat for me.  Then in the 70s, we saw him in Paris.  Lovely memories of a fantastic singer.

So –  Yesterday When I Was Young I married my handsome young Scotsman, and after a few years had my first child, a daughter

Cate with Nana

Proud Nana with the first grandchild

Two years later I had a son.  So now two children to love.

Cate and David

Big sister and her brother

The taste of life was sweet like rain upon my tongueI was a very contented young mother, loving watching them grow and learn.

Children feed goat

Spain 1967

The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned – we moved from Scotland to New Zealand and then to Montreal.  My dreams came true.  My children thrived wherever we dropped them (figuratively of course).

Yesterday the moon was blue and every crazy day brought something new to do. We decided to move back to New Zealand to live life on the beach but it didn’t last for long as we moved south to Wellington.

every crazy day brought something new to donew city, new home, new friends. Everybody settled in and we loved our life here.

Then children moved on.  They left home and made their own way in the world. They both married and subsequently had their own children.


Family dynamics changed.  And so much pain my dazzled eyes refused to see.  Mother died followed shortly thereafter by my dashing (now not-so) young Scotsman and life moved on.

With Mother shortly before she died

And then some years later my darling, energetic, supportive 95-year-old father died.  Didn’t see him often as we lived a world apart, but he was always there for his daughters.

Yesterday the moon was blueand I have so many lovely memories of family and friends around the world.  There are only a couple of changes I might make, but one cannot bring back those who have passed on.  So The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I plannedare being replaced by new dreams and plans as I now move into a new phase of my life alone but never lonely.

Where’s the fun?


I have been looking back over the last few blogs and see that they are serious.  When I started on this blogging journey I wanted to share things with you that I had learned over my life, but also wanted to make it fun.

While we can’t make racism or litter humorous, there are many other things I can write about with a funny twist.

How about the dreaded dentist? Ambrose Bierce(1842-1913) got it right when he said :

Dentist:  a prestidigitator who, putting metal into your mouth, pulls coin out of your pocket.

Well along with many people I know, the dentist is without a doubt my least favorite person.  He may be (and in my case is) an absolutely charming fellow out of his surgery, but once he dons his whites and mask he becomes an absolute monster.

DentistMine thinks he is funny.  ” Take a seat” he says like I am in any state to think straight or do anything but sit down.  “Now we’ll just give you a shot and then all will be well” Well, I could have used the shot when I walked into the surgery waiting room 20 minutes ago.  And anyway who is this “we”.  I look around and only he is there.  But wait, then into view comes this gorgeous, svelte blond nurse(?).  She looks as if she should be in the movies not masquerading as a nurse/dental assistant.  Luckily she isn’t some gorgeous hunk.

And I am sitting with over sized lips, mouth wide open and he decides to put an instrument in my poor mouth.  At this point I think of Johnny Carson and his quip ‘Happiness is your dentist telling you it wont hurt and then getting his hand caught in the drill”.

OK I am still wishing hurt to him as well as to me.  And for those of you too young to have missed Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show – his was the not to be missed show for all of us whatever our age.  The show ran for 30 years from 1962 until  his retirement in 1992.  Click here to see Johnny Carson with Jim Carey.

I have the choice of listening to music or watching something on television while he works.  He tells me it will distract me from what he is doing.  How ominous is that?  Why do I need distraction?  What is he about to do?

Anyway I opt for music as the sight of 30 strong young men running around chasing a rugby ball doesn’t do anything to distract me (the rugby was his choice and I suspect he was watching it while keeping me waiting for 20 minutes).  So the lovely Lucy – yes he did introduce us – put on her favorite radio program.  Again that is nothing that will distract me; she’s young so her taste is different to mine.  I manage to tell them, over sized lips, numb tongue and all, that I would prefer something a little less rowdy.

OK so now we are ready for said monster to look into my mouth.  And then I get a look at his tools – now I really am in a torture chamber.  Why would anybody with a kind heart want to inflict the pain that these tools can bring?  I revise my opinion of the dentist.  He certainly is not a kind and caring man after all.

Having endured several minutes of his huge hands in my mouth, poking around, looking for holes – does he think he is a gold prospector – and finding none, he  says in a falsely hearty voice ‘You’re done.  See you in six months.  But before you go make an appointment with the hygienist”  See he can’t just let you walk out of his surgery happy that he found nothing wrong.

Toothbrush and tooth

So I walk out into the sunshine knowing I am safe from the monster and his tools for the next six months.  But wait; oh no; he and his lovely wife (Lucy the nurse) will be at the dinner party I am invited to that night.  Shall I smile at him and greet him like a friend or as the hidden ogre that I know him to be?  Guess I shall just play it by ear.

Today’s quote has really nothing to do with the dentist but here it is

When you get into a tight place and it seems you can’t go on, hold on, for that’s just the place and the time that the tide will turn.
Harriet Beacher Stowe 1811-1896, American Writer.

Young at Heart

On the subject of being young at heart, have you heard of the group of elders who form the chorus Young at Heart?  If like me, you have heard of them and seen the movie then you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t seen or heard of them, beg, borrow or buy a copy of their DVD.  It is heartwarming and certainly uplifting.  See the trailer here.

This very active ‘gang of seniors’ has taken the world by storm.  They have traveled the world and were even in New Zealand recently although unfortunately, I was unable to get a ticket to see them.

They are so enthusiastic and full of life.  Fred (see the photo here) who was dependent on oxygen to get through his days and had difficulty moving around so spent most of his time in a wheelchair,  got totally into the spirit of the group.

“The current performers in Young@Heart range in age from 73 to 89. There are some with prior professional theater or music experience, others who have performed extensively on the amateur level, and some who never stepped onto a stage before turning eighty. None of the current performers of Y@H were part of the original group that formed in 1982, but they have kept alive the spirit of the early pioneers and continue to push the group into glorious new directions. So says Bob Cilman the man behind this amazing story.

You can meet some of the members of the chorus here

When Bob Cilman and Judith Sharpe organized the Young@Heart (Y@H) in 1982 all of the members lived in an elderly housing project in Northampton, MA called the Walter Salvo House.  Some had lived through both the First and Second World Wars but still felt young enough to enter into the spirit of this amazing adventure.  They will tell you that it has been an adventure.  Many have traveled the world and many of those say they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to travel if it hadn’t been for the chorus.So don’t say you can’t do something because of your age.  Life is an adventure.  Let’s all live it.

I am certainly inspired by these elders and am waiting to see what next awaits me on this journey.