Laverne's View / Senior Living

Laverne's View: A Weekend with Sam

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I am a high energy person. You’d be hard pressed to find me sitting still any longer than I have to, so if I tell you I’m exhausted you’d better believe I’ve been covering far more ground than usual.

My ten year old granddaughter, Sam, visited me for a weekend and begged me to take her to the mall.

“You know I hate malls, Sam,” I argued. “They exhaust me.”

“Please, Grandma. Pulleeeease. You can sit while I go into the stores,” she pleaded.

That’s not going to happen. I can’t allow you to wander through shops yourself. I’ll consider taking you if you promise that when I say I’m tired, you’ll respect my wishes to leave. You know my arthritis rebels when I walk distances further than from my bedroom to my refrigerator. 

“I promise. I promise.” 

“Okay, I’m trusting you to keep your word.”

Her face lit up.

The last time I visited a mall was to buy a birthday gift, and that was only after I had searched a dozen online sites and six free-standing stores. When I must shop for seasonal clothing I enter the mall wearing blinders, walk directly to my destination, purchase what I need, pivot, and leave. No trying on clothes or sniffing out the food court.

My first torturous experience with Sam was on Saturday, when my Britney Spears wannabe begged for 4 inch purple high heels, a see-through belly blouse, glitter makeup and a push-up bra. It didn’t matter that she had nothing to push up. She actually thought I’d buy her story about everyone in her 5th grade class wearing those things.

What she got from me instead was a purple plastic see-through pocket book that I filled with lip gloss, pink glitter nail polish and a mirror encased in pink fuzzy fabric.

Afterward, she talked me into taking her to a Chinese buffet. I could feel my ankles starting to swell even before the soy sauce touched my lips.

Next, she dragged me to an animated movie. I’ve not enjoyed animated movies since Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, back in the forties. This day was no exception.

Finally, she coerced me into taking her to a roller skating rink where I wore dark sun glasses to filter out three and a half hours of flashing neon and strobe lights, and stuffed small pieces of hamburger roll into my ears to block out blaring sounds of disco that kept beat with my throbbing head.

The following day we found ourselves at the mall again. Until that day I had kidded myself into believing I knew how to say no. This time she was focused on coercing me into buying clothes. She must have had a divining rod under her shirt because she didn’t waste a single step as she walked, with purpose, from store to store. And at each store, she selected skirts that revealed every inch of thigh, and tops that exposed her navel and wide expanses of midriff. We agreed on nothing, but it was clear that her clothing selection was based on her desire to attract boys.

It was at that point that we sat down on a mall bench while we talked and I painted her fingernails. We observed skimpily dressed girls who sauntered by, and I asked Sam what she believed boys thought of girls who dressed like that. I agreed with her belief that boys loved to look at girls dressed that way. But, I further explained, they liked them for all the wrong reasons.

Her head tilted. Her eyebrows furrowed. and I suddenly found myself in the awkward position of having to explain what those wrong reasons were. Since I’ve never been one to mince words with my grandchildren she got the gist of my message even before her nails dried and suddenly it was apparent that she no longer viewed me as a fuddy duddy, because she now deferred to most of my fashion suggestions.

I drove Sam home Sunday evening, and I’m not even remotely embarrassed to admit I was thrilled that the weekend was over. Our time together was great fun and highly rewarding on many levels but, nevertheless, when I got home I crawled up the front steps, took the receiver off of the hook, slid under the covers and blocked out sights and sounds of the world. I was emotionally and physically drained, and happy in my knowledge that I had five whole days to recuperate and regenerate until next weekend when I would have a chance to do it all again, with another grandchild.
Editor's Note: Laverne H. Bardy is a syndicated humor columnist. Visit her at She's the author of “How The (Bleep) Did I Get This Old?”  Her articles appear regularly on She blogs for the and is also a columnist for,, and Copyright, Laverne H. Bardy, published with permission.   

Laverne H. Bardy’s humor column, Laverne’s View, has been syndicated with Senior News Wire Services since 2004, and is read in newspapers throughout the United States, Canada and India. She wrote for 50 Plus Monthly, a regional New Jersey newspaper, where loyal readers laughed at her humor from 1999 to 2009. Currently she blogs for Huffington Post’s “Fifty” section, and writes for us here at, as well as and

Laverne began her writing career in the mid 1970’s, when she was asked to write and edit Hotline, the Parent/Teacher newsletter at the school her children attended, in Livingston, New Jersey. During that same period she wrote one play, collaborated in writing another, and worked with the Livingston school system’s psychologist to write a series of Behavioral Modification skits that were presented to parents and teachers of the student body.

Laverne wrote human interest stories for West Essex Tribune and The Newark Star Ledger for a stretch then went on to join the staff of Northern Horizon’s newspaper.

Some publications Laverne’s work has appeared in are Reader’s Digest, Mature Living, Montage Magazine, Northern Horizons,Woman’s Hockey, Big Apple Parents’ Paper, The Daily Record newspaper and New Jersey Jewish News. Anthologies include Chocolate for a Woman’s Courage, Rocking Chair Reader, Bedpan Banter, Story House, and Craft of the Modern Writer. She is currently working on a book, How the (Bleep) Did I Get This Old?, a compilation of her columns, life stories and ramblings. Laverne was interviewed by Bottom Line Retirement, twice.

When she is not writing Laverne gives talks and humorous readings in coffee shops, libraries, and for various organizations and workshops. Some of her topics include: Growing up in the Fifties, How to Get More Humor in your Life, and The Joys of Aging. Talks about the joys of aging don’t usually last more than thirty seconds.

Laverne was nominated for publication in the 2006 edition of Marquis Who’s Who of American Women.

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