Some thoughts on my 80th birthday
By Arthur Wenner
27-Year Resident of La JollaTwo months ago, I looked in the mirror and saw an old man. Me? Old? Yes, me. Change that to “older.” The truth is that on June 22, I will be 80 years old.
But looking in the mirror came as a huge shock. I’m the supposedly energetic young guy of almost legendary account. I was a Depression baby. Economic times were tough when I arrived.
It is possible that my parents took one look at me and became really depressed? Their son was sickly, almost died, and recovered only after being given a middle name in memory of a relative who had lived a very long life. My parents had little money in 1934, joked that they were so poor that they couldn’t afford to give me a middle name; thus the addition of the name of the deceased relative, later on.
Exposing a mythLet’s disprove one myth. You are not as young as you feel. You are as old as you feel. However, I prefer the term “mature adult” to “senior citizen.” Mature adults most often develop aches and pains, have not just one physician, but a variety of specialists; the accompanying prescriptions dispensed by the doctors can become numerous.
And thank the powers that be for medical research that has made living more comfortable for we mature adults. Visits with friends invariably lead to conversations that include organ recitals; how’s your heart, what about your kidney, did they remove your gall bladder?
There are a variety of aging hints that are more subtle. One day I seemed to zip up or down stairways with almost wild abandon; suddenly a railing at the stairs makes me feel far more steady. Jogging becomes laborious, and fast walking is now more tiring than just a year or two ago.
Other hints of changeOne’s eyes are now bigger than one’s stomach, and for many of us, our height is shrinking. For years I blamed pants manufacturers in Third World countries for a lack of standardization of length; I stood 5 feet 11 and ¾ inches tall, but pants bought with the appropriate length had to be shortened with every purchase. Only recently was it determined that I now stand 5 feet 8 and 1/2 inches tall. The old hit song refrain “ain’t no reason for short people” was suddenly ringing in my ears. At this rate of speed, I may disappear. My apology to all those pant manufacturers I had defamed.
Lifestyle modificationIt seems to me that mature adults must learn to grow old gracefully.
We ought to change our pace of life. Physical activity that was once a snap may now be stressful, if not impossible.
Some elderly people lose patience with other folks or situations. When in a long check-out line at the market, movie theaters, and banks, I may become irritable if the line doesn’t move quickly. This is especially true at my post office branch. As a long line keeps growing, two of the three or four postal clerks suddenly depart; it’s time for a break or for lunch. I try to explain that I’m aging fast, and don’t have extra time to stand in line. After all, I’m living in the fourth-quarter of the game. Grocery market cashiers belong to the same club.
All is not negative as we age; there are benefits. Total strangers now address me as “sir.” Doors are held open to allow me to enter or leave a building. Check-out assistants at super markets offer carry-out help. That’s appreciated, until it occurs to me that I have only one item in a small bag.
Rewarding activities keep me busy, like the 19 years I’ve been a volunteer at a local hospital. But treasured friends and family have begun to disappear … forever.
Thanks to allMy longevity is a tribute to my parents in my formative years, a loving wife of over 50 years and caring children, grandchildren and sons-in-law who complete my life. There are times of sadness, but we move on.
At the time of my birth, the aging tables suggested I’d live until approximately age 60. I say “thank you” every day for this long life.
It doesn’t matter that when I was conceived, human parts apparently were at a premium, so I’ve been grateful for the chicken arms and legs I received.
Yes, I’m an octogenarian, and grateful for all the years that have gotten me to this milestone. And to everyone I say, “Enjoy the gift of life.”
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR JUNE 19, 2014
How did we ever come to spend
millions for a lifeguard tower?If everyone handled their finances the way our city council handles San Diego’s projects we would all be bankrupt. To my way of thinking, spending $3.8 million for a lifeguard station and storage unit is laughable. I figure it costs at least $1,500 per square foot. We now have our own Palace of Versailles right here in La Jolla Shores!
Now I read that the window glass has a glare that obscures the lifeguards’ view and that the glass must be replaced. Certainly we, the taxpayers, are not liable for the added expense. After all, what kind of contract did the city have with the contractor? Open-ended?
As far as I know no one has been disciplined for this debacle. Why?
Judy MayerLa Jolla
Artist has smart fun with pothole projectOn
The Washington Postwebsite I came across an online video story at https://bit.ly/chicagopotholes by Martha Irvine of the Associated Press about a mosaic artist who is filling the potholes in Chicago with beautiful mosaic works. The artist is Jim Bachor and he has done seven potholes, acknowledging that there are “hundreds of thousands” left. The city seems to be allowing it. Might be an idea for our “holes” — pot and otherwise (broken sidewalks).
Rita AlanisLa Jolla
Bus stop sidewalk cleaned!I see that the area around the bus stop on Pearl Street in front of Jack in the Box has been swabbed — not exactly pristine, but it’s an improvement! On behalf of the transit patrons and La Jollans, thanks to
La Jolla Light’sTarnishing Our Jewel efforts.
John BurnsLa Jolla
Learn how your taxes are being diverted from public schoolsPowerful special interest groups want to keep schools’ share of local property taxes FOREVER. The governor says this is in response to “feedback.” From whom? Powerful special interest groups, NOT schoolchildren who continue to pay for the mistakes of Sacramento.
Currently nearly $7 billion every year is diverted and this number is growing every year. You can visit
yes4ed.organd click the tab “How This Affects Your Schools” to see what is happening in San Diego. The news is not good for our children or our county.
Please join me in asking Gov. Jerry Brown to support (and the legislature to let us vote on) whether schools should have the same protections that cities, counties and special districts received in Prop 1A in 2004. Without transparency and accountability, we will never be able to get more resources to schools and rise above the bottom in the nation.
A letter and a phone call from you will make a difference and give children a voice. Go to
Yes4Ed.organd speak out.
Monica SimpsonLa Jolla
Leave the parade name as it isHoward Singer of the San Diego County Diversity and Inclusiveness Group should know that more than three-quarters of Americans identify as “Christians” (more than 50 percent as Protestants, almost 25 percent as Catholic and about
2 percent as Mormon). In the Western United States, Buddhists represent the largest non-Christian religious bloc. This data comes from a 2010 census sponsored by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.
I suspect this crusade to change the name of the La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival is now more about Mr. Singer having his own way than it is about atoning for any 50-year-old discrimination practices. Shame on the Democratic Party for encouraging him. u
John J. CotterLa Jolla
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