Category Archives: Old Pharts Unite

Friday Afternoon Club: An Afternoon of Fine Art and Music

The Senior Action Committee will present an afternoon of fine art and music from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Town Square Mall, 1700 Mile Hill Road in Port Orchard.

In an earlier e-mail, they solicited “senior” exhibitors 50+. If, like me, you are in the 50+ group, you may not consider yourself a “senior.” It’s interesting how the term “senior” like adolescent has grown to cover a broader range of people in recent decades. Used to be you were briefly a teen, then you a got a job; then you were an adult until you retired. Then you were “old.” Then you died.

Now kids are termed preadolescent as young as 9. And AARP starts courting new membership after they’ve barely turned 50. On the other end, young people in their early 20s could still be thought of as adolescent. And “senior” applies to people, many of them remarkable active, into their 100s and beyond.

So if you’re hung up on the word “senior” get over it. It’s just a way to describe a large, diverse group, many of whom are much more active than people of comparable age in previous generations.

OK, more about the event. It will include handicrafts and photography. There will be raffles, food specials and plenty of free parking.

Special guests will include Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola, Rep. Jan Angel, and Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido, all of whom qualify as seniors.

If you are younger than 50, you should come anyway and see how the Old Pharts roll. Hopefully, you’ll see it’s not so scary to get “old.”

Old Pharts Unite: Lessons in Aging

Paul Nuchims, owner of Manchester Gallery, will hold a Senior Studies discussion, from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the gallery, 724 Bay Street, Port Orchard; (360) 895-4270.

Nuchims, 75, is a retired professor of art and humanities. A casual conversation with him often winds its way into philosophical discussions of humanity, politics and culture. The one-time candidate for county commissioner who withdrew from the primary in 2008 said careful attention to diet and exercise have helped him to feel better that he did as a middle-aged man.

Nuchims perceives a void in classes on aging in that few if any are taught by those who can actually claim to be old. To fill that void, he is launching a series of discussions on what it takes to age successfully in a society that worships youth.

“This is a discussion about seniors taking charge of their life and not falling into the profile most younger people have of older people as being infirm and being an albatross around the neck of society,” Nuchims said.

Nuchims works out regularly and eats mostly food he grows himself. He’s not opposed to medical care, but hasn’t visited a doctor “in years.”

“This may be hyperbole,” he said, “but I’m healthier now than I was 35 years ago. Part of it is understanding my own body, and part of being able to do that is living this long.”

My thoughts: Ah, yes, if only these things came with owner’s manuals.

From Nuchims’ e-mail, here are some basic concepts to be covered in the class:
•Age: The older, wiser, and more adept at life you should become.
•Best Insurance?  Avoid the risk. Money doesn’t replace all loss.
•Health: Individual’s responsibility: Grow your own food. Exercise.
•Money: A useful tool but hardly an end in itself.
•Art: A window? A method for healing and understanding.
•Future is now: The past (memories), a learning tool: use it wisely.
•Responsibility: For everything? Maybe. Let’s start with ourselves.
•Change: Even a small, incremental change, will be empowering.

While Nuchims will structure the discussions from his perspective as a teacher, the conversation will definitely be a two-way street, he said. People of all ages are welcome.

Classes are free and will continue each Wednesday, 6 to 7 p.m. starting Oct. 21, at the gallery.

Speaking of aging, what do you define as “old?”

It’s commonly said we live in a society that worships youth. What, if any, specific examples have you encountered?

Nuchims said young people think of the elderly as an “albatross” around society’s neck. If you consider yourself young, do you see the elderly as a burden? What solutions if any do you see to this situation?

What bothers you the most about the prospect of getting old?

Who in your life has been a model for successful aging? I’ve had many, and they all made it look a lot easier than it actually is. On the other hand, now that I’m 54, I feel, like Nuchims, better that I have in decades.

Oh, wait, one more. If you knew then what you do now, what would you have done differently?

Old Pharts Unite: What Will You Be When You Grow Up?

A Washington Post article that ran in Saturday’s Kitsap Sun noted that the peace symbol turn 50 on Friday.

Where did the time go? I was three in 1958 when British graphic designer Gerald Holtom, “…drew myself … a man in despair .. put a circle around it to represent the world.”

I learned a lot from that article that I didn’t know about the peace symbol:

It was unveiled at a British ban-the-bomb rally. (Does anyone out there remember hiding under your desk or sitting out in the hallway, head tucked, with your classmates, doing a bomb drill in case the Soviet Union dropped the big one? Fat lot of good that would have done, but somehow it made our parents and teachers feel safer, Hiroshima still fresh in their minds.)

Since then, the article states, “The symbol has marched in service of many causes over the years: civil rights, women’s rights, environmentalism, gay rights, anti-apartheid, the nuclear freeze movement and the latter day anti-war crowd.”

In junior high I sketched the peace symbol on my binder, in high school wore it on a tie-dye T-shirt with my lime green mini-skirt.

But now I’m dating myself. When I turned 50, my once-athletic body started falling apart piece by piece. Now, like a classic car, I require a lot of maintenance and my mileage is not what it used to be.

I’m at that time of life when the list of things I’d like to do “when I grow up” gets longer in direct proportion to the years in which I have to so them growing shorter with each passing birthday. I want to be a zoo keeper, travel to Australia, write a book, learn the tango. With the newspaper industry going the way it is, who knows, maybe I’ll have to have a whole new career. The way things are going, maybe I’ll never be able to retire.

According to Kitsap Sun columnist, Liz Taylor, I’m not alone. In a recent column, Taylor talks about a “new kind of retirement” in which my generation (the Baby Boomers – if you can stand that over-used term – I prefer Old Pharts) won’t be retiring any time soon:
A. Because they can’t afford to.
B. Because they don’t want to.
C. Because society can’t afford to have them retire.

Taylor writes: “Seventy-eight million boomers now are aged 43 to 61. Following behind are just 40 million Gen Xers in their 30s, ready to take the boomers’ jobs when they retire. Hmmm, I see a shortfall of significant proportion ahead.”

The correct answer to why our retirement won’t look anything like that of our parents’ generation is, “All of the above.”

In anticipation of a story I plan to write on “retirement revisited” I’d love to hear from anyone else out there who has reinvented their life and livelihood upon middle age. For example, I know a guy, retired from Amtrack, who enjoys volunteering at the local junior high. By this time next year it’s likely he’ll be applying his teaching skills in Africa in a position with an organization similar to the Peace Corps.

What are your plans? What’s been your experience as an older worker? Comment here, send me an e-mail at or call me at (360) 792-9219.

And remember, we have nothing to fear but gravity.

Peace, Chris