Mix-vah lights. December 2013, Ohio.
The latkes were made. The house was cleaned. The guests would arrive in an hour. And then I realized I didn’t have enough Chanukah candles!
What’s a girl to do? Specifically, a girl throwing her annual Hahn-ukah party for the first time in teensy-town Ohio?
"Go to Walmart" is not the answer. Customer service will blankly ask what Chanukah is, and then point you in the direction of the dining room aisle.
The answer is: “Improvise,” or trust that your dear, creative boyfriend will. The mix-matched lights we had all along were just right, perhaps even more perfect in their imperfection. I think Dibi would approve.
Stories To Share: Helping Seniors Write About Their Lives -
When I emailed October’s AARP post to my family, my stepmom Beth replied:
This is so Mom. My brother put together the book about Mom’s life and he read it to her. It was really a nice thing to do, but later, Mom asked me who was going to see it. I asked why, and she said she didn’t mind family seeing it, but she didn’t really want her friends to read it because it wasn’t really who she was. It made her seem too perfect and that is not who she is… Exactly what you said… I wish she had someone to tell her stories to. She still protects me, I can tell.
Beth (pictured here, at the end) is quite possibly the most caring caregiver I know, so it means a lot to me that she was moved by the piece. I love how these writing workshops, brought to life by the amazing Kate de Medeiros at Scripps Gerontology Center, give older adults the freedom to be who they really are, in that moment. There’s no expectation to be a previous version of themselves, to tell the stories that have defined them in the past. I feel lucky to be involved first-hand in such a progressive project — and to have the opportunity to write about it for AARP.
Fridays in the park. July 2013, Manhattan.
Before I left New York, Arthur and I had a photo shoot. My dear photog friend Briana met us for Mister Softee and a stroll — a typical summer visit.
The pictures make me melt. I’ve been keeping them to myself, scrolling through the folder from time to time when I should be reading or writing or studying for midterms. But tonight, on the third birthday of Arthur & Bernie, I figure it’s time to share.
I miss these Friday park sits, but you know what? They led me right here.
Taking in notes. September 2013, Ohio.
Every Wednesday and Thursday, I help out with writing classes at a nursing home near campus. Participants share stories about their past using different genres: first-person memoirs, third-person narratives, letters and poems. It’s not easy, and that’s the point. We challenge older adults to think, to reflect, to present their work. Why? Because we know they can. Read more about the innovative program in my October AARP post.