Tuesday, January 4, 2011

When I Was Four Years Old

Too funny to not share, this scene from this morning in the hot tub at the Y:

Sweet old lady soaking next to me: "When I was four years old I was sent away to overnight camp, and I had to share a cabin with three other girls I did not know, and they all knew how to swim; that did it, I learned to swim really quickly!"

Me: "I bet you are glad you did now"

Old lady: "Yes, I really enjoy swimming . . . I am 80 years old, you know! How about you, are you in school?"

Me: "Oh, no, I am too old to be in school . . . "

Old lady: "Do you work, then?"

Me: "Yes, actually I do a lot of work with elders, I help train care partners of persons with Alzheimer's"

Old lady: "Now don't you give me that Alzheimer's!"

Me: "I can't give it, but I sure wish I could take it back from folks who have it . . . "

Old lady: "When I was four years old I was sent away to overnight camp,  and I had to share a cabin with three other girls I didn't know, and they all knew how to swim . . . I learned to swim really quickly"

Me: glancing at other woman, smiling on my left. She signals to the old lady to get out of the hot tub. I realize she is the old lady's care partner . . . :)

Old lady: "Ok, got to go. I hope you didn't mind my rottenness."

Me: "Are you kidding, I enjoyed speaking with you very much."

Old lady: Happy, waves at me as she climbs up the stairs of the hot tub.

A sweet moment that made my morning :)


  1. I love that story! Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Thank you Jess.

    I left a comment on your private blog by the way . . . Thank you for inviting me into those precious moments with your grandmother!

  3. This is so delightful! A sit-com couldn't have done a better job writing the script.

    So interesting for you to meet this woman in the context of what you do.

    Interesting interchange too for me to read as I most often think of experiences with the elderly with failing memories as difficult (through experience with my own parents when they were alive). This had the refreshing flavour of an innocent conversation, the type you have with children, so open and engaged.

  4. Yes, the key is to be totally in the present, and drop all ideas about self, ours and the other person. A wonderful practice and why I am now devoting most of my time to this work.