Role models abound

I’m old. I want to be older, but only if I can age like some of my new role models.

Who are they? Two women, now in their early 90s, who have been friends for more than 65 years; a couple, ages 77 and 82, former international teachers who are now both playwrights; the former director of Pima Council on Aging,who didn’t retire till she was 82 (that’s not for me); and a physician who’s dedicated more than 40 years of his life to cancer research and prevention.

I have a dear friend who came from Germany to the United States, post World War II, when she was around 5. Maybe I remember the day she arrived in first grade or maybe I only think I do. It doesn’t matter. We’ve known each other for nearly 65 years.

She attended our 50th high school reunion in Connecticut yesterday.

“What a hoot!” she emailed, along with photos of hardly anyone I recognized.

Who are these old folks at my 50th high school reunion?

Who are these old folks at my 50th high school reunion?

They looked so old, even the one woman whom I envied back in high school. She was beautiful. She became an attorney. I have no idea what her life is like now. I’m happy with mine.

Women friends are part of my extended family. My old friend and I will get together in New York come Thanksgiving, as we try to every year. We always laugh, tell stories, and regale each other with different memories of our shared childhood.

The two Tucson pals I recently interviewed remind me of my friend and me, although we live thousands of miles apart. The Tucsonans (one a native who attends all the University of Arizona football games with her friend’s son-in-law) both still drive. They go out to dinner and see movies. They laugh — a lot. How sweet, smart, supportive and funny they were together. The hour I spent with them was a joyful experience.

I met the teacher couple at our local Starbucks. They walk three miles daily, ending their outing by sipping espressos. They’re the best of friends — both love movies, attending and writing plays, acting, directing, art, life and each other. And they’re so cheerful, positive and open.  I love hanging out with them.

The artsy couple whose apartment feels like Upper East Side New York. They're that cool!

The artsy couple whose apartment feels like Upper East Side New York. They’re that cool!

Genevieve, my 92-year-old elegant Maine friend who died a few years ago, once said: “Sheila, you’re a bit of a shaman. You make things happen.”

As I grow older, I hope she’s right.





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4 Responses to Role models abound

  1. sydvinflynn says:

    Great article. Thanks for putting us in it. Love, S and V (PS I am just 77.)


  2. Gwen H. says:

    Enjoyed your remarks about role models. It’s really good to read about positive people making contributions to the world and enjoying life as they get older, when so much of the world seems full of gloom and doom. Thank you!

  3. sheilawill says:

    You’re welcome Gwen! What other way is there to live than to be positive as we age? As you well know, we could be gone, but we’re still here. That reality is striking to me every day.

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