I had an idea for a column on “What’s the thing I miss most, and have stopped doing because of my age?” I introduced the topic up over lunch at the 19th Century Club. One the women immediately answered “nightly sex.” And we were off.

It was a conversation filled with laughs, nods, more laughs and sighs. Four of us mentioned that we miss skating – both roller skating and ice skating. Now I haven’t skated in many moons, but every spring I get wistful about those metal skates and skate keys. And I never complained about the ugly oxfords – we called them Girl Scout oxfords – because you needed the soles to attach the skates! But ice skating was all about gliding in freedom and beauty (well, not in my case, since my mother insisted in getting me skates that would last for more than one year, meaning they never fit properly). We dreamed of Sonja Henie and those gorgeous fur-trimmed costumes and, later, getting our daughters the Dorothy Hamill haircut whether they liked it or not.

Another woman said she was tall and pretty (still is) and when she walked into a room, all the men stared at her. Sigh. That happened to me once. I was at the theatre in the third row and I stood up to stretch at intermission. I turned around and noticed a lot of men looking at me. Then I realized I was standing next to my friend Ginny, a blonde beauty. Sigh.

One woman said she missed wearing high heels. OMG, high heels and a mini skirt, Chantilly lace and a pretty face.

Another woman realized she’d never climb a tree again. Last summer I watched my grandchildren climb a tree. I was filled with longing, but was also a nervous wreck. I hope I just turned away without telling them to be careful, but, naturally, I can’t remember.

On a sad note, another woman said she missed riding her bike through the woods because she doesn’t feel safe. Ah.

I contacted several men I know, but only got a few responses. I think men generally mourn the loss of physical prowess – and hair – while women mourn the loss of beauty. Women can touch up our hair as long as we can hold our heads up. When men touch up their hair or wear a toupee it’s disconcerting at best and alarming at worst.

One wag who did respond wanted to know the name and address of the woman who missed nightly sex. He went on to say that he missed officiating at football games.

Another missed playing the guitar, as a result of carpal tunnel numbness in his left hand. He also said he missed “the feel of the pitched ball hitting the sweet part of the bat and going a very long way, something that I got to experience fairly often.” I’m guessing that’s what the tall woman felt walking into a room.

Another very athletic man I know joined a baseball (softball?) team a few years ago and then realized he wasn’t sure whether he could run. As if that wasn’t disconcerting enough, the third baseman died.

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Mary Kay O'Grady

Mary Kay O'Grady is a former high school English teacher and later owned her own public relations business, The O'Grady Group. She has lived in Oak Park for almost fifteen years. She is currently the chairperson...

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