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