10 May 2015

Aged P

When our friend, Stephen Jarvis, and I were talking Dickens, I mentioned I called my mother “Aged P.”
Mom and I used to debate unresolvable silly subjects such as how to sort laundry and the taste of that god-awful ‘dessert topping’ called Cool Whip that made me question whether my mother had stock in the company. Another topic was the term ‘senior citizen’, which I dislike with a passion.

In exasperation, she once asked if I preferred ‘silver fox’. Since she sometimes called herself ‘your decrepit mother’, it wasn’t much of a choice, although Most Venerable One sounded fine to me. I fell back on Great Expectations where John Wemmick calls his father ‘Aged P,’ short for ‘Aged Parent’. That tickled her, either that or she was chortling about my terrible imitation Wemmick accent. It was fun and I have fond memories of those debates.

She enjoyed that cognomen. It sounds odd to most, but I’m convinced my mother always wanted to be old. She was one of the last generations that revered and venerated the old, the aged, the elderly. She long looked forward to becoming the family matriarch with a gaggle of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, which unfortunately never came to pass. But Aged P suited her quite well.

I’m not the only one who likes Dickens’ Aged P. So does Martin Chilton, Culture Editor of The London Telegraph, writing about his favourite Dickens character. You'll enjoy his take.

One last point: I haven’t mentioned how much I miss my Aged P. I'm afraid I do.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Aged P
Aged P 1861 by John McLenan
courtesy Dr Philip V Allingham
The Victorian Web


  1. A Broad Abroad10 May, 2015 01:27

    Happy Mother’s Day to all, as we remember and celebrate our own.

  2. Leigh, love your discussions you had with your mom. Especially about Cool Whip. But what I really want to know is if Velma is a mom. And, if so, Happy Mother's Day to her.

  3. Hi ABA! Be sure to tell your mum I said hello!

    Good question Paul. Sometimes guys shout "Yo, Mama" at her. She was once in an ugly bar fight where ruffians were indiscriminately screaming "You mother" so I'm not really sure.

  4. My mom claimed to be 21 until the day I turned 21. I can still ‘feel’ the last hug I gave her. I held her extra tight because something inside me told me I might not see her again. Call me delusional, but I often hear her voice in my head and feel her presence. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

  5. Vicki, I don't think that's delusional at all… that's how people live on through our memories. Hugs and happy mother's day to you!

  6. As for reering our elders, statisticians say people lie to the Census, claiming to be younger than they are, but in the earld days, people claimed to be older...

  7. That makes a certain amount of sense, Rob. The flappers may have started a focus on youth, but our generation exploited it with a vengeance.

  8. Aged P, huh? Can't say I'm looking forward to that moniker. Luckily, my kids just say, "Mommy, Mommy!" for now.
    @Leigh, your mom sounds cool.
    @Rob, I do think our society's obsession with youth makes for a lot of bad decisions.

  9. Thanks, Jeff. Good to see you!

    Melissa, thank you. My mom was a character! And I don't blame you for shying from Aged P at all!

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