My Aunt Joyce
My Grandma Corinne
Grandma Corinne was my step-grandma, but I still hope her spirit and genes morphed to me somehow. She lived to be just shy of 100 - died, I think, about four months before that birthday. Yet, she was always cognizant of what was going on around her. She was fully engaged in the life of her family. Yes, she needed help with stuff -- I used to take her shopping and had to help her in the dressing room at stores and write her checks for her -- but she knew what she wanted. She was also active at the care facility she lived in -- when I was home, Grandma Corinne would invite me to come over for "senior citizen aerobics." Seriously! No, it wasn't what you might think aerobics are, but hell, she still did them. More exercise than I was getting at the time...
My Great Aunt Prudence
Aunt Prudence was my mom's aunt -- she lived most of her life in Arizona - moving there from the Midwest. Like Grandma Corinne, she lived to be just shy of 100. I didn't see much of her -- in fact, very little of her, but she would write back when I wrote her letters -- which was huge for a youngster who liked to write. Even though I didn't have a lot of one-on-one contact with her -- some of my cousins did. One of my favorite photos of her was taken at the nursing home she lived in toward the end of her life -- she was playing cards and her nails were polished, make-up on and a smile on her face. I should note here that she came from my grandfather's side of the family -- the non-Alzheimer's side. However, seems to be her brain served her well, even when though it went through the normal senior aging.
My neighbor, Dorothy
Technically she is not my neighbor anymore, but I grew up in the house next to hers, where she lived with her daughter and husband. My dad and stepmom still live next door to her. Dorothy was the librarian at my high school. As a huge book lover, the library seemed like the perfect job to me. I remember working in the library as a student -- not for pay, but just to work there. Loved it. Remember Marian the Librarian from "The Music Man?" That's Dorothy. I would have horrendously overdue books, but Dorothy would sneak home a book for me to read if I needed it for class, and then sneak it back. She's 90 now -- still sharp. It's a joy to go see her when I am home.
I will think of others in my life, both men and women, who have made a difference for me and illustrate how to make the most of your life in the time you have. This is just a start.