Stories from seniors

Jam of the Week: “Edit the Sad Parts” by Modest Mouse

At the age of 24, much of my life has involved interacting with people older than myself. However, up until recently, I hadn’t had the chance to enjoy much time with seniors.

My grandparents had all passed away before I was a teenager. I have no memories of my grandparents on my father’s side of the family because they had both passed by the time I was an infant. My grandfather on my mother’s side died before my family moved to central Illinois.

I have a few fond memories of him on his farm in Indiana. He told my sister and I some stories about World War II. He rode with us on a tractor at the farm. My grandmother, who passed away several years later, even made a children’s book about an old tractor that sat in a timber on the farm for us kids.

I have few memories to cling onto, but I was saddened by the fact that I never had the chance to have a relationship with my grandparents as an adult. As nice as those few stories and memories are, any wisdom they may have tried to pass on to me can only come through my parents. I went on through high school and college mostly interacting with seniors through church. In the back of my head, I always carried that regret that I wouldn’t have a chance to truly know my grandparents.

However, my work has introduced me to many wonderful seniors across Hamilton County. Through interviews for stories, attending events and club meetings and just going about my business around Webster City, I’ve finally had a chance to experience the perspectives of many seniors.

The most recent opportunity has been in preparation for an event on June 24 which will honor some of the oldest seniors in Webster City. Organizers of the 90+ Club asked Anne and I to visit with some of those seniors and share their experiences with others.

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure what I would get out of the interviews. I was completely pleased with the first couple I talked to. They were sharp as tacks, had traveled from Peru to New Zealand and many places in between, and probably get out to walk the local trails more than I do.

While talking about the places they traveled, they mentioned they had driven through Alaska in trailers with the rest of their family. Now that more of their family is grown up, they said it’s not as easy to organize such a trip. However, they said they were glad to have had the opportunity to take the trip with them all.

On the drive back to the office, that sentiment stuck with me. Even if I didn’t have a chance to know my grandparents all that well, I have a great family who I will share many more great experiences with as long as I commit to spending time with them. It might be harder now that I’m an adult, but I can make it work.

I’m looking forward to many more great experiences with seniors in this community and others in the future.