This painting was done several years ago by J’s great aunt, A. It hangs in her apartment at an assisted living center now. We visited A today in Denver, CO. She is around 90 and is the kind of spitfire with so much life left in her that I love to meet.
A has had an adventurous streak her whole life, I’ve gathered. As the youngest in her large family, she was expected to babysit the growing nieces and nephews around. Realizing she was being taken advantage of and wanting more out of life, she joined the Navy as a yeoman during the Second World War. After the war she moved from Chicago to New York City when a job transfer at a tea company she worked for came up. Her family couldn’t believe she would go!
But go she did. And boy did she make the most of it. She was single and told us she was not the type to stay home at all. “I wasn’t promiscuous at all,” she promised us, but A did assure us that she experienced all that the Big Apple could offer this free spirit.
Eventually A met her husband, had four boys (an adventure in itself–she was frequently visited by the Sheriff, she says), lived near San Francisco, CA (where she fed the priests at her neighborhood Catholic church) and ultimately settled in Denver, CO.
Though her wanderlust subsided as she raised her family and set her roots, A’s curiosity about life hasn’t waned one bit. She is active in her retirement community, she wants to start painting again, and she has the most inspiring, accepting attitude towards growing old. It’s women like her that make the prospect of growing old seem undaunting, even graceful.