I have met many wonderful people while stopping at various floors in an elevator and if I had more time this week I would have told my fellow rider the following facts.
My life has been a series of miracles, and the fact that I am reaching my 75th birthday this week is another one. I am one of the most fortunate women in the world because I married a man that became my best friend. We spent almost fifty years together before his death.
My parents loved and respected each other every day of their fifty year marriage. They adored me, my brother, and two sisters and we were surrounded by family and a network of the most loving and generous people you could ever meet.
Because most of our parent’s friends did not have children, we were showered with love and affection from all of these “Damon Runyon” characters who affected the way I see the world and the way I relate to others.
I grew up in the ghetto of Chicago and went to public school with every ethnic and religious group you can name, and I consider this my greatest blessing. No one in my family was taught to be prejudiced. We were taught that everyone was to be treated the same and rich or poor did not matter. I was called, “Miss United Nations” by my mother’s friends because my friends came from all over the globe.
I watched as many different nationalities immigrated to the United States after WWII. These people were so happy to be in America because they had opportunities here that they could never find in their home countries. They made each day count, they were thrifty and they learned English as fast as possible.
I married my husband while he was in the Army and we were separated for 18 months while he was stationed in Germany. That time in my life turned out to be the worst and best time of my life. I learned things you can’t learn any other way and it taught me to appreciate a wonderful husband while he was overseas. In time, I came to realize that my husband was the mirror image of my amazing father.
We moved to California in 1965 and he started a business that we both worked in for almost 50 years. Our children grew up in Whittier and things have come full circle. I moved into the first home we owned and when the kids come to visit now, all the memories come flooding in.
I adored all my children and they all seem to feel the same way about me. I have been a widow for almost seven years and I can tell you that I love remembering all the happy events we all shared here in this wonderful home.
I know this for sure, this is a short trip. If you’re lucky, you may live 75 to 80 years. If you’re luckier still, you will be happy, healthy and have a meaningful relationship with your spouse and children. You will be affectionate with the people you admire and never forget a kindness. In the end, it’s the little things that really count. These things you cannot hold in your hands, but having them makes your heart sing and everything becomes possible. All I know is that I keep waking up every morning and now I’m 27,375 days old!