Letter: Designation diminishes accomplishments
After living 30 years in Europe I returned, a widow, to live in the United States. In my short visits to Colorado I had no experience of “in the Valley, the generations do not mix,” spoken to me with aplomb as if my good friend were quoting a statute. I thought such restrictions would be no problem for me, a once-upon-a-time resident of six American states and two EU countries.
I’ll be nice saying “assertive” rather than “aggressive” to describe the behavior I experience: moved aside on sidewalks; failure to acknowledge me in group; talking over me. “Dearie” became my assigned name owing to my white hair. Assistants in stores where I have shopped often with a debit card might address me by my real name.
As the person who had stated the local policy to me had no contact with older citizens, he constructed a stereotype: We are a group suffering from creeping failings in self-care, physical abilities, social skills, hearing — from a grab bag. The designation without individual evidence diminishes the talents and skills, history and accomplishments that make that “oldie” to him a separate, individual human being.
Erasure, I call it.
Thank the heavens I have dual passports. I’m going home.