View Full Version : The wisdom of the older generations. Who else likes talking to the elderly?

2011-03-16, 12:36 PM
While waiting to get my blood drawn I had a great conversation with a WII vet. He told me about WWII, how he met his (then) 15yo wife in Ireland and brought her home, how his ship was almost sank by a komicasi (sp?) pilot who hit his ship, about how he was present at the surrender of Japan, how he was in the final attack on Japan, how he fought in Europe and Africa as well. It was so cool. Shame I did not have more time. :smallbiggrin:

So, who else enjoys hearing the stories of the older generations? Before they fade away from current memory. :smallfrown:

2011-03-16, 01:25 PM
I'm doing my elders clinical rotation for nursing school right now. They definitely know some fun stuff.

2011-03-16, 01:45 PM
I have spend hours talking about taxonomy with my grandpa, so I definitely enjoy talking to people outside my age-range. ^_^

May be influenced by me knowing what taxonomy is for years before our teachers had to use half an hour explaining the rest of the class what it meant.

Fun times. :smalltongue:

2011-03-16, 01:51 PM
I love talking to the elderly.

My Great-Grandpa was 93 when he died, and I was only 12ish at the time. Now that I'm much older, I regret more than anything not appreciating him when he was here. Back then, all I wanted to do was get away from him so I could get back to doing whatever dumb, inconsequential kid thing that was important to me that week, and now I have a billion questions I want to ask him - I could spend countless hours listening to the things he has to say.

And it's too late.

2011-03-16, 02:15 PM
(Note that my definition of 'the elderly' is pretty broad. I'm interpreting it as anyone older than me.)

I do, depending on the topic. There are some problems in life that people older than me have already figured out. I'll gladly listen to them. Mrs. Valadil and I were thinking of starting to look into considering buying a house. I'd much rather have advice from someone who has owned a few than one of my friends who just bought his first. Even if it's not advice it can be entertaining. At a Roger Waters concert this summer, my friend and I chatted with this old dude who told us all about Pink Floyd's blues roots. It's one thing to read about a band's influences on Wikipedia, but talking to someone who actually witnessed it firsthand is infinitely better.

On the other hand sometimes older folks just get bitter. At Arisia this year I went to a panel on gaming as you get older. I was mostly interested in figuring out how to find time despite the increasing density of my schedule. I work full time, go to the gym 3 days a week, and just joined a band. That's enough to keep me from GMing a weekly game and I don't even have kids yet! I want to know how people keep gaming once they have a few kids running around.

There was some talk about that, but most of the focus was about old games. People there weren't interested in trying 4th ed. They wanted to play their original edition of Chainmail, but couldn't convince the youths at the game store to run it for them. The panel devolved into listing ways to force your game system of choice onto another GM instead of trying to learn something new. Needless to say, I bailed early and would do so again.

2011-03-16, 02:21 PM
(Note that my definition of 'the elderly' is pretty broad. I'm interpreting it as anyone older than me.)

Same here. And anyone younger than me is a whippersnapper who should get off my lawn.

2011-03-16, 02:35 PM
Yeah, I love talking to older folks.

Apart from when they try and set me up with their Children/grandchildren. Usually because that then kills any chance I have with said descendents. it's just embarrassing for both of us.

2011-03-16, 03:18 PM
My granddad once saved the lives of twenty men with a single bullet.

He shot the chef.

Oh granddad. :smallbiggrin:

2011-03-16, 03:20 PM
My granddad once saved the lives of twenty men with a single bullet.

He shot the chef.

Oh granddad. :smallbiggrin:


Please do share the story.

2011-03-16, 03:33 PM

Please do share the story.

Not sure if any of it happened, but he's always coming out with these anecdotes about his time stationed in Egypt. Can't think of any more off the top of my head, though, and you rarely get a story to go with it.

Still, funniest bloke I know.

2011-03-16, 05:20 PM
I love talking to the elderly, especially about our mutual work; there are a few people here at uni who have been working in Unix since it was introduced, for example. It's just awesome hearing about how what I've come to take for granted used to work and how it's not all that different.

2011-03-16, 05:43 PM
Not necessarily more so than other people. The chief advantage of speaking to the elderly is they tend to have more time to accumulate stories. I like stories. But, and it's a big but, they also tend to (in my experience) greater prejudices and wider gaps in their understanding of the world. It tends to balance out in my mind, and the scale is tipped entirely by what kind of person the folks are and the fact some people flat out live better/more interesting lives than others.

I mean, people can talk about war stories as an example, but I've got a friend in his 20s who has a brilliant one about falling out a hole left in his truck by an RPG. I prefer his company to most of the septagenarians I know, but not to my grandpa, who has some brilliant tales about chemistry and growing up as a refugee.

Plus you mayflies all look pretty young to me.

2011-03-16, 08:52 PM
Sometimes elders have interesting things to say. Other times they're just senile and rambling on about stuff I have no interest in. I find it hard to relate (and feel understood by) people much older than me most of the time.

At the same time I do not understand 'kids these days' and feel the same way trying to relate to anyone significantly younger than me as to anyone significantly older. Sometimes I think I need to buy a rocking chair and sit on a lawn holding shotgun yelling about how "gosh darn kids these days don't got no respect!" :smallcool:

2011-03-18, 11:51 PM
I always feel weird talking to the elderly. They always seem to prefer anecdotes to theory. I'm no good at that. I mean I don't know how to properly tell a story or how to properly listen to a story. I like to talk about music and games and politics and religion and whatnot.

2011-03-19, 05:00 AM
i like talking to my grandfather
a lot
one of the best parts is when we talk about how our musical interests occasionally collide
as in
we're both into early rock and roll (like chuck berry)
we both love simon&garfunkel
and he's had a pretty cool life

i also like talking to my cousin who is like 70ish now and worked with Judas Priest and produced the album British Steel
he is pretty awesome

2011-03-19, 06:18 PM
Yes, talking to the elderly is fun - I often find that I get treated really well by elderly people I meet, just because not many people my age take the time to talk to them and really listen.

One of the fun things about my great-grandfather is listening to him talk about rhyming slang, which we youngsters don't really use anymore, but he can rattle off sentences which are incomprehensible until explained :smallbiggrin:

2011-03-19, 06:22 PM
My grandad, who died a couple years back, once told me how he was going to play Pro Baseball for the New York Yankees before being drafted into WW2.

2011-03-20, 10:12 AM
Back in the Fall a group of other History grad students and I from ECU met with the survivors of the destroyer-escort USS Reynolds (DE-42) and did an oral history project.

It was a somewhat sad but truly awe-inspiring event. When we started talking to the coordinator for the event (one of their daughters), there were eight survivors left. By the time we got around to the actual day, there were only three that could make it. :smallfrown:

We spent a few hours interviewing these guys, and heard stories that ran the gamut from scary to hilarious. They told us about a war patrol (they were anti-submarine specialists) where they and their sister-ship met with a Japanese sub, but their hedgehog weapon jammed and they were left defenseless. Or when they were at Iwo Jima and narrowly avoided a kamikaze who pulled up from his dive and then winged over into the CVE they were escorting (USS Bismarck Sea). But then they also talked about their other duty, which involved picking up downed pilots from the water and then "ransomed" them back to their carriers in exchange for ice cream (at a rate of 20 gallons per man, I think).

2011-03-20, 10:57 AM
I've never really been around the elderly, and when I have I've found myself feeling rather uncomfortable. I'm generally uncomfortable around a lot of people I don't know really well though, so that may contribute. The only experience I've had with the elderly would be with my great grandmother, but she's really odd, forgets everything, and is just plain mean. :smallannoyed:

I've met my great aunt twice and I've really liked her. I think the last time I saw her I was 8 or 9 years old. My grandma calls her a lot, so I've said hello and such (I live with my grandparents). I'd love to see her again and talk to her, we're starting to worry she may not have much time left because all of her sisters have died recently. :smallfrown: Hopefully this summer I'll get to see her again, after all this time. I'm sure she has some interesting stuff to say. =3