Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I'm a "Gray Panther" Now! Living My Life Like Maggie Kuhn

Yesterday I went into a Mentor-on-the-Lake Subway shop, ordered a sandwich, and as I took out my wallet to pay, I noticed the woman serving me gave me a 10% senior discount--without my asking. She winked at me and I said, "Thank You!" And lately if I run into a McDonald's and order a cup of coffee, I automatically am given the "senior discount." There's no getting around it--I look like a senior citizen, though I feel only 17 years old (sometimes!).

When Judy Bechtel Blackburn and I co-wrote the biography of Maurice McCrackin (Building the Beloved Community: Maurice McCrackin's Life for Peace and Civil Rights), we borrowed a quote by one of Mac's friends, Maggie Kuhn, one of the founders of the "Gray Panther" movement. Maggie said,

 "Old age is not a disaster or a disease. It is freedom to innovate. It is freedom to build upon your own past and to get a historical perspective on what you have seen and known and suffered and lived through. It is a marvelous state of being. Old age is the time to engage in a new life style of outrage and to go down swinging. And with that kind of agenda ahead of you, you know nothing 
will keep you in bed."

Well I won't yet admit to being "old-aged," but I will stand up, like Maggie Kuhn, Maurice McCrackin, Ernest Bromley, Marion Bromley, Wally Nelson, Juanita Nelson, Chuck Matthei, Kathy F., Pat D., Linda C., Bill Wahler, Tim Musser, and so many others that I have been blessed to know . . . I will stand up for peace and justice. My voice will be heard. My presence will be felt. I will not be silent!


Beloved Community--graphic for Maurice McCrackin


Chris said...

Bob, Here is a psalm for us gray panthers: "The just will flourish like the palm-tree and grow like a Lebanon cedar. Planted in the house of the Lord they will flourish in the courts of our God, still bearing fruit when they are old still full of sap, still green..." Ps 92:13-15

View from the North Coast said...

Thanks, Chris. I saw Judy Collins in concert last night. At age 75, she is still "full of sap," still bearing fruit. I want to be like her and like Pete Seeger.