Sunday, 24 February 2008

Monday Mission -- My 'When Pigs Can Fly' Award

Painted Maypole's Monday Mission is to write an acceptance speech for an award you have been given.

When I was in my mid forties I went back to school, to my local Community College in fact, and took a two year diploma course in Creative Advertising, as it was then billed. The majority of my classmates were the same age as my children; the next oldest in the class was all of 25. There were about forty of us that started and most finished and came away with a diploma and a job. We had a party at the end to celebrate; I did not get there because I was looking after my mother, who was very ill. But my classmates gave me an award in absentia, a humorous one, a certificate that said, in effect, that Mary was off to conquer the world, as soon as she had made JG's lunch, ironed the napkins and taken her father to the dentist.

I loved that piece of paper. I thought I had it safely stored somewhere and was going to scan it into the post, but a short hunt in the obvious places has not turned it up. I wish I had been there to make an acceptance speech, but since I could not do it then, I am going to do it now.

Thanks, you guys. Thanks so very much. I am honoured that you think I have the right stuff, even if I don't have much time left to work on it. And I would like to point out that I have found time to attend pub night (sorry I worried you about my ability to drive home after a few beers; I made it just fine), hang out in the smokers' den and teach most of you sorry lot how to use a word processor.

I know that having a very mature student in your midst has not always been easy for you and that you found my split second schedule and preoccupation with housework a bit weird. I didn't 'get' housework when I was your age, either.

But to get serious for a minute, I hope you get some benefit from hanging out with me these two years. In the classes on demographics I know I sometimes annoyed you when I hissed and complained that the age categories only went up to 60 years old. But you are going to be working in a world where the baby boomers will reach that age, in 2005 and following, and the + 60 category is going to be worth courting. When you have to write copy for 'golden years' seniors, remember me! And don't try to sell the old folks nothing but face cream and power lift recliners. They are people, with a thirst for adventure and fun, love and laughter, just like you. Wrinklies just look old, they don't feel that way.

I came into this program very worried that I would not be able to keep up with you, to learn fast enough and well enough. When I got that sociology paper back with 100% on it, I was very, very relieved and happy, no matter how humble I tried to look. I know you got some amusement out of my fight to memorize terminology and patterns. My short term memory is not so great, these days. But my associative memory is a lot better than it was when I was your age, and I think I found the theoretical stuff easier than most of you. Keep it in mind, when you think your middle aged boss is all wet, that he (or she, not that that's likely) may have a broader view than yours. This means that while you can make a wax doll of him and stick pins in it, do it in private. But listen to him. You may also find that your parents have improved.

It's been a lot of fun, being part of this group. You have all been very kind to me, and thanks, also, for all the help. And I love the certificate, especially the flying pigs, which are very cute. (I have a very good idea who is responsible for those pigs. Prepare to die!)

When our twenty fifth anniversary rolls around, I hope we will have a class reunion and a big party. With beer, hmm? In 2012 you will all be in your forties, as I am now, juggling what I hope will be splendid jobs with a spouse, a family, a mortgage, elderly parents, cars that need servicing, community work and not enough time or energy. I intend to be there, with or without a walker. I might even apply some wrinkle cream in anticipation. And I will come armed with a bunch of certificates that say "Welcome to the sandwich generation, and congratulations on your well earned gray hairs!"

My Grad picture. This is the proof. For reasons which should be obvious, I did not order one.


  1. Congrats, Mary, On your award and your speech!

    Loved your drinking story. :)

  2. Oh Mary. I hope you do have that reunion. You'll have to read this to your friends then. :)

    And I have a feeling you said all of this to them along the way... not in so many words, but in how you lived your life. And laughed over a few beers.

    I raise my glass to you.

  3. LOL I love it---that's awesome.

    I agree with PM that they did know.

    But I do not know why you skipped the photo. Maybe it's too small. You look very proud and scholarly with big smile. I do not see anything tucked into pantyhose? You don't like the man? Oh is it the circle round your head?

  4. That's a warm and lovely letter. But the warmth doesn't change the fact that they would do well to listen to the sage advice you offered them.

  5. SM, as if anyone that age listens to their elders!
    Julie, it's the hair! Ouch! Profile pics tell you things you would rather not know.
    Thanks, you lot. It was fun to write.

  6. I like the picture! It's nice to be able to put a face with the name.