Who is Aunt Beulah?

Aunt Beulah BodyMy Great-aunt Beulah gardened in her husband’s galoshes, talked too loud, laughed too hard, cussed a bit, and one day held me gently against her ample girth until I quit crying. An unhappy teenager, I was spending the night with her after going to a party with friends I’d left behind when my family moved to a nearby town. “It’s not the same anymore,” I sobbed. “I feel like I don’t belong either place.”

She said nothing, just held on and listened.

“Beulah’s a bit rough around the edges,” I overheard a hoity-toity second cousin remark at a family reunion. I knew better. Aunt Beulah was soft, quiet, and kind when it mattered.

So I took the name of an aunt I loved to represent all the adults in my life who provided a model of aging well, even as they struggled with difficulties and demons of their own: the good men and women who consistently nudged me toward maturity while I avoided chores, succumbed to peer pressure, and fell in love with ne’er-do-wells.

Watching the important adults in my life, I learned that to age well we must live well: cherish our friends and loved ones, nurture our bodies and minds, utilize our talents and skills, do some good in the world, develop financial fitness, and indulge in laughter and small pleasures.

For me, growing old with a modicum of grace was a journey filled with potholes; but as I bounced around from year to year, I learned a few things: flossing makes a difference; arguments with the IRS can be won; and we should try to live well no matter where we are in the arc of life.

Have some thoughts
about living well in order to age well?
I’d be interested

 

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19 thoughts on “Who is Aunt Beulah?

  1. Welcome to the blogosphere! Can’t wait to hear about your potholes and flossing really does make a difference (as does quitting Mountain Dew).

    “Watching the important adults in my life, I learned that to age well we must live well: cherish our friends and loved ones, nurture our bodies and minds, utilize our talents and skills, do some good in the world, develop financial fitness, and indulge in laughter and small pleasures.”

    Wow, can’t wait to hear about your thoughts. Also, can I hire you as a retirement consultant for some of the retirees in my life? 🙂

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  2. My memories of Aunt Beulah’s are of turkeys running amuck, never leaving hungry, and a quiet house with glass fronted cabinets filled with a million fascinating things. I can only hope that my home is the same: a little crazy, no one leaves hungry, and always something of interest.

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  3. JL and I are both going deaf. I remember that when I was growing up all of us cousins would have to scream at our elders to be heard. We would roll our eyes with a superior attitude of youth. It was excellent training for adulthood. I could talk to people who were hard of hearing because of the tricks I learned growing up. It helped in my nursing career and it was wonderful for communicating with your Dad. This past Memorial Day we had a reunion with my cousins. The hot topic? “Are you going deaf?” Almost 100% of us were! For JL and I, it is sometimes funny and at other times frustrating!
    The challenge in the years ahead is to refine our communication with each other and face the fact we will need hearing aids!

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  4. Oh Janet you never cease to amaze me! Love your outlook on life, love and happiness. You make the days brighter and so look forward to sharing a little of each day with you and your blog!

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  5. I think we all have an Aunt Beulah in our lives. Ours is our deeply missed Juna Mae who left us with a song on her lips. I can still hear her say, “How ya doin kiddo?” She taught me to laugh loudly and dance no matter who was watching. My wish is to channel my inner Juna Mae as often as possible….but boy do I miss having her as my dance partner!

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  6. I read about Aunt Beulah and I love it, Janet.I want you to know my first car, a 1966 Chevy Caprice was named Beulah. I always name my cars. She was different, big, when small cars like the Rabbit was coming into fashion. Grandpa Rolland wanted me to have something substantial when I wrecked. She wasn’t pretty either, especially when I hit that deer going 65 mph. The deer was dead but Beulah limped away with a dead radiator. Later that day and all that night the radiator was torn apart and welded back together by Dad so she could be limped back home. I loved her so much I wanted to bring her out to Wyoming with me from NY for my first teaching job. Dad said no and I was heart broken when they quietly sold her. Somehow, I think she represents the name quite well and maybe all the genuine parts of your wonderful aunt..

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  7. Janet, I love your blog as much as I love your Daily Press writings ! I am trying your suggested exercise and wonder how long I hang down here? I think I’ll add rum to my coke while I ponder this. Meanwhile , hurry with an answer as the blood is rushing to my head!

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