"WE, SENIORS"     
by Shirley Rubenstein

Just the other day I was walking down a familiar street in Los Angeles when a woman grabbed my hand.  She held me and said, "Wait.  I am seventy-five years old and I am alone."  Then, she just talked to me.  I could not understand how a total stranger felt the need to stop and accost someone she had never met.  I finally realized that she just needed me to look at her.  

I am eighty-six.  It made me think. What happens when you are older and you have no one to talk to?  How does one handle being older and being so desperate?  There are people with no one:  no one at all.  I didn't know what to say to her so I decided to write my thoughts to her.  I have been wanting to write for some time.  I even bought an old, used typewriter to help me get over the inertia that has plagued me for years.   I am now energized to bring this senior up to life!  Wake up you slumbering older person.   Wake up!

I started writing while attending C.C.N.Y. University in 1939.    I was 18 and it was my first day in school.  I don't know why I did it, but I walked into the newspaper off ice.  I asked if I could write for the school paper.  The Editor said, "Write fifty words."  When I handed in the fifty words, he said, "Write a title."   I found myself surrounded by men and said:  "We Women."   For the next six years, I was writing a column about women's lives going to college during the war. 

Then I took a long time to get married, have a family and become older.   Much older!  And here I am, as always, thinking of the time that has elapsed.  All those changes:  the war, the last great war! A few wars after it and someone I hardly recognize in the mirror.  But I still have things to say.  At the time I wrote for the college paper, I was really a spokesman for women.  Today, it looks like we need a spokesman for older but still vital people.  We still have something to say, don't we? 
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