Brass to Gold to Platinum
Elita Sohmer Clayman

On a television show, a young man was bringing a bouquet of flowers to the young lady he was taking to dinner. He looked at her all dressed up and appearing so pretty and said “Bringing these flowers to you are like bringing brass to gold.” He meant that the flowers were inexpensive like something that is made from brass and she was as beautiful as gold. That is the way I interpreted its meaning.

Many times in our lives we start out with brass and it turns into gold. Many things we do emanate from inexpensive things to become golden to us. So many folks start out to ballroom dance by taking one or two group lessons with lots of other people they do not know. Then they advance to perhaps taking lessons with only one partner and by themselves with their teacher as their partner. Finally all this turns into something golden. Gold being the high standard of jewelry other than platinum is what we want when we buy what is called good jewelry. What we want when we dance is to be golden in our perception of our self and our partner. We want other people to look at us and say ‘wow, they dance so well. They must have been dancing for years.’

I have been to many dances where you see a couple has advanced so much since the last time you saw them several months ago. When people dance and others are not dancers, they are looked upon as being unique and exciting. They are admired, applauded and appreciated.

John Travolta was admired in many movies because he danced well in them and people thought of him as the young kid in Welcome Back Kotter, an old television show. He was on The View recently and said he turned down several movie scripts in the past that went on to be big hits and he was sorry he had not taken the opportunity to act in those movies. He said he did not think he could do the show or movie and later on realized he would have done well in them and he certainly regretted it. The new movie Hairspray was given to him and at first he turned it down and then knew it was for him and lo and behold it is a mega hit.

Some of us turn down doing things because we feel inadequate to handle it now because we are seniors. I have always felt that the word did not conjure up a very impressive meaning about us. When I was in high school, I could not wait to become a senior. When I was in college, I could not wait to become a senior. As I approached the so called age called senior citizen, I did not like that word or connotation. Senior meant in school language coming to the end. In becoming a senior citizen we are approaching a new beginning. A beginning of wisdom and exploring new situations.

We seniors should be called something else. We could be named elegant elders, respected retirees or super sages. That would describe us better than senior citizens. Senior citizens mean we are oldsters and citizens of this earth. We are people who have reached this age hopefully with some wisdom, and financial security. Some have become grandparents, others travelers and others content to excel in a hobby like ballroom dancing. Of course, many are content to sit on their tussies and watch television and munch and crunch and become sedentary.

That is not what we elegant elders want to be known as. We want to be recognized as respected sages with lots of wisdom earned through living and loving and liking and doing. We desire to be looked up to and not looked down at because we are older. In Asian countries, elders are more revered than in our country. Here many seniors are looked upon as burdens to their families rather than exquisite persons of vision and knowledge, and adored for their memories they pass onto their children and grandchildren of things from the past.

When I was a youngster, I never cared about hearing much of my parents’ past or the ‘olden days.’ Now the olden days are my past and my children are very interested in hearing stories from the past. I am the last surviving member of my immediate family which consisted of mom, dad, brother and me. They are gone and I have stories and family tidbits stored in my senior brain. My daughter loves to hear all the information I have about these events. My nephew who lives in California wanted me to write a family history he could pass on to his child.

Memories need not be enhanced. Most of them are so interesting but when you look back on them they were nothing of worth to you at that time. Now it appears to be bringing brass to gold. The brass being the past and the gold being the now and the future. By retelling these stories of the passage of time, we relive those moments and they may not have been so golden then but retelling them now makes it an appreciated happening. We can learn from the past and can beautify our present and our future by remembering how it was then. We did not have control over things then as we have now with all this modern technology.

My older grandsons, age fifteen and twelve can go on their computers and converse and play games with friends. They are in their homes and their friends are in their homes and the two meet via the computer. Who would have thought this amazing happening would happen? When I worked fifty years ago as an administrative assistant to the president of a printing firm we were amazed when they got the first Xerox copy machine. The artist who worked in our place need no longer make two copies of any artwork. Before the Xerox he needed one for his office and one to send to the client. So he labored many hours to make two identical copies. When the Xerox machine was delivered, we all stopped to admire this gorgeous piece of machinery and Howard, the artist said Amen. His work was easier, more precise and less time consuming.

A modern miracle had happened at this printing facility. I remember the day I spent twenty-five dollars and bought my mom and dad an electric can opener. It cost so much money they did not want to accept the gift. We oohed and ahhed over the cans automatically and neatly being opened. My dad took the empty can and turned it over and opened the other end just for fun - to see it move.

We were so thrilled at these small wonders. Look how things are now with computers, ipods, DVDs, videos, cell phones, etc. We super sages and elegant elders can help our children, grandchildren and friends by relating what life was then. We survived, we were happy and most of all we respected each other and our elders. Now we are the elders and we are elegant and super and we want our younger population to realize that. We were brass and now we are golden and we have lots of time left to continue being golden. When we dance before younger people, we show them that gold is better than brass and age is ageless.

Dear Seniors or shall I say Elegant Elders, Respected Retirees and Super Sages, go forth and show the younger ones who will be one of us sooner than they realize that we are still valuable, vigorous, vital and full of vision. We have the vision for now and the vision of the past. Both the now and the past make us golden leaping onward to platinum. In jewelry, platinum is the highest. We are the highest and shall remain so all the days of our lives.

Elita Sohmer Clayman
Baltimore, Maryland
October 2007

Keep on Dancing


Published by René Zgraggen
Montgomery, AL