the case of Bevil Waters: married agian at nearly ninety
For a long time, I was frustrated by otherwise well informed persons who repeatedly mistake the average age of death with life expectancy – who expects to die at infancy ? The truth is, most people expect to live as long as their ancestors and other realtives – often, in my case , into the late nineties and even over a hundred – We are not, in fact, living longer than our ancestors, we are servivng long enough to rerach old age more – and that is quite a different story !
Take, for example, my ancestor Bevil Waters : he was said to be over ninety when he remarried; he lived on for at least seven years – and, though he was my oldest known ancestor, he lived at during the colonial persiod of American history. I have two great grandparents who were ninety five, one ninety, another 88 & 11 months exactly, as well as many others in their late sixties, seventies and eighties ; two were hit and run victims, but both close to sixty (one in her alte fifties, the other in his mid sixties ) ; nor is this patern unique to my family – far from it.
Longevity is easy to achieve: even many who died of cancer – sad as it is – were already old ; averages should never be confused with facts – there are too many misleading statistics , too many variables – and even, sometimes, hidden ‘surprises ‘ – facts recorsded where few might search for them …