This profile is part of KCUR’s occasional series, Aging in Place. We’re showcasing the many different faces of 64 in metro Kansas City.
Name: Peggy Pape
Residence: Kansas City, Missouri
Occupation: Office manager at Parkville Presbyterian Church for 26 years
What does 64 feel like? “The reality of aging really never came to my mind until my mother’s passing, which was four years ago. My daughter the day of the funeral said, ‘You realize you’re the matriarch of the family now.’ And I decided right then and there I really didn’t want to be the matriarch of the family. I wanted to back up a little bit.”
What’s the biggest surprise or disappointment for you at this stage in your life? “I feel like I’m in a good place in my life. I don’t really feel like I have to necessarily impress anyone. I am who I am. I’m just trying maybe to age gracefully, and not just grow old. I think there’s a real important difference in those two things.”
When do you think you’ll retire and what will that look like? “I really had hoped to work another three or four years because I feel that I do serve a ministry here ... I’d like to stay awhile longer as long as I’m somewhat functional. I don’t multitask as well as maybe I used to.”
Do you plan to spend the rest of your life in the KC area? “I was born and raised in Kansas City, and I lived out of state for about three years and then had the opportunity to come back. I love the city. For a while, the plan was to snowbird some other place. I’m not sure if that’s going to come to fruition. I now have grandchildren here in the metropolitan area, and that’s maybe a bit of a pull to maybe keep my roots here but still do some traveling.”
What’s your biggest worry? “Probably health. I’ve had a couple health situations over the last five years I really hadn’t planned on. I think it’s just trying to stay healthy and do all the right things and maybe make some life changes to help extend your lifespan. I think more of us are very attentive to that than we used to be.”
Do you feel you get the support you need from your family, friends and community? “We talk about being 64 — maybe it is the old 54. You see people of my generation doing so many other wonderful things, starting new careers, starting new businesses. You thought, ‘Well, once you’ve retired, you’re done.’ I think the city offers a lot of opportunities for volunteering and being able to help mentor in areas that you have some expertise. I think Kansas City is a great place to be.”
What’s on your bucket list? “My husband and I have been to 37 countries. And so this summer — my last ‘bucket’ trip — is to Japan. We’re going to go to Japan and hitting South Korea and Russia to add just a few more.”
What do you think is the defining moment of your generation? “I think we’ve made amazing advancements in medical science and technology. If someone had told me I’d be walking around with this little thing we call phones that are basically handheld computers, I wouldn’t have believed that.
“I think we’ve made great strides in a lot of social justice issues - racism, women’s rights. As far as the the sexuality issues, same gender, I think we’ve just come an amazing way. We still have a lot of work to do in all those areas. Just seeing how things were back when I was growing up and today, things have changed that I wasn’t sure would ever change.”
What’s your favorite song? “It probably is an old one, ‘My Funny Valentine.’”
Elle Moxley is a reporter for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.