I’ve been waiting all my life to be a little old lady.
All the women I admired when I was growing up were little old ladies. There was my witch. There was Mama H. There was our landlady. There were the two honourary grandmothers who lived across from us (one on each side – I was the mouse in the middle). There was my first librarian. Little old ladies all. Independent, husbands long gone or invisible to me. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to spend my afternoons sipping tea and gazing out the window.
Then there were all the nursery rhyme old ladies. There was old mother Hubbard who lived alone with her dog who she couldn’t feed (remember her cupboard was bare). There was that old woman who lived in a shoe and had too many children (were they all hers?). There was that old lady who came to ruin because she swallowed a fly. There was brave mother goose writing down all those rhymes so that the little old ladies would not be forgotten.
And the Fairy tale witches – they were always little old ladies. The witch from Hansel & Gretel. The witch in Rapunzel. Snow White’s queen turned hag. Baba Yagas. Independent women all. With their own houses and no need of anyone to support them. They lived where they wanted and did what they wanted.
I want to go back. I want to be that 7 year old sitting on the stoop shelling peas with her grandmother. I am tired of being in the now. I want to go back to when I had all the time in the world stretching out in front of me.
And if I can’t do that I want to be a little old lady sipping tea and reading books and (occasionally) scaring the children with tales of witches.