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By Roz Rogoff

Going gray

Uploaded: Jun 5, 2011

I was at the Farmer's Market a week ago when a friend I hadn't seen in a while came over to chat. I was surprised by how much he's changed. The first thing I noticed was he's gone completely gray. He's about 10 years younger than I am, so I didn't expect his hair and mustache to have turned gray since I last saw him.

My hair is starting to turn gray now too. It's not completely gray, but I have a pronounced streak of gray in the front. I can't kid myself anymore. I'm a senior citizen, and I look it.

The photo of me in this blog was taken in 2004 and is due for an update. I emailed my Editor some new photos I took last week. The original photo was taken by Don Schinnerer when I ran for DSRSD the first time. I used it again as my campaign photo last year when I ran, but I don't look like that anymore. My hat still looks the same. Tilley hats don't age, but I'm afraid the head underneath is has grown older.

A close friend of mine was prematurely gray. Her hair turned gray in her mid-thirties, but she dyed it for years. She stopped dying it about ten years ago, and it's almost white now. We are the exact same age. Her birthday is 8 days before mine in the same year, but she looks much older.

A few weeks ago KCBS News Anchor Dana King went through a spectacular on-screen transformation. For years she never seemed to age. When I moved here in 1997 and saw her on the local news, I recalled seeing her on a magazine-type show in Los Angeles in the 1980's. She looked exactly the same. She hadn't aged at all.

Then all of a sudden her hair started turning gray. It was almost like a time-laps sequence. On each day's newscast her hair would be a little grayer until her whole head was covered in snow. She followed up this transformation with a story on why going gray is so difficult for women.

It is scary growing older. It's one of those things we put off or deny or try to avoid. I attended my 50th High School Reunion in October last year. It was held a week after I turned 68. I was very nervous about it. I don't know if I was more worried about not recognizing people or not being recognized.

Well most of the people I knew recognized me. They said I looked exactly the same. Gee I hope I didn't look this bad back then. Some people turned out completely different from what I remembered and some seemed completely unchanged.

The men didn't age as well as the women for the most part. Maybe that's because the women took better care of themselves and/or dyed their hair. Most of the men didn't have much hair left to dye.

My mother is 95. Her hair is gray now. It's not white or silver, it's a steel gray. My mother's hair stayed dark into her mid-80's. She never dyed it. She didn't need to.

She used to have this obsession about plucking gray hairs out of my head. "You have a gray hair," and she'd pull it out, "Ouch!" I'd shout.

That was when I was in High School. I can't start pulling my hair out now, and I don't plan to dye it. I will let nature take its course and accept the encroaching gray. There's always my timeless Tilley hat to cover it up.


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