We’ve been interviewing a lot of people in their late 80s and early 90s for the November Advocate.

They grew up in an East Dallas with unpaved roads and cotton fields all around. They see Dallas in a way younger people cannot. Their insights are invaluable.

Plus, getting to know them can highlight our own clunky social behaviors. While talking with a group of women Tuesday, I asked, “How long have you guys been doing this?” They all looked at me a little funny. Quickly I realized why: they’re not guys, they’re ladies. Even though I can’t seem to lay off saying “you guys” — I said it two more times during the interview — they’re far too polite to point out my gaffe. So maybe, maybe hanging out with nonagenarians could help smooth out some of those rough edges.

Lela Faye Tidwell, who lives near White Rock Lake, is one of the women I met Tuesday. She was the executive assistant to former Dallas Mayor Jack Evans for over 20 years.

While she and I were chatting, she hollered to one of her friends: “How’s Max?”

The woman misheard the question and replied: “Eighty-eight.”

“Huh?”

“EIGHTY-EIGHT!”

“Well, that’s not old,” Tidwell said. “That’s just old enough to have some common sense.”


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