Wednesdays with Marjorie
"I cannot imagine my life without Marjorie, so I urge everyone to be open to intergenerational friendships – age is irrelevant, and you could be missing out on so much laughter and fun!"
Our Programme Business Manager, Lucinda Crowther, talks about her intergenerational relationship with her friend Marjorie and encourages everyone to look past age when it comes to forming friendships.
They say friendships can often be found in the unlikeliest of places. For me, that was a park bench in Regents Park, London.
It was a sunny Sunday in June, and my husband and I were looking for a spot to enjoy our morning coffee in the park. The park benches were all taken, so we asked a woman if she minded us sharing her bench – “of course, happy too” came the reply. After a few minutes she asked if I knew which bird that was sitting proudly on the lake. I didn’t, as it was one of the less usual suspects, so then ensued a lively conversation on visiting birdlife! Before we knew it my husband was tugging my arm saying he was going to leave us to it – nearly an hour had passed! How had that happened? When we finally decided it was time to let someone else have the bench, the woman – who I now knew was called Marjorie – gave me her card and said it would be lovely to stay in touch.
A couple of days later I looked at her card and thought, yes, I’d like to see this woman again. So I called her and that was the start. Since then, we’ve seen each other nearly every week. I don’t work on Wednesdays so we meet every Wednesday for coffee, on “our bench” in Regents Park.
So what’s different about this friendship? I’m in my late 40s and Marjorie’s in her early 80s and we ‘found’ each other during the global pandemic.
I’ve often wondered would I have made this amazing, rewarding friendship if it was not for a global pandemic and my job at the Centre for Ageing Better?
Why? Well, firstly the global pandemic meant that I have been in the park much more than I ever have. Asking to share a bench with an older person was quite an ask, as this was still at the scary stages of the pandemic. We had only been allowed to actually sit in the park for a couple of weeks, when previously we could only walk or exercise for up to an hour, but not sit or linger.
Although scary, life was much simpler than before in many ways. So an act of kindness from Marjorie was so gratefully received – along with the opportunity to talk to someone else. My life was also a lot smaller – no travel, no visiting anyone, no shops, restaurants, bars, cinemas, museums... This meant that I could fully give my time to this blossoming friendship when before I would have been just ‘too busy’.
Secondly, working at Ageing Better has also opened my eyes to the real benefits of intergenerational friendships, along with the more open mind to see older people in a much more positive light than most media outlets would have you believe. At Ageing Better, we want to see more support for the kind of community spaces that allow intergenerational friendships to thrive – from parks like the one where Marjorie and I met, to volunteering opportunities for all ages.
Marjorie is wonderful. We laugh and put the world to rights on a weekly basis. I see a lot of myself in her and she the same. She really is a beacon of light in my life in what has been a challenging year for all. She has lived in the same flat in Marylebone for nearly 60 years, what she doesn’t know about London is not worth knowing. Here we are, 12 months later, and even with the long cold winter and subsequent lockdowns keeping us physically apart at times, we continue our wonderful friendship. We are now planning trips to things we want to do together in London, for when we are all finally released from lockdown.
I honestly look forward to Wednesday each week. We have realised that we will never run out of things to talk about – the conversation flits about like butterflies. We often both forget what we were talking about or can’t remember a name of a person or a place – mainly due to my brain fog from menopause and her brain fog from long-COVID– but we both just laugh at and with each other.
I cannot imagine my life without Marjorie, so I urge everyone to be open to intergenerational friendships – age is irrelevant, and you could be missing out on so much laughter and fun!