I turned seventy-two this year and I’m still working. I probably will be working ‘til I drop. I am a seamstress; and I have my own business. I’ve been in my shop for forty-seven years. I’ve had many clients over the years, and some famous ones. One client was Luella Hennessey. She was the nanny and nurse for President Kennedy. She was very devoted to their family. She tried to dress like Rose Kennedy—all the shoulder lines had to be high. Mrs. Kennedy told her it would make her look thinner.
I have many older clients, and many younger ones. You would think by the time women were in their eighties they wouldn’t worry about their clothes so much. But let me tell you, they do. When my mother and my aunts turned fifty, they acted fifty and dressed like it too. Back then, you were expected to act your age and look it too. I find times have changed. My eighty-year-old customers don’t dress like they’re eighty—they want to look as good as they can. I have some women in their nineties who not only care how they look, but they still are driving and are very active.
I have been amazed by many of the older women, but one woman in particular knocked me off my feet when I learned her age. She is a person who has been coming to me for about twenty years. She came in the other day with some spring clothes (this women has to look good all the time). She lives in assisted living and she goes down to meals dressed in her best. She is very old-school. We started to talk about a Dr. Phil TV episode when he had a 106-year-old woman on. She was very alert looked great.
“Isn’t that amazing?” I asked.
She looked at me like I had two heads. “I just had my 102 birthday.”
I looked so shocked.
“What is the matter? You knew that. You have known me for all these years I assumed you knew.”
“I didn’t,” I muttered.
“I wish I didn’t tell you, now you’ll treat me differently. I never tell anybody. I will not be treated as a frail old lady.
“I will never tell,: I promised.”
God, I thought to myself, I’m kid to her. I guess I am a kid in this new age.