INKLINGS: The Inspirers
I’ve always liked older women. Good thing, especially now that I “are one!” As a young girl my favorite author was Agatha Christie and her purported favorite detective Jane Marple was my special delight. Miss Marple, who was born at about age 70, spent her next half century via Christie’s pen, outwitting not only St. Mary Mead miscreants but Scotland Yard as well. It tickled me then to realize that one could inspire even as they aged. Imagine that!
My own early life was peopled with older women as both my parents were younger children in large families and I had a plethora of aging grandmothers and aunts. One of my favorites was Aunt Reg (Regina), who as a young woman always worked long and hard as a farm wife and longed for the time and energy to read and travel. So in her golden years, when I knew her, she always had dishes piled in the sink while she had her nose in a book. She was also always ready to go anywhere, anytime – from around the corner to around the country. “Just let me get my hat,” she’d say, when asked out.
Probably the older woman who inspired me the most was my mother. She lived to be 92, most of that time vigorous and ready for any new challenge in any new day. At the age of 80 she drove – alone – from Summerville to California and came back through Ohio three months later, visiting relatives all along her route. I’m not quite an octogenarian, but can’t imagine myself repeating that feat right now. Mother walked a couple of miles a day almost to her ninth decade, and created dozens of paintings and as many handmade quilts, almost all after she was 65. She always wanted to do both but never had the time or the money to pursue either until she retired. She had children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and never forgot to send a birthday or Christmas card to any single family member. Rarely idle, even in her 90s, she made the most of the time the Lord allotted her.
Another older woman, Doris Mahon, has recently become a new inspirer to me. She’s the mother of my son-in-law Todd. She just turned 90 and lives in a retirement home in Mt. Pleasant. My sister Cynthia and I enjoy taking her out to lunch and the last time I called to set up a new lunch date, she had to page through her daily calendar through several weeks before she could fit us into her social schedule!
When she realized that she needed assisted living and determined where she would be best located, Doris made up her mind to live every day at its fullest. She figuratively jumped in with both feet and got involved in the bridge games, teas, shopping trips, concerts and probably most every other activity at her new home. I admire that so much. If I’m given nine decades, I hope to stay as active and involved as these ladies. I like to think I’m in the autumn of my life – and autumn has always been my favorite season.
What I want to do is make this autumn the warmest and most colorful yet.