Day 331. The Latest from Grandma Joan

Wednesday, January 19, 2012

I haven’t mentioned my Grandma Joan’s blog for awhile. For newer readers, my grandma likes to write, so this summer, I created a blog for her. She sends me her pieces and I put them up on the blog for her. What I love about her blog is her perspective. She lives in a retirement community and she remains very active, both in her community, and around town. Those of us this side of retirement, unfortunately tend to not think about the older folks in retirement communities as having vibrant lives, but I’m telling you, they do. It really parallels well to dorm life in college. It’s people who have rooms, or apartments, in halls with others their age, there are people who organize activities for the residents, they all eat in the same cafeteria, and they don’t go to class. All of the regular social dynamics are there, and Grandma Joan shares great anecdotes. Plus, she’s just a really good writer.

The text of her latest pieces are below. Here is a link to her site:


by Joan Houghton

The weekly calendar at the Retirement Community said, “Don your golf duds and come to the wine social”.  Quite enthused, she soon delved into her closet and came up  with an old golf sweater.   She wondered whether she could still wear it—yes, it was the old style of being designed for comfort rather than the modern cling-y fashion.

Next, she found a visor in a drawer and it almost matched the sweater.  Now, with her old (only) pair of pedal pushers and adding sunglasses to the get-up, she would be all set.  Oh, come to think of it—a golf glove used to be a necessity.  Sure enough, there was a light-colored regular glove to tuck in her back pocket a la Tiger Woods.

All the old golfing memories came rushing back: the cool fresh air and sunshine; the good times with the girls on the course; the laughter and camaraderie when they could occasionally get away from family responsibilities….especially remembered were the times they enjoyed doughnuts and iced tea on the fifth tee (if there was no one waiting behind them).

Then there were the delightful times golfing with another couple,  not only fighting the whiffs, water,  and sand traps, but the highway hazard and darkness.  Dinner afterwards at a restaurant usually followed, making for a very special night out.

Actually, the memories were clear and terrific.  It didn’t matter that they were not especially gifted golfers.  Ah, those were the days!

Now, it was time to go to the social hour.  Thud!!  Where were the other golfers?  In fact, where were ANY golfers?  Did she have the wrong day?  Did she dream up the guidelines?  Was she the only one in golf attire???

The answer?  Yes, she was, except for one other with a golf t-shirt on.  Oh dear—embarrassing!  One by one, the sunglasses disappeared, then the visor, and then the memory vision abruptly left her.  She questioned if she was just an old woman  re-living her childish “dress-up” days.

The next day some of her friends confessed that they had decided (because of the sunglasses and visor), she was having eye trouble. Oh Mortification!!!

Thoughts occurred: was she TOO fond of thinking or “living in the past”?”

No, the simple LESSON is: For the next event, ask around to see if ANYONE ELSE IS PLAYING DRESS-UP.  Maybe, they, too, would discover that IT IS FUN TO BE WHO YOU AREN’T (even for a short time).



by Joan Houghton

It’s tough to lose a dear friend, especially when it happens so fast  with a seeming urgency that took over.  A strange, rare brain disease swooped in and she was gone in six days.   How could that happen in this modern medicine day?

She was my next-door welcoming neighbor when I moved into the retirement center.  She wasted no time in greeting me and within two seconds out came her little teasing comments, “Well, I suppose the corridor had better get used to some wild noisy partying now that you have moved in.”  Luckily, I chuckled and did not take offense and we were off to a neat  and delightful friendship.  

Over the months the teasing continued in different modes, but there was time for many more serious conversations too.   We each encountered various minor health challenges  involving  brief acquaintances with canes and walkers; and  we encouraged each other along the way.  It was fun, also, to keep tabs  on the various activities  available, and always a reason for a good laugh or two.

One could not help but notice the strong devotion she had toward her family of four  grown children who were very attentive and livened many an event.

She was also devoted to her church (being the chief money counter on Monday mornings),  and to the local library which she had helped start  many years ago with door–to-door petitions.

She had  just enough quirkiness to be really unique and fun.

One of my favorites was her habit of lining umpteen sweaters up in her closet and then wearing the nearest one to the door each day (no matter the weather).  Her system was simply to rotate their position.  Then she was never one to stand in her closet and wonder what to wear that day.  What a wonderful way to save time (and thought)!

Then  there was the item of the padlocks.  Each Melrose resident had a storage unit in the basement and they all had padlocks on the outside; but not Sandy.  She put a pen in the closure instead.  It was such a simple solution:  so quick, so practical, so easy, so trusting, no fuss,  and so ENDEARING .

The idea keeps recurring: It is the DAILY missing of someone who becomes engrained in your daily routine.  I shall miss my every-day call to deliver her mail  when she was recovering from hip replacement.  I would open her door and say “Mail Call” and she would beckon me to come in and we would  have a brief re-hash of the day’s events.

Then there would be the DAILY report to each other to say we would miss dinner that night because of a social or family obligation….so not to worry.

What a good heart and soul and delight!  Yes, I shall miss the DAILY-NESS of it all.


1 Comment

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One response to “Day 331. The Latest from Grandma Joan

  1. What an elegant writer! Thank you so much for sharing your grandma’s blog. I enjoyed it very much, and now I’m going to have to add her blog to those few I follow as well. 🙂

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