The REAL Golden Girls

Mom and Daddy

As I age (or should I say, “As I enter my senior years”?), there are three qualities that I desire the most—contentment wherever I am, peaceful living within myself and with others, and the ability to see the good in every situation. What a great way to spend my senior years. What a volume of comfort this would say to those around me living in this world of uncertainty. I have three beautiful examples in my life who have shown me how to age gracefully with contentment, peace, and a positive outlook on life.

My mom turned ninety-one last week. Yesterday she said she was reversing things and would now be nineteen. She could be nineteen, if only her body would cooperate. After two broken hips and a knee replacement, her walker keeps her from moving at the speed that she is accustomed. After Daddy died in ’82, Mom left their beloved Pennsylvania farm of forty-five years and moved to San Antonio to live with my sister and her family. She immediately fell in love with the beauty of the big city lights and found contentment and joy in the hustle and bustle of a busy family coming and going.

Aunt Ilene and Uncle Wilbur

Aunt Ruth and Uncle John

Mom’s stepsister, Aunt Ilene, has shown me how to age gracefully. Mom and Aunt Ilene are nine months apart and first met when Mom was four and Aunt Ilene was almost four. Uncle Wilbur, Aunt Ilene’s husband came back from WWII with a blood disorder that caused him to be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Aunt Ilene lovingly cared for Uncle Wilbur for forty years, lifting his heavy wheelchair and him in and out of their station wagon. I never once heard her complain, and now she has turned ninety and looks forward to hitting the casinos every few months. She comes home tired, needing to rest for a while, with the hopeful prospect of doing better next time. I love that picture of spunky joy and fortitude.

Aunt Ruth was a school classmate and friend of Mom’s. When Uncle John, Mom’s brother, asked her what she thought about his dating Ruth, Mom was overjoyed and said he would be crazy if he didn’t. And now, sixty plus years later, Aunt Ruth has gracefully turned ninety. A few years back, when Uncle John’s dementia started, they came to Texas for a visit. After observing Aunt Ruth’s gentle patience with Uncle John, I made a careless comment to her … “I don’t know how you stay so calm and accept his tirades.” Aunt Ruth twirled around and with a stern look on her face that I had never ever seen before on my sweet Aunt Ruth, she said, “He is the joy of my life, and I am blessed to have him.” That lesson dug deep into me and showed me how to love my husband in everything.

These three nonagenarians continue to teach me life lessons. They have lived long and fruitful lives giving and serving others. All three have approached hardships with a positive outlook. They have given their lives to those they love, and in doing so, have found that true peace and joy that comes only to those who choose to find contentment in every situation.

How blessed I am to have these three precious souls to model the true picture of love.


  1. by Lill Kohler

    On April 19, 2012

    What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing about these women in your life. Just goes to show you are never too old to teach, or to learn.

  2. by Marolyn Hackett

    On May 1, 2012

    Judy, You are truly gifted! You write from the heart,right? This was beautiful.
    This story makes me smile and get teary-eyed too. God certainly placed me i
    in a beautiful family and blessed my niece with your writing ability and
    a loving heart. Love You, Judy.

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