Age Makes No Difference

She was a talented crooner like Crosby, her favorite singer, and was suitably nicknamed
“Bing.” During World War II she enlisted in the WAAC, passing the military’s physical
and mental tests with flying colors. She entertained in stateside music shows selling war bonds
and sang to American troops while stationed in India.

Widowed eleven years ago, ninety-one year old Bing has created a life for herself replete with
people and meaningful activities, following her credo of making each day a happy one.

Bing doesn’t delve much into dredging up memories. “The past is gone, it’s
not going to be here again,” she observes. “What good does it do to think
about the people who’ve died?”

She is also straightforward about dealing with life’s disappointments, refusing
to dwell on adversity. Among the losses she’s had to endure was the death of
her beloved father, only 54, from cancer. Although she is in good health, she
has macular degeneration and a heart murmur and takes eight medications a
day. “Everyone has some sorrows,” she says. “Take life as it is dealt to you.
Go with the flow.”

One of the most important of her needs is to be involved with others. “ I can
talk to anyone,” she remarks, “and I love people.” She also loves animals and
treasures the companionship of her dog, Molly, who has a calm, quiet nature
and has only barked twice in two and a half years.

Bing also relishes exercise. Highly disciplined and enjoying structure, on
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays she works out on resistance machines and
does aqua aerobics at the Clippard YMCA, where she has a host load of
friends. Tuesdays she has a standing date for breakfast with a group of her

She thinks highly of religion and loves her church. Saturdays are spent heading
the work crew at the White Oak Presbyterian Church, and Sundays she
faithfully attends services. She likes young people and used to lead a lively
youth group of junior high kids at the church. “One teen told me I was an
inspiration to her,” she remembers.

Each year she celebrates her birthday with over a dozen friends. Yet few know
her true age -- many think she’s at least ten years younger. When asked how
old she is, she laughs and gives the Jack Benny response: 39. “What difference
does it make how old someone is?” she questions. “I like people for
themselves, for their personalities – I don’t care about their age.”

One thing she has noticed about age. “People are much nicer to me as I’ve
gotten older,” she says, relishing the attention she gets when someone opens a
door for her. In general she finds people kind, even if sometimes one has to
look a bit beneath the surface to find the good in a person.

In 2006 Bing experienced one of the highlights of her life when she and thirty-
two other veterans from Cincinnati were flown to Washington, D.C. to visit the
National World War II Memorial. The experience filled her with pride.

When Bing isn’t busily involved in her exercise and church activities, she reads
ardently. She challenges herself by watching such game shows as Deal or No
Deal or Jeopardy and guessing the answers to the questions.

Bing says she lives one day at a time, following her own advice to enjoy each
waking moment. She has “loads and loads” of friends and almost never turns
down an invitation. “I can get ready in two minutes,” she jokes.

She has wonderful neighbors, her house is paid for, and she’s crazy about her
dog, Molly. “I’m alive,” she sums it up. “Why not be happy?”

Bing Calvert