Kathleen Norton

The way we were (and still are!)

Posted on: March 3, 2011

As beefcake photos go, it was not the most revealing.

The subject was covered from the neck down in pants, a winter coat and a scarf.

He also sported minor jowls, a head of hair that is surely dyed and lines around his eyes that crinkled like tissue paper.


He looked so good that I did not mind if my neighbors saw me standing at the mailbox gawking at Robert Redford, an AARP Magazine cover boy.

Normally, I would stuff the magazine under my jacket, run into the house and say loudly, “Look! They put this stupid thing in our box again by accident!’’

Then my husband would say, “Guess that AARP card in your wallet is there by accident, too.’’

But not this time. There was no discussion at all. Not with those blue eyes staring back at me from the front page.

Who cared if anybody saw me at the box as the music swelled inside my head and Barbra Streisand began the lyrics to “The Way We Were.’’

Me and Bob were in a time warp, and there was no escape.

It was the 1970s and I was one of three teenage girls huddled in a tiny bedroom, plotting a huge undertaking:

Convincing our mothers that we were old enough to see the new Redford-Streisand movie.

That was Plan A.

Our Plan B was the usual – fib to our mothers, sneak in and see the movie anyway.

It was rated “M’’ for mature audiences, which meant you didn’t have to show any proof of age but you had to be ‘’mature,’’ which was up to your parents.

Up to then, we were seeing movies that featured cartoon characters, talking or flying cars and singing nuns.

Now we were asking to see a movie that might have a scene where a man and woman were in a room with a bed.

Our mothers surely did not think we were “mature’’ enough to handle that and they were already mad about one thing or another.

So they did the worst thing that mothers can do. They conferred with each other.

There’s only one thing worse than a suspicious mother: A suspicious mother who calls in reinforcements.

We don’t know what they said to each other, but our imaginations ran wild.

One mother might say she’d heard there were love scenes involving Robert Redford. The second mother would confirm this. The third mother could suggest that the girls were forbidden but the three of them should go and not tell.

We were in a panic. What if that really happened? Now we were afraid of Plan B (fibbing and sneaking) because we may run into our mothers.

Talk about a pickle.

As expected, we were told we could not go. We enacted Plan B anyway. We figured Redford was worth the risk. And he was. That smile practically melted the theater screen.

Whether our mothers snuck around on us, too, we never found out. But I sure hope so now that I know what it’s like to raise teenagers.

Today, everyone in this story is on the AARP mailing list – mothers and daughters alike – and history is repeating itself.

We’re all in a trance, this time at our mailboxes, thanks to Robert Redford.


12 Responses to "The way we were (and still are!)"

Next we will find Bruce Springsteen on the cover. But I’m fine being in the same graduating class with RR and the Boss!

The Boss was on the cover last year.
He still rocks!

Is that ‘rocks’ as in ‘chair?’

Bruce may be on the cover of AARP but he’s every bit a rocker still! Ooooo same for Robert!

I understand about mooning over Robert Redford – even now. Simon Baker reminds me of a young RR – and he’s my age. I’m sure that in a few years, I’ll be mooning over him on AARP mag. Blue eyes and all.

First, I have to go find last month’s issue to see Bruuuce. Then I am going out to buy Vanity Fair as I hear that Edward Cullen is on the cover…….

Put on your glasses! It said Bruce was on the cover last year. As for Edward Cullen…he’s a bit cold, don’t you think?

Hey, I caught Kirk Douglas on the Oscars the other night, and all I could think of was the way he was…way back when. (OK, so I’m older than you people.)
As for me, I’m grateful to be able to remember the way we were while looking forward to what we still can be.

Very profound, Mrs. T.

Robert Redford, a Calgon moment and a glass of wine, need I say more?

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