Two favorite ingredients in my anti-aging cocktail: Humor and Curiosity

Guileless comedy offered up through my favorite delivery system–granddaughters–is sure to keep me young, or young-ish!

Sophia and Karina

I really don’t spend any significant time thinking about my age, but I did just have a birthday. Maybe that’s what sparked a bit of the following conversation.

 Karina makes her mark on the world by distinguishing herself as combination perennial princess, artist and musician, as well as a young and budding Sarah Bernhardt.

She dances and sings through life. If I’m any good at predicting the future, I’m reasonably sure she isn’t going to need reminders to “breathe lighter.”

To the question, “Karina, are you looking forward to starting Kindergarten and being in school with your sister?” she  immediately chirped back, “No. I don’t really want to do all that work!” I hope her teacher won’t be too quick to silence a little girl who sings or hums a tune all day long.

In contrast, six-year old Sophia can hardly wait for second grade, and in fact, has conversations about going to college. While we were walking to the school’s Open House she announced that she was looking forward to being 30! Thirty?

I laughed and said, “Oh no! Not yet! Enjoy being a little girl. And besides, I don’t even want to think about how old I’ll be when you’re thirty!”

Without missing a beat and with all seriousness she said, “You mean dead?”

She has no trouble keeping it real.

I almost choked on my tongue I was laughing so hard! After a moment of recovery I told her I intended to be around a long, long time…long enough to become a problem for her.

I’ve been laughing about this for a couple of days, and it brought to mind the Mark Twain quote, “The report of my death was an exaggeration,” typically misquoted as “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

I like to think Sophia has greatly exaggerated reports of my age!

And speaking of Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, have you ever seen him on film? I mean really moving about at his home in Redding, Connecticut,  with his daughters Clara and Jean?

This very rare video, filmed in 1909 by Thomas Edison, is really quite amazing. It’s a bit jumpy in places and the quality is grainy, but speaking of age–1909! A better quality digital restoration is not available for embedding, but can be accessed HERE. The quality is really excellent in comparison to the original and you’ll be able to better see the faces. I hope you’ll still watch the original, however, just because it exists!

Are you curious about other rare historical film clips? Newsreel archive British Pathé upload 85,000 historical films to its YouTube channel. Oh my goodness but this is a curious person’s treasure trove. It might take me a while to see all 85,ooo, but some hold more interest than others.

I’m not as interested in “The World’s Greatest Jumping Dog  or “A Real Life Flea Circus,” but Julie Andrews, at thirteen years of age singing for George VI, now that is quite fun and interesting, as is the World’s First Mobile Phone, footage from Paris, 1922.

Humor, curiosity, interest in learning from the past and looking ahead with expectation to the future, these are important components in my life and ingredients in my anti-aging cocktail.

As mid-week sometimes hits a bump, maybe you can find something here to both amuse and enlighten.

The jumping dog did make me laugh! And by all means, breathe lighter!

 

84 thoughts on “Two favorite ingredients in my anti-aging cocktail: Humor and Curiosity

  1. That’s a truly astounding piece of historical film Debra, thanks for sharing it with us as well as its source. I remember watching the Pathe newsreels before the main feature in Brit cinemas when I was knee high to a grasshopper. And talking about history…I wish you a very Happy Birthday, hope it was a good one and that you celebrate many, many more…

    • Thank you, John. You’ve filled in a piece of information for me. I didn’t know that the Pathé newsreels were shown before the main feature at the cinema! I should have considered that. There were newsreels before American films, too, but I think mostly associated with World War II. That’s an impression I have, and I may not be correct about that. These Pathé newsreels cover such a range in topics. I am enjoying watching them via youtube! :-)

  2. Wishing you many Happy Returns of your Birthday, dear Debra. I watched quite a few of these film clips of famous people and movie stars. Brings back memories. Thanks for sharing. I definitely made it already into old age: I have grandsons who are already 35!! :-)

    • You are an excellent example of aging with grace and being full of life, Uta. I take note of how active and interested you are in everything from the natural beauty of your home and the political landscape. I think that’s very clear, and I believe remaining in touch with the world around us, the laughter and the deep subjects, is what extends the quality of our lives, and in turn, our overall well-being. You are an excellent example of positive aging. ox

      • Well, maybe not all positive, but it’s good that I find life still worth living and can get a lot of joy out of it. Thanks for having such a high opinion of me. You always come across as a very positive and loving person. Thank you so much for being so supportive! :-)

  3. Delightful – all of it! Grandkids of similar dispositions and ages to my own younger pair, an interesting clip of Clemens, and the wonderful one of Julie Andrews – even then, her voice had amazing maturity, and her enthusiasm knew no bounds in the applause!

    • I was also so impressed with Julie Andrews and such vocal maturity! I didn’t know that she had a career, or at least some notoriety, as a young girl. I have enjoyed these old newsreels! :-) And by the way, once again I “rescued” your comment from my SPAM folder today. Gheesh! I don’t know why my WP filter has chosen to be so unkind! I check my SPAM regularly, but if this happens again, I’m going to the top! :-)

  4. I watched both clips, mesmerized ! Happy birthday! And your granddaughters will certainly be providing you with laughter enough to keep you young far past their 30th birthdays. :)

    • I’m so glad you watched the Mark Twain clips, Colleen. Isn’t it fascinating? I feel greedy for how much I want the voice. But that we have even this, is just wonderful, and filmed by Thomas Edison! I will continue to take care of myself and do all I can on my end to be around a long, long time. When Sophia is about 15 I’m certainly going to remind her of this comment. LOL!

  5. LOL! Laughter keeps you young! I asked a class of 17- 20 year-old once what they considered to be “middle-aged”, and someone said 30! (I was early 30s at the time and quite miffed!) Those little girls will keep you young for years to come, I’m sure! :)

    • That’s hilarious, Cathy. If 17-20’s think 30 is middle-aged, you can really see how a six year old would see her grandmother! We have such a good time together, and I can keep up with them just fine. So I do know that to them my age is a high number, but they don’t hold it against me. I’ll have to stay on my toes to keep pace into my 90s. LOL. I’m planning towards that. :-)

    • hahaha! Yes, hat pins! Now there’s something we don’t see every day. I’m glad I could share the humor with you. My granddaughters really keep me on my toes. :-) Thank you for sharing them with me.

  6. Oh that Sophia! So wonderfully on point! Still no baby here… soooo ready for those interactions with a little wise one!
    OX

    • To a six-year old I am really, really old. LOL! I don’t feel that old, but…hahaha! Your little guy will be here any day, V, and I’m so excited for what that is going to mean to your whole family. His mommy and daddy are probably getting a little anxious, too, I would think! ox

  7. I have to say, I think your anti-aging cocktail is the best one yet! Between your attitude of life and your adorable and witty granddaughters, I think you will have many more fond memories to live out. I wonder how many cigarettes and cups of tea the family had the day of filming? That Tomas Edison was something else, thanks to him we can live a comfortable and pretty luxurious life.

    • Thank you, Cristina. I spend a lot of time laughing when I’m sharing time with the girls. They don’t have to censor any thoughts around me. LOL! And I’m with you in admiration of Thomas Edison. When I found the film I was very excited about Mark Twain, but really, it thrilled me to think that Thomas Edison was on the other side of the camera! :-)

  8. I’m with Karina ~> “No, I don’t really want to do all that work!” :cool:

    Love your sense of humor and your curiosity, Debra.
    They will keep you young . . . no matter how many birthdays you celebrate.

    I hope you had a memory making, age faking, picture taking, birthday caking kind of day!

  9. Happy Birthday, Debra! Enjoy watching the video. Thank you so much for reminding us about the sense of humor and curiosity. Your granddaughters are adorable!

    • Thank you, Amy. I do think a sense of humor does help us get through life! And I love these old films. Aren’t we privileged to be living at a time when we have the Internet providing us both entertainment and education! I had fun sharing my granddaughters with you, so thank you for your very kind comment. :-)

  10. Your granddaughter is a hoot! Mark Twain was my husband’s great, great (maybe another great or maybe not) grandfather or maybe granduncle (I forget). Mark Twain was the black sheep of the family. He was a smoking, drinking carouser in a family of Quakers! Lots of stories….

    • How cool to be related to Mark Twain, even if he as the family black sheep…wouldn’t it have been fun to hear his voice? I didn’t know he came from a Quaker heritage. That really did make his lifestyle a big departure.

  11. Out of the mouth of babes! What fun – and both Sophia and Karina will grow from your delightful sense of humor, Debra.

    What a find in this rare clip of Samuel Clemens is – and the genius of Thomas Edison. Imagine all of the changes and developments of the early 20th century. Of course, there have been many here in the early 21st as well, but, I love finding these little gems of the past that was my grandparents’. I was recently at a very small exhibit in Elmhurst about Carl Sandburg. He lived in my old suburb for several years and the house is still standing. The historical foundation presented an exhibit that was fascinating about his years in Elmhurst and Chicago. What I did not know about Sandburg was that he was once a movie critic, critiquing such movies as “Metropolis”. It was fun to watch the movie in a two seat “theater” and hear Sandburg’s words being read.

    Happy belated birthday, Debra. I hope it was delightful in every way.

    • I asked Aimee if I could share the story because it could translate poorly. Sophia was honestly just doing the math. She doesn’t know anyone 90 or older and she knows my current age. LOL! Those two little gals are good incentive for taking care of myself! I certainly didn’t know anything about Carl Sandburg being a film critic. What a surprise that is! I do what you just described, too, Penny. When I’m somewhere with early 20th century historical objects, places or themes, I always think of my grandparents and great-grandparents and wonder how they experienced life. The youtube channel I shared is really something amazing. If you find the time, you might find some that really speak to your interests, Penny. I’m glad I could share it. :-)

  12. It’s amazing that footage that old has managed to survive. I love your granddaughters – they’re gorgeous. And so cute! What a funny thing to say to you and I’m not surprised you couldn’t stop laughing. She’s very direct! I have a birthday coming up so I’m going to need one of your cocktails xx

    • I giggle every time I think of Sophia’s comment, Charlie. She really wasn’t trying to be provocative, I don’t think, but maybe thought it was a little humorous, I’m not sure. We are very close and tease each other quite a bit. On the other hand, I am ten times older than she is…and she doesn’t currently know anyone in their 90s. I like a challenge…I’ll take very good care of myself and I plan to be around a very long time. :-) I am really enjoying the British youtube channel and the historical films. Isn’t the Internet just wonderful! :-)

  13. Karina is so precious!!! That quip will be in your family for even HER grandchildren. 😄

    I enjoyed the Edison footage. I believe the original film medium (based on celluloid?) Should have disentegrated by now so it is just remarkable it survived. And his cigar! Oo-rah! And the indoor footage was incredible as the film speed was so slow (i.e., not very sensitive to light).

    • I agree with you, Koji, and I hope Sophia’s comment gives us many years of laughter. I do a lot of laughing with those girls. :-) You understood the Edison film much better than I did, quite frankly. I don’t know a thing about the old film, but I find this simply incredible that it has survived at all. I’m going to spend some time on that very amazing youtube channel and see if I can find some other very rare footage. It fascinates me. :-) I’m glad I could share it with you.

  14. I’m a huge fan of Mark Twain, so this was a real treat for me. Thank you.

    As for Sophia at 30, I’m a fan of your being around and very much alive. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be. :) I hope the girls (and everyone else) gave you a lovely birthday, Debra.

    • Wasn’t the Mark Twain footage amazing, Andra? All this historical footage is mesmerizing. I just had to share it! Oh my dear Sophia. She is hilarious. They both are. She is doing a lot of estimating in her math and becoming more and more aware of distance, time, and sometimes applies her speculations to the world at large. I’m ten times older than she is, and in her little mind, my time is short. LOL! I just laugh every time I think of it. And you’re sweet…I have every intention of being around. My standard answer is that I’ll be here at 100, see how I’m feeling about things, and decide if I should renew my lease for another five years. :-) I had a lovely end-of-March birthday, not far from yours, but it does feel like it was yesterday!

  15. Your granddaughters sound like absolute treasures Debra! Your description of Karina reminds me an awful lot of Miss A. As she’s just wrapping up Kindergarten now, I can tell you that it has not silenced her singing or humming, or stopped her dancing. She did, however, have to put a stop to cartwheels in the classroom. ;) Your anti-aging cocktail sounds just about right. I love it. Your perspective on life is always refreshing to me Debra. Have a fabulous weekend!

    • Thank you for the sweet comments, Kristy. I really do believe that Sophia and Karina give me a wonderful reason to remain as young-at-heart as possible. I love your story of Miss A doing cartwheels in the classroom. That’s priceless. I do understand that can’t continue, but I think I would love to see children allowed to be more playful even IN the classroom. :-)

  16. Belated birthday greetings, Debra. You can certainly trust your granddaughters to keep you in touch with reality. They are both so sweet and will also keep you young. The latest gem from Grandson#2 (just turned 12) is “When I grow up i want to be retired.” :-)

    I loved the historic clip of Mark Twain and am grateful for the link to the British Pathé YouTube channel. I well remember their newsreel items in the cinema when I was young and there are sometimes TV programmes here with historic footage from their archives, but to have access to all of it like this is amazing!

    • I love your grandson’s comment, too, Perpetua. They are so funny, aren’t they? I know that Sophia’s comment might have sounded a little impertinent, but she really wasn’t trying to be a smarty. She is definitely our little truth teller. LOL! I’m glad you enjoyed the Pathé newsreels. I am really enjoying the YouTube channel and being a witness to some really interesting points in history. Pathé is new to me! :-)

    • I did have a nice Mother’s Day, so thank you, Karen. The girls are a lot of fun, and I an enjoying them while they are still so young they don’t censor very much at all! Rather impertinent comments are often made with all seriousness. I laugh a lot!

  17. Dear Debra, what a delightful posting–one of my favorites of yours. I so enjoy the stories you share about Karina and Sophia. They are well-loved and cherished children and are secure in that unconditional love. And so they speak openly and freely and give you treasures to hold onto for all of your life–however long it may be. What a way to age, being around them!

    Thanks also for the Mark Twain and the Julie Andrews films. I looked at both versions of the Twain one. The original, which is jerky, thrilled me the most. Now there’s a man who has lived on through his words, which have touched, I believe, all our lives in some way. Peace.

    • I think it’s true, Dee, that both Sophia and Karina know I adore them. There really isn’t much they could do or say (at this young age) that would upset me. We laugh a lot. And I’m so glad you enjoyed the Pathé films. Aren’t they remarkable? I think we live in a remarkable age where we can bridge the past and the future so easily! It’s wonderful. And I, like you, really enjoyed the Twain original. Knowing that Edison was the filmmaker just made it all the more special, didn’t it? I hope you have a good week, my friend.

      • Dear Debra, I am hoping for a week in which I finally this year–it’s May now–follow a routine that entails writing on the novel manuscript, sending query letters to agents, reading blogs, posting on Thursday, and getting in a walk each day. I’ve set myself the goal of doing something on my writing each day for the next year. That one thing may be coming up with a plot, writing, researching, reading the manuscript, editing, polishing. And I may do whatever it is for 5 minutes or an hour or even two. But each day something. Slow and steady wins the race or so the tortoise says. I wonder if your friend in the backyard would agree! Peace.

      • You are certainly dedicated to your writing, Dee. You have set some very high goals, and I really admire how you stay focused and just continue on. Of course, I do think that slow and steady is wise! I’m gold you aren’t sacrificing your health to reach a particular writing goal, and that you have committed to walking and caring for your personal well-being. Writing every day is the key, I’m sure. I’m here cheering you on, Dee! Thank you for sharing how your writing goals are progressing. It sounds like a great deal of work, but that effort will pay off! :-)

  18. Kids say the darnest, honest-est things, indeed! :lol: -ing at the conversations. No wonder it lasted in your thoughts. These happy thoughts do make us celebrate life and breathe lighter. Thanks for some uplift, Debra.

    • I laugh a lot with my granddaughters, Rommel. They are still young enough the censor very little! I’m going to miss this stage as they get older. I hope they always make me laugh, however. :-)

    • I think Sophia may have sounded a little impertinent in her comment to me, Otto, but she was really just saying what came to her mind. I really thought it the funniest thing. They do keep me on my toes!

    • I’m always glad to hear from you, and thank you for the Mother’s Day wishes. Very kind. My two little gals are really funny and definitely keep me laughing. I’m so glad I could share them with you. :-)

  19. I’m probably not as curious as I could be, Debbie and probably fit best in the ‘funny peculiar’ category :) Age only becomes an issue when you’re hurting, doesn’t it? I love your grand-babies!

    • Thank you, Bruce! I know that Sophia sounds a little impertinent in her remark about my “death,” but I was quite sure she was just using what to her sounded like common sense. I laugh every time I think of it, even now! :-)

  20. First.. Happiest of Birthdays to you, Deb!! I had a good chuckle.. out of the mouths of babes, eh? Good thing you hadn’t just gulped a drink or you might have choked as I have done in the past:D I really enjoyed watching both videos, it’s curious to me that the restored one has everything in reflection, he walks from the right of the house instead of left and he sits on the right at the table instead of the left.. I wonder why?? Have a great weekend!! xx

    • Barb, you are the only person to comment on how the restored Twain/Edison film is in reverse of the original. I didn’t note it myself! LOL! I should know you’d have the detailed eye to note the difference. And you’re so right about “mouths of babes.” I laugh a great deal with what comes out of the girls’ mouths, and I do so adore them! Thank you for coming by today, Smidge. I know how busy you’ve been. :-)

  21. Wow! Sophia is witty and sharp! I’m sure you know the name Sophia means “wise” and she certainly lives up to her name! And Happy Birthday! You’re as young as you feel as the expression goes. I’m in denial about my age and people keep telling me I don’t look my age and I agree with them! I just wish time didn’t fly by so fast! I hope you had a great birthday : – ) P.S. I’m all for humor….I like to think it is part of the reason that keeps me young!

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