Today my table mate Dorothy turns 96. She has no children, just a niece on the east coast, so six of us have grouped together to give her a little surpise birthday party.
Dorothy has all her marbles and more energy than I have. She walks two blocks every morning, reads the Wall Street Journal to keep up with all her stocks, and dresses up every night for dinner, looking like a living doll.
All of Dorothy's outfits are color cordinated and have matching costume jewels. When one of us compliments her on an outfit ,she will proudly announce that it is one she made herself, having sewn all her clothes for work. She must have done a good job because she retired in 1974 and is still wearing those outfits she sewed herself.
Dorothy has been a widow for 30 years. She moved in to Active Senior iving when she turned 90 because her driver's license was up for renewal and she feared she would flunk the exam. " I'm a good driver," she said, " but I can't remember all those rules in the exam book, so guess I will sell my car and use the funds for cabs." .. which is what she did and does.
It's been my pleasure to sit next to Dorothy at dinner now for two years. She tells me wonderful stories about growing up on a farm in Oregon, a farm with no running water, no indoor plumbing.. real hardships but she says, " I had such a great childhood, one of 8 kids, and life on the farm was always fun."
I think back to how frail my own mother was at 95 and am amazed at Dorothy - who it happens has the same name as my Mom.
Dorothy may be old enough to be my mom and I think that when I interact with her I always have that in the back of my mind..it could be my mom sitting there. Wish it was.
So tonight we will party and Dorothy will turn 96 and she will know that here at Active Senior Living she has a lot of people who love her and are onvinced she will make it to 100! And, yes, she read my book and told me she laughed and laughed and also shed a few tears and loved it. Sure made me feel good!