Empty Nests and Loaded Canoes:
A Graduation Trip

By any measure, it had already been a year to remember. We had not one, not two, but three graduations: daughter, Sarah, from college; son, Chris, from high school; and Mary and I from “kids living at home.” Our nest was now empty for the first time in 22 years. Some families might travel to an exotic locale, visit Disney World, or buy something significant. But, we thought, what better way to mark this passage than by camping in one of the world's most beautiful and pristine places? So, we obtained the permit for an August trip into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and headed for Minnesota . . .

However You Celebrate It:
A Dirty Old Ladies’ Valentine’s Day

It all began with a trip to the post office. The lion’s share of our mail is junk, and what isn’t junk is bills. Once in a while, though, I get something I actually care to open. So trust me, when I saw the envelope, one corner emblazoned with a pink sequined heart, and my name and address penned across the front in a flowing hand, I stopped dead in my tracks. Pour moi? . . .

Friends with the Elderly:
Saying Goodbye to Bertha

As you may recall from the Winter 2010 issue, Bertha and I began our friendship a couple of years ago at a holiday sing-a-long that my daughter and I organized at a local seniors’ residence . . . I found myself thinking quite often about the plight of the elderly and what we in the next generation can and should do to help. With Bertha, I had a gut reaction to her situation—that she didn’t get out much—and I tried to do something about it. It was probably not as much as I could have done, but she certainly benefitted from almost anything I did for her. Spending time with Bertha was time-consuming and sometimes even frustrating, but it was a boon, really, to both of us. If I could relieve the doldrums of old age for her in some small way, even for a short time, life was good . . .

Real People Empty Nesting:
Tobey Dichter: Founder of Generations on Line

When Tobey Dichter viewed a demo of the Internet at her daughter’s college in 1996, the first thing she thought was, “Wow, older people could really use this tool!” It was just like Tobey to be thinking of the aged. She was very close to her own mother, then 84. “I have always loved old people” Tobey will tell you. One night in 1996 at a family vacation in Bermuda, a staff member treated her frail-looking mother condescendingly (although Mum was, in fact, very much “on the ball”). That night, Tobey dreamt of changing the world . . .

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