I hadn’t seen Trudy for a while, but she was excited when I walked in. I am always amazed by her memory–the first thing she asked was about my trip to Roanoke. I had gone home late last week and she remembered! Earlier last week I had gone to visit the Chancellorsville battlefield with my civil war class. I sent her a post card and she told me how she had gotten it and was glad to receive it. The postcard had Stonewall Jackson on the front and we talked a while how I had seen where he was shot and killed. She shared what she had learned in school about the Civil War and it was neat to see how much she actually remembered. After catching up for a while, we went to play Scrabble in the game room. We came to a couple standpoints throughout the game but she always came up with a big word to help solve the problem. We ended up finishing the game with a few letters left we weren’t able to use but nonetheless had a fun time. We went to her room after to talk a little more, and she showed me a sheet she had gotten from a friend that told a story of an old Indian legend and how those in the tribe were taught to respect their elders. She told me how respect is what a lot of people today lack, and if her mother was still around, she wouldn’t have any part of it. I had to leave after that to get back to classes, but I’m looking forward to going next week!
On this stormy day we drove over to visit our grandmas and I found Trudy eating lunch in the cafeteria. Due to a longer visit today we were able to go play Scrabble in the common room. We don’t talk much while we play, just because I think we’re both concentrating on the game. I need to especially to hold my own (she’s so much better than me!). I kept only being able to come up with 3 letter words while she was spelling out 6 to 7 letter words. But I guess they say with age comes wisdom! We finished the game and I had to go catch my ride but she said she was going to stay in the activity room to wait for the director and that today they were going to play cards. I’ve always been interested in learning to bridge, I asked if maybe she could teach me, but she said she used to play that long ago and doesn’t remember anymore. I probably wouldn’t be able to remember how to play at 93 either!
Today I visited Trudy for the first time since spring break. Not a lot had changed on her end but she did notice my tan. I was more than happy to share the details of my vacation in Mexico and she was interested in all the things I did. My reminiscing about my spring break led us to get into a discussion of her favorite vacation spots growing up.
Some of her favorite vacations that she remembers were her family trips to Virginia Beach. She shared how her whole family, often including her cousins and aunts and uncles, would all pick one week out of the summer to head to the shore. I told her how that sounded like a blast, but at the same time very crowded!
Today we sat in her room, and didn’t have a lot of time, so we didn’t get into our usual scrabble game. We talked some more about her jobs that she had all her life (she only had two total) and retired about 30 years ago from her seasoned position at Dominion Resources. It was ironic that she mentioned Dominion because in business class the week before break the president of Dominion Resources came to talk to us about his company. It was neat that I knew enough about Dominion to relate to the things that she was telling me about her old job details. I always ask her advice for what I should major in and each time she tells me to be a teacher. Each time I tell her I wouldn’t really like being a teacher, but she still persists!
On a rainy Monday I went to see Trudy. I arrived a little earlier than normal and got there while she was eating lunch. There wasn’t a chair for me, so I waited in the hallway in the meantime. She was glad to see me as normal and we had gone a little while without visiting due to a virus that had broke out at the nursing home.
She said she had chili for lunch, and proclaimed she didn’t get why it was called that when its really actually spicy and warm. We laughed and that and then went into to her room to talk. Someone was using the scrabble board, so instead we decided to catch up instead. Her birthday had passed earlier in the month and she had turned 94! She was delighted when I handed her the flower I brought to her, she promptly told me where to put to assure that it got proper sunlight. I’m pretty sure I made her day with the little gift, and it felt great to know that she appreciated my thoughtfulness.
She was in a particularly talkative mood spent a lot of time talking about her nine brother and sisters that she had growing up. She was the third youngest and the only one still alive today. I find it remarkable that she has lived as long as she has and still has a positive outlook on life. Being an only child I couldn’t begin to comprehend what it would be like to live with so many other people in one house, she assures me there was never a dull moment, and she was never alone. I asked her if any of her brothers, which she had three, had fought in any of the world wars. Being a history buff, I thought it was interesting to find that they didn’t fight in any of them, but her nephews were in the navy for WWII. It was neat to talk to her about what she remembers from the war.
Next week is spring break, and I was sad to tell her I wouldn’t be visiting but would be sure to try to send her a card from home to let her know I said hello and remind her to water her flower!
Today was my first visit with Trudy for the spring semester. She was surprised to see me since I showed up on a different day than I normally do. I walked in and the look on her face was priceless! She showed me the cards that I had sent her over break and how she had hung them on the wall. I was happy to see that she appreciated my effort and that she knew that I was thinking of her.
We talked for a few minutes in her room then went on to do our normal routine – play Scrabble.
Honestly, I was truly amazed the first time I played with her. For a ninety three year old woman she has a vocabulary bigger then some fourth years I know! Mid game we discussed what I did over break and all the goodies we received and as old people love to talk about, the weather! While we were playing someone came in and started playing to piano so we had live music that sounded great!
Trudy has never been married and doesn’t have any kids so I really feel like I fill an important part in her life by visiting her. She also shared that her birthday is coming up so I’m checking with the nursing staff to check with her diet to make sure I can bring her a goody bag with some candies and a card. I can’t wait until I go visit next Friday! Until then I’ll be reading the Scrabble dictionary!