“Did You Have Fun Growing Old?”

Dear Reader:

I am presently reading a delightful novel by Susan Wiggs, one of my favorite summer go-to-authors. Her latest book, The Lost and Found Bookshop is perhaps my favorite.

The story is about starting over…and the enduring question in-point is:

“If you had to start over, what would you do and who would you be?” 


The main character, Natalie Harper, finds herself in just this predicament…due to an unexpected tragedy. She returns home to San Francisco (having given up a high-powered secure career)…to try to save a financially-stressed book shop her family has owned for decades.

In addition she becomes the caretaker to her beloved grandfather, Andrew Harper, who is fighting  loss of memory as dementia keeps attacking his thoughts from past and present daily.

Trying to stave off the shop, literally, from falling in on them…Natalie hires a “jack of all trades” workman to start patching up some of the most necessary problems… to stay safely open. As a divorced father, “Peach” Gallagher,  brings his six-year old (adorable) daughter, Dorothy, with him on numerous occasions.

Little Dorothy is the one person who can best communicate with Andrew Harper…each one’s day brighter for the other being in it.

Today I just wanted to share one conversation between them…that gives readers a glimpse into a special bond that defies time.

Grandpa Andrew is fussing about how some young people are impertinent and therefore a whippersnapper.”

“What’s impertinent mean?” asks little Dorothy

“The sort of child who makes fun of me because I’m old and have a forgetful brain. But I am happy to say that although you are young, you’re not impertinent. Therefore you’re not a whippersnapper.

Dorothy grew quiet studying Grandpa Andrew. “How old are you?”


“Did you have fun getting that old?”

Grandpa laughed and said it was the best, most delightful question he had ever received. He grew thoughtful and  replied

“I did have a great deal of fun. I love San Francisco and I used to play all around the parks with my classmates. We would have grass wars near the lagoon and if anyone fell in…they came out covered in slime!”

“We also flew kites…just like you did, Dorothy, on my birthday last week. “

“I like flying kites” replied Dorothy.

Again Grandpa grew thoughtful and advised…

“Have as much fun as you can, as often as you can. There were other times that I’ve endured unpleasantness and outright tragedy. There have been days when it was all I could do to take the next breath of air.”

“Breathing is always a good idea, ” Dorothy  stated simply.

“Indeed it is. When tragedy strikes, I must remember to breathe until I get to the fun part of life again.”

“And if you forget, I’ll remind you,” Dorothy said.


Let’s all take a moment today to remember the ‘fun parts’ of growing old or just older. All of us, if we live long enough, will have our share of tragedies along the way and like Grandpa Andrew observed…“We must all remember to breathe until we can get back to the fun part of life again.”

So until tomorrow…

These words were never more important than they are now…breathe in, breathe out...we will get through this crisis together and be better and stronger for it. In the meantime…make time…for homespun, free fun!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

The morning glories and lantana are handling this hot drought we are having better than other flowers…Somehow those afternoon ocean breeze showers just aren’t making dark, thunder clouds like typically this time of year…so we are left with just hot and hotter conditions…and no rain. (Several back-to-back days of this….but we still have hope.)



About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to “Did You Have Fun Growing Old?”

  1. Gin-g Edwards says:

    Becky…the last picture with the morning glories on the fence looks like a painting. It is beautiful. Love…love the entry today. We have Ruthie here this week and we have had fun …literally riding the waves with her at the beach…to doing a pedicure last night while Kenny G played in the background…as I did the pedicure I talked about her little hands and feet …the freckles across her nose etc…all the while taking in a very precious memory for both of us…we will and do have fun getting older…and I hope when I am older I get called to the office wherever I am staying for misbehaving like my Mother did….


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Too cute! I feel confident you will and I will be glad to accompany you to the office. 🙂
      Have fun with that precious child…in a wink she will be off… ‘Oh the places Ruthie will go.’


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