Nasty Comment Inspires 11-Year-Old’s Business

June 1, 2012

By John Burton

Eleven-year-old Sarah Milne, right, holds a “Proud Old Bat” car magnet she designed in honor of her grandmother, Pat Walter. With Sarah is her grandmother, Pat Walter.

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – Being called an “old bat” would make most people take offense, but for 11-year-old Sarah Milne and her grandmother, it served as inspiration.

Sarah used a recent confrontation when her grandmother was called an old bat to design and sell car magnets with a drawing of – what else? – a cartoon-styled elderly bat holding a cane, proclaiming herself a “Proud Old Bat.”

With the help of family members, including grandmother Pat Walter, who lives in Middletown, and Sarah’s mother Michele Walter, Sarah designed the magnet, is marketing it and has been selling her creation.

The novelty item is designed to be given for birthdays and other milestones, Michele Walter said. So far, they have sold to people giving them to college pals, office co-workers, parents and significant others, “instead of the proverbial over-the-hill,” greeting card or coffee mug.

Michele Walter said Sarah has sold about 40 of the items.

The novelty magnet was inspired when Pat Walter was driving to a family party not too long ago. When she slowed to allow an ambulance to pass her, another driver – a young man angered by her move – yelled from his car, “you old bat” as he sped away.

“When she got to the party she told us all,” Sarah remembered.

“I thought it was kind of amusing,” Pat Walter said.

Whenever she reaches a milestone, such as becoming eligible to collect from Social Security, Sarah now calls her 65-year-old grandmother “an old bat.”

Sarah and her family have established a Facebook page and website for her Proud Old Bat creation, and she had just received notification of her copyright, according to her mother.

“I think she’s learning how to run a business,” Michele Walter said of her daughter’s enterprise.

“I think it’s kind of cool,” Sarah observed, especially as her effort has begun to attract some attention.

Sarah acknowledged some of her friends and classmates are a little bemused by her efforts. “My friends think it’s kind of funny,” she observed. “I don’t think kids my age are interested in running a business.”

Her principal at St. James Elementary School in Red Bank bought one. “He said he would stick it on his wife’s car when she’s not looking,” Sarah explained with a giggle.

Sarah said she likes to draw and maybe would like to follow this up with the image on clothing items.

“She wants to expand on the idea,” Michele Walter said.

“She keeps talking to people about it, trying to pick their brains to find out what’s next,” Pat Walter said.

And that has Pat happy. “This proud old bat is proud of her granddaughter,” she said with a broad smile.



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  1. I am looking forward to buying some of these “Proud Old Bat” magnets. I am happy to have a different option than the regular “over the Hill”. I love the idea of turning a negative to a postive but mostly with a sense of humor.
    The friends and family I would send this too are fun loving and would get a kick out of it. Plus I would send this story to go along for inspiration.
    Sign me up !!!!

  2. Great work Sarah!! I’ll buy a magnet the next time I see you!!

  3. As the sister of the original “Proud Old Bat”, the Great Aunt of the very talented Sarah, and a Proud Old Bat myself, I am very proud of what Sarah has accomplished. I, of course, have a magnet and several of my friends have purchased them to give as gag gifts to their Proud friends also. I’m anxiously awaiting the production of a sweat band so I can wear it to my Spin, Ripped and Kickboxing classes! Old Bats just ain’t what they used to be, that’s why we’re so Proud. Thank you Hon and Sarah!!

  4. Although I have at least 20 years before I enter “proud old bat-hood”, I love the concept of embracing that stage of life. More importantly, I love the creativeness and humor of Sarah Milne. I can’t wait to send the magnets to the special older women in my life!

  5. I would enjoy having an “Old Bat ” magnet. I want to be the first Salt Laker to have one .Wonderful story, great foto! It just sound like fun!

  6. I received the magnet as a gift for a recent significant birthday and I love it and the comments it generates. I told my grandchildren the story of how the magnet came to be and they are very supportive of Sarah. My feeling is that it took a long time to get to this age and I am grateful for the journey and to be a “Proud Old Bat.”



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