Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I have become my grandmother

Me in the office on a rainy Tuesday.
I'm one of those people who sets the alarm clock one hour before I really need to be out of bed. I've never been able to pop up and hit the ground running.
During that hour when I'm hitting the snooze button every nine minutes, I think about what I'm going to wear. I don't get out of bed until I have an idea of what I will put on my back.
Today, I got out of bed with no outfit in mind. Annoyed that the weather is dictating I should be in boots, but the calendar saying I should be able to break out the peep-toed pumps, I was uninspired.
With the gray sky peeking through my bedroom blinds and radio reports of rain, I faced my closet and grabbed orange. Then I said oh what the hell, embrace the rainbow. (The results are pictured at left.)
As I dashed out to the car my husband got a glimpse of me.
"Really putting the crazy out there today, huh?" he said chortling.
"What, too colorful? Fuck it. I am colorful and I don't care if people think I'm crazy," I snipped back to him.

Now ensconced in my boring beige office, I go about my day. Part of my job entails editing a newspaper section for people over the age of 50 (we politely avoid the term "seniors"). A story I assigned months ago has been submitted: "It 'girls': Grande dames with individual style are free to be". The subject matter is women of a certain age who embrace fashion: "Fashion for them is not about slavishly following trends but about expressing the supreme comfort they feel in their own skin. Whether their look is bold, eccentric or put together classic, they do not go unnoticed," as our staff writer Ro so eloquently wrote.
I thoroughly enjoy reading this story that goes on to quote a man who has documented the stylish older women of New York City and the world in a blog, a book and a soon-to-be documentary. (Advanced Style is the blog linked here: Advanced Style.)
I loved this quote from a woman, Ari, featured in the book: “I was never fearful of being extraordinarily different,” Lubi says in the book. “I would rather be considered somewhat different and mysterious than ignored.”
Yes. That's what I want to be when I'm old, I think to myself.
My Grandma Cogan with my son in 1990.
(Photo courtesy of Mark Bonne)
I walk over to Ro's desk to tell her how much I enjoyed the story. As I approach her she is already smiling — undoubtedly at my crazy outfit.
Just as I'm telling her how much I liked the story, it dawned on us both: I have become the eccentric woman of a certain age.
"We should use your picture with the story," she says. She took the picture above.
Looking at the photo, I see why my husband called me crazy.
I see that I have become just like my grandmother pictured here at right, in 1990 when she was well into her 80s, rocking a hot pink lion sweatshirt and coordinating neck kerchief.
And I'm just fine with that.


  1. The writing is as colorful and compelling as the outfit. Loved this!

    1. Thanks for the inspiration, NewYorkRosie. :)