As I am, to my surprise, closer to 90 than 80 — September marked my 85th year stumbling around this troubled world — I was delighted to find Mr. Will devoted thought in his May 9 op-ed to turning 80. For my part, most of the time, say 80 percent, I do not think about my age or potential infirmities (demise is just a rumor) but on the things I want to do but have not done, because of post-retirement sloth: My memoir to my children is only partially written, my refurbishing of a lovely Sheaffer Imperial pen is incomplete, my gardening plans shuffle along like infirm snails, my list of places to visit grows longer as the pandemic lingers, and my concern for my wife and partner grows as we age.
Nonetheless, despite great technological ignorance and some increasing lack of stamina, I continue to enjoy myself and my privileged life situation. Whoever said “age is just a number” was, in my opinion, 80 percent right. The other 20 percent sneaks up on one in tiny bites, bits and bytes. So, here’s to being 80 (plus) and turning 90 with a bang and a blast.
David E. Silber, Bethesda
As a liberal, I can admire without any hesitation George F. Will, a giant of conservative journalism. And I am confident that many fellow liberals feel the same way. Mr. Will’s commentaries and articles have consistently lifted political analysis to unmatched peaks of literary elegance. More important, they convey an overwhelming appreciation of the gravity of ideas, data reverence and reassuring moral dignity.
In a problematic era of shifting political paradigms, Mr. Will has remained steadfastly true to his convictions. This man’s 80 years have been a true gift to the nation.
Ioannis Kessides, Chevy Chase
Congratulations to George F. Will on turning 80. He might be interested in a few of the things he missed from one who turned 90 last month.
He didn’t learn about the Great Depression from being there. He wasn’t in the school lunchroom to hear President Franklin D. Roosevelt ask Congress to declare war on Japan. He doesn’t remember when D.C. had blackouts, the tops of Capital Transit buses were painted black to make them harder to see from the air, and mothers balanced food-rationing points. He probably didn’t learn about radio by building crystal sets. He may not remember new cars being delivered with planks for bumpers, to be replaced by the dealer when the factory could get chrome to plate metal ones. He couldn’t cast his first presidential vote for Ike, and Joe McCarthy may not have seemed very important at the time.
Among the biggest things he missed were the sense of belonging and commitment that most Americans had during World War II and the relief that came when it ended. But, of course, people five years older than I am have very different memories than mine.
Thornton Parker, Rockingham, Va.