On Turning 64 –
The Beatles Were In Their 20s When They Recorded That Damn Song
While reading an article in New Yorker on Paul McCartney and a new documentary about the Beatles’ final concert in 1969 atop the Apple building, it occurred to me that I had finally, reluctantly, turned 64. You know, that song.
When I get older.
I say “reluctantly” only to emphasize that while I’m not yet old enough for Medicare and haven’t applied for Social Security, I’m reluctant that the better part of my life is behind me, along with the vitality (and healthy knees) to enjoy a game of softball or downhill skiing, and more time to write novels and plays. I miss having my three sons in their youth living with us so I can thrust them up on my shoulders, tell them bedtime stories, and make them laugh as I tickle their sweet spots. How quickly, truly, time passes. Of course, I prefer being 64 to the alternative and cherish what time I have left.
Will you still need me?
I am also grateful that at this age, I still have most of my hair, still get written valentines and birthday cards from my wife, still enjoy a glass or two of wine with dinner. And, since I’m usually tucked into bed with a book by 11 p.m., I don’t worry about being “locked out” of the house at a quarter to three in the morning. I also love having my wife, Kathy, who willingly stays with me after more than thirty-one years of marriage despite the facts that I sometimes snore, eat with my mouth open, talk too loud in public, and don’t recall everything she tells me. Nevertheless, she still feeds me although I do my share of the cooking.
Many years from now.
But, on the matter of time and getting older and reaching that particular age, I can hardly believe how quickly it arrived. I was just 22 and graduating Brooklyn College yesterday and knocking on Park Avenue doors searching for a job in the publishing industry. That’s how my mother had done it and it worked for her. She kept banging on the front door of Simon & Schuster and eventually, whether out of persistence or annoyance, they offered her a job as Schuster’s secretary, the Schuster — Max Lincoln Schuster — who danced with my grandmother at mom’s wedding. Mom also introduced Mr. Schuster to Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio in 1953 as she escorted the Yankee Clipper into her boss’ office. Now, when I need them most for my own flailing writing career, mom is gone (she lived to be 100) and the esteemed publishing firm has been gobbled up by Penguin Random House and has no idea who I am or, for that matter, who mom was.
Digging the weeds.
My wife doesn’t knit, sweaters or otherwise, but we do enjoy crackling wood in the fireplace and sometimes go for a ride on Sundays; even Mondays or Tuesdays since we’re both retired. We don’t have to mend any fuses in the house — we don’t actually depend on fuses anymore — but I am pretty handy flipping a switch on the electrical panel in the basement when we lose power. Kathy loves to work in our garden and often coerces me to prune a tree or transplant a Rhododendron bush when she needs help and I gladly comply.
We can rent a cottage.
Since we live on Cape Cod after thirty years on Long Island, we don’t need to rent a cottage or a beach house as we once did when we were vacationing here for the summer. We plan to rent a villa for an extended stay in southern France or on the Tuscany coast when travel allows. Fortunately, we don’t need to scrimp or save either and while there are no grandchildren as yet — no Veras, Chucks or Daves — we look forward to the day we can bounce them on our knees and tickle their sweet spots.
Indicate precisely what you mean to say.
While I’m not at all pleased to admit there are, alas, no years left between me and that whimsical song, I am relieved to have reached that age. My father, whom I hardly knew, died of a heart attack at 45 just prior to my third birthday. Except for a few nicks here and there, I’m relatively healthy, proud of our children, enjoy where we live, stay busy, write every day, meet new people and make friends. We cherish our sixteen-year-old Shih-poo, Jackson, who walks me twice a day and, despite health issues, is hanging in there — neither one of us wasting away.
Mine for evermore.
So, despite my limitations and lost youth, I take life day by day, cherish having my best friend at my side (the wife not the dog … well?), and encourage you to do the same. For when you get right down to it, life is just too short to complain about a number.
Or that damn song.
You may contact the author at michaelsolomowitz.com. His debut novel, BEHIND THE FOURTH WALL, will be published on 1.13.22.