Last month, I quizzed my Galva Beta reader about age. I showed her a newspaper clipping about a 101-year-old man who still went in to work a few days every week.
She had seen it.
I mentioned the centenarian I saw on a late night TV show. The lady was thin, frail looking, but was cracking jokes and holding her own.
She hadn’t seen that.
She also hadn’t heard of the Delany sisters. Bessie Delany lived to 104 and her sister Sadie to 109. Their book, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, was a best seller in the 90s.
She did know of a Galva woman who made it 103 and about the other lady who escaped from a Galva senior center. It wasn’t much of an escape; she wanted lunch in Bishop Hill, so she got into a car and drove away. Not sure whose car it was, but it certainly shocked the staff and some relatives. She got her lunch and a chauffeured ride back to Galva.
My point: out there in the mass of humanity are folks called super agers. They are oldsters who have lively brains for their age. They are mobile, intelligent, and interesting.
I have to believe in them, because I used one to get my story going. I named her Pearl Mabel after my grandmother.
Originally, I dreamed up this character in desperation. I was barely into the first couple of chapters of my book when I started to get too tired and too confused with trying to describe how someone’s great-great-great-grandfather interacted with someone else’s great-great-great-grandfather. I probably could have found other ways of coping with this problem, other writers certainly had, but I settled on my super ager to span the gap in time and never looked back.