Ida: I didn’t know, nobody told me that it cost money to get old. I just figured that was one thing you got for free. But it isn’t: the retirement home costs money, the doctors cost money, medicine costs money. I always thought it was so sad I’d outlived my whole family; but I didn’t know that it was going to be a punishment.
—The Golden Girls, “Brother, Can You Spare That Jacket?” (12/3/88)
I have two brothers: one of them is about a year and a half younger than I am, and the other one is about six years younger. This story is going to be about the older of the two.
So when he was in his late 20s, he met and married a woman who is a few years older than he is. She had had a daughter when she was sixteen, who in turn had a daughter when she was sixteen years old. This basically made my brother a grandfather at the age of 28.
That daughter had two other children, one of whom is now in her early 20s and recently became a parent herself. So now my brother, at the age of 53, is a great-grandfather.
A few years ago, a series of incidents took place which ended with my brother’s insurance company paying off his mortgage. So in his late 40s, he was able to stop making mortgage payments.
A few weeks ago, my brother was at work. He was on a ladder, about five feet up, when he lost his balance and fell. Being only about five feet in the air, ordinarily this wouldn’t be too big of a deal, but in this case it was a little more of a convoluted situation and he went down hard, breaking his hip and pelvis in a few places. Now he’s doing rehab and getting around with a walker (though healing nicely so far).
So…grandfather at 28, house paid off in his 40s, great-grandfather at 53, now breaking a hip? It seems to me that he’s reaching most of his life milestones about 20 years too early.
On the bright side, he’s never especially worried about kids being on his lawn.