The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, April 16, 2002  


Senior citizens living on the Main Line outside of Philadelphia have a reliable driver who will take them to appointments, do their grocery shopping, and run other errands. No, it's not some teenager dressing up his college applications and it's not a kindly minister filling gaps in his already busy schedule. It's Ada Mutch, an immigrant from Scotland, a veteran of the Women's Army Corp., and a retired nurse. Age? 97.

"Sometimes when volunteer Ada Mutch is driving, her passenger will begin lamenting what it's like to get old. 'If they start complaining a lot, and, say, they're 72, I'll say: I'm 90-something -- what are you complaining about?'''

"Don't complain about getting old to Mutch, who at 97 is one of the most active volunteers for ElderNet of Lower Merion and Narberth, a nonprofit group that helps senior (nearly all younger than Mutch) and disadvantaged residents in those Main Line communities.

"Mutch won't tell passengers her age if it will make them nervous. 'But I don't mind telling my age when it's helpful to patients,' Mutch said last week. 'They say, 'Oh, you've given me a new lease on life!' '

"If there really are leases on life, the expiration date on Mutch's probably was left blank. She's like her 1987 Plymouth Reliant station wagon: 178,000 miles and still going."

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