I've just ILLed Agatha Christie's The Mirror Crack'd because I began reading a terrific post and saved it for a later time because I wanted to read the book before reading the blog post.
I was very struck right at the beginning because Miss Marple has been stopped in her tracks because of the ramifications of older age. I checked the publication date, and it is 1962 when Agatha was 72, three years younger than me. She was likely beginning to feel some of those things that seem to happen around 70.
Miss Marple has been warned off gardening by her doctor who comes by three times a week (think of that!), so she sits and looks out the window. She is resentful of the person she has hired to do the work, because he doesn't do that work. He is busy with his own garden.
And then she ponders:
One had to face the fact: St. Mary Mead was not the place it had been. You could blame the war (both the wars) or the younger generation, or women going out to work, or the atom bomb, or just the Government - but what one really meant was the simple fact that one was growing old. Miss Marple, who was a very sensible old lady, knew that quite well. It was just that, in a queer way, she felt it more in St. Mary Mead, because it had been her home for so long.
She goes on to note the changes that have come, and the one in particular - a "glittering new supermarket - anathema to the elderly ladies of St. Mary Mead".
"Packets of things one's never even heard of," exclaimed Miss Hartnell. "All those great packets of breakfast cereal instead of cooking a child a proper breakfast of bacon and eggs. And you're expected to take a basket yourself and go round looking for things - it takes a quarter of an hour sometimes to find what one wants - and usually made up in inconvenient sizes, too much or too little. And then a long queue waiting to pay as you go out. Most tiring."
I have always rather prided myself on being "modern" and accepting the world as it is, not the way it was in the "old days". But as I read the above in The Mirror Crack'd, I found it a bit too close for comfort. I have found myself bemoaning a bit about some trends that upset me. I, being a health food hippie from way back, am dismayed by how much candy and junk food children eat now. I have to keep such thoughts inside instead of passing them along to anyone because times do change, and of course, may well change back, but this is the new generation, not mine. The mothers and fathers do a lot of things way better than I did. Kids are busier than mine were. There are more activities available. It all feels too much to me, but I am also not in my thirties or forties. Seventy-five is much slower and quieter than my younger self. And I shall strive to be that "sensible old lady" like Jane Marple.