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|GR: Ripe Old Age
Written by Valerie Mc.
(8/10/2003 10:49 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR:Ripe old age of 55?, penned by Barbara
I just saw a statistic that the average life expectancy in the United States 100 years ago was only 49. While some folks lived to their 70s and 80s, a lot didn't.
Those lines had always impressed me with how short an adult life could be expected. And even if Mrs. Dashwood lived past 55, she would be a lot "older" than an Englishwoman of the same age today. No real dentistry, bifocals, arthritis meds, prosthetics, cosmetic surgery...
I'm also reminded of a line from Little Women in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, that a spinster of 30 might have 20 more "useful, happy years" in which to grow old gracefully.
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