When I’m 64

It’s my birthday today. I’m now the age of that famous Beatles song that has been covered by so many artists. My brother-in-law belongs to a barbershop group, and many times I’ve heard them perform this song. This recording is not my brother-in-law’s group, but instead an international collaboration of When I’m 64….
The singers in the barbershop rendition are:
► Sonny Vande Putte (Belgium) – Lead
► Dieter Verhofstadt (Belgium/Suriname) – Baritone
► Dan Wright (USA) – Tenor
► Julien Neel (France) – Bass

When my husband turned 64, my bro-in-law’s quartet sang this song to him. However, he was lucky because his birthday is on Valentine’s Day and the quartet was out singing to people all over the Northwest suburbs, gifts from their sweethearts. However, today the members of the quartet are all doing something else, including my b-i-l, who’s in Indiana for his grandson’s graduation. So I content myself with renditions on YouTube and reflect on how much of this song really applies to me.

— LYRICS
When I get older
Losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a Valentine?
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?

If I’d been out
Till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?

You’ll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with you

I could be handy
Mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride

Doing the garden
Digging the weeds
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight if it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck, and Dave

Send me a postcard
Drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely wasting away

Give me your answer
Fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me
Will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?

This song of what one’s life might be like at 64 was a vision of four young men for whom 64 was very far off indeed. Although two of those lads from Liverpool have long passed the age of 64, two, unfortunately, never had a chance to reach that age.

beatles69

When I’m 64 is actually a cute love song. A young man is asking his girlfriend to commit to a long-term relationship. He wants her to grow old with him and imagines a distant future life together, when he is 64 (she is older, too, but her age is unknown/ unimportant) and the things they might enjoy then. He asks her to reflect on whether she wants to have a relationship that will last into old age, whether she’ll be content with an old man, will she still love him.

The interesting things mentioned in this vision of “old age” are accurate in many aspects:

  • A relationship in which the man is older than the woman may become dull after awhile and maybe she will want to seek excitement with a younger man vs. long-lasting love, the dream of most people as they age.
  • An older man  might be handy (stereotype) and be able to fix things around the house for her.
  • The coziness of their empty nest life – she “knits a sweater at the fireside” (another stereotype) and they can go out for drives on a Sunday morning. These are things older people might enjoy more than young people, or that the former have time for and the latter don’t.
  • Gardening – some young people like to garden, but as young adults many don’t have a house of their own or a place to grow plants. When I walk around the neighborhood, who do I see gardening? Usually, but not always, older people! senior-man-gardeningAnd I have a garden now, too, which I started about a decade ago. It’s soothing and satisfying to dig in the dirt, nurturing plants that come up every year, in a predictable cycle. And I appreciate nature much more now than I did when I was young. I pay attention to it now. I even write poetry about it occasionally.
  • A cottage – something my family had for 50 years. 284A cheap vacation, comparatively speaking. Many older people are on fixed incomes, although most 64 year olds who are not comfortable financially are still working.
  • Grandchildren – yes, that is something to be expected at 64 – assuming one has grown children by then – although I have no grandchildren and may never have any. Grandchildren are nice to have, because you can babysit them, enjoy them, but then send them home with their parents afterward! grandma&grandchildrenMost of my friends and contemporaries have grandchildren that they love to indulge and talk about, and show pictures of those sweet youngsters to their friends, that they have stored on their cell phones. I wish I had one or two “on my knee”, to read to, to cuddle with, who would love for me to visit. I do have several grand-nephews and grand-nieces, whose company I enjoy (for a limited time!).

 

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