The other day I discovered I was having an anniversary this month, or maybe I should call it a birthday. I’m not sure, the only thing I’m sure of is that I’ve not celebrated this date ever, and it’s been nineteen years. Nineteen fairly good years. Oh, a few downs, but many more ups. I’ve gotten more grandchildren, retired from nursing, written a book, and moved from suburbia to downtown Chicago. I’ve attended a host more plays and concerts than I ever did in my working life. I’ve read many more books, frivolous books, that is, books that were not about nursing. I’ve also taken more trips, because there’s so much more time. All in all, life’s been good in spite of never having celebrated this date.

So why didn’t I celebrate before?

First off, I didn’t know about it until a few days ago. Reason enough, I guess, to not have celebrated. But even if I’d known, what would I have done? I can’t imagine telling my husband that I have this anniversary to celebrate, that does not involve him, but would he please take me out to dinner? He’d look at me with that “what now” look and leave for coffee.

Secondly, even if I had known about it, I’d say I haven’t celebrated this date because it has had no particular significance for me. You know the dates that have real significance—like the day you were married. Forbid, either one of us ever forgets that. Forgetting is tantamount to rejection and no one wants that at our age. Or like the dates that you had your kids, but then, now you’re celebrating their birthdays, so those don’t really count as personal anniversaries of your delivery room visits.

So, why am I sharing this with you today? Because I want to celebrate. Just once. I won’t bore you with this again. But it’s a worthwhile event to note. Especially since I’ve done something for nineteen years that you maybe did at one time for a few years, but gave up long ago. In fact, some of you have chided me for being outdated and not keeping up with current trends. For making sure, through my correspondence,  that all my friends, business associates, and others know that I’m old.

So, how did I find out? Last week, I spent the week, and I mean forty-plus hours trying to get photos off my iPhone. In some ingenious way, I’d synced the photos from my computer to my phone when I’d intended the opposite. And the photos were taking up so much memory that I was getting hostile messages to increase my memory for lots of dollars. So while I communed with my computer to solve this problem, I spent mucho minutes clicking on every possible icon and exploring where each one led. I deleted cookies. I deleted cache. I deleted files. Eventually, I’m ecstatic to report, I got my photos deleted off my phone and recovered my memory capacity. The hostile messages stopped.

And the fun outcome of all this foraging on my computer was finding out that, after I broke up a lengthy liaison with Juno (we got our first computer in the early 80s), I started my electronic relationship with AOL in September of 1995.

So, there you have it. Happy anniversary to AOL and me.

Eat your heart out Yahoo, Comcast, Gmail, iCloud, and others. I’m not ready to break up. Not yet, anyhow. After all, we old folks like the familiar feel of keyboard keys knowing what they’re doing and where they’re going. We like living without the frustration of having to figure out new ways of composing, sending, saving and downloading. We like the memory of being told, You’ve got mail. We old folks simply like hanging out with friends our age.


The cake is baked, the nineteen candles are burning. Come celebrate with me.