I’m Clara May and you might think May is my last name because very people call Miss Wilson. It’s usually Miss Clara May. Before retiring, I taught high school English. They call me a spinster because I’ve never married. To me it’s a disparaging label. I’m not some crabby old maid who spends her life being bitter because life has passed her by. It was my choice to remain single. I had many offers of marriage but turned them all down. And life has not passed me by.
Out of all that I have experienced, my views on life are formed from regular church attendance, the easy-living life of the roaring 1920s, the scarcity of the Great Depression, friends and neighbors who never came home from wars, and the fight for the right of women to vote.
I’m old in years, but don’t call me an old lady. Most people my age are lost in fear of the world becoming unfamiliar. So they run to hide in their history, forgetting that they’re still alive. But they’ll run up against the ultimate unfamiliar: death. I remember the past but I don’t live there.
You’ve never seen me in a pair of pants and probably won’t. I can’t say never because I may surprise you one day. I wear sturdy black oxford shoes with a Cuban heel, white in summer. I never liked spike heels or pointed toes. They make your calves look great, but I don’t need to impress any man. People like me for who I am or they don’t. You’ll see me in dresses, usually floral and always just below the knee. On Sundays in the summer it’s a white or light-colored dress with a lace collar and in the winter black or brown with a lace collar. At church I wear a hat and veil. They are small and unassuming, except on Easter Sunday, when they’re grand.
I’ve often been asked for my secret on aging. The answer I want to give them is, I’ve made it this far because I’ve not had a husband to drag me down, but I don’t, unless I’m with the bridge club. I believe the secret of aging well is to laugh a lot, a daily gin and tonic, and never saying if only or remember when. And remember you can’t stop change. Even death won’t get you out of it.