Post may contain affiliate links.
When I was maybe about junior high age, my mom arranged for my sister and me to read each week to a couple of elderly ladies at the nearby nursing home. Each Saturday, we would ride our bikes over and read to our nursing home friends, Hettie, and … well, I can’t remember the name of the other lady.
Sometimes we read from the Bible. Other times, we took over a book called Stories from Grandma’s Attic. It was a small book of stories full of innocent old-time fun: the girl sitting down and her hoop skirts popping up, etc. Hettie, who I think was blind (one of the two ladies was) would laugh and laugh. The other lady was more quiet, and would often sit there quietly crying while we read to her. I’d like to think these tears were from happiness and not anguish at our reading.
One Saturday, we went to read, yet neither lady was in her normal place. My sister and I were too shy to ask where they were, and we were also a bit embarrassed to be leaving right away. So, we decided to exit via the closest door we saw. Big mistake. As soon as we pushed the door, an alarm went off and people came running from all over. I looked into a nearby doorway and saw a resident man standing confused, wearing a shirt and absolutely nothing else! The trauma!
Barring that day, however, I think the experience was a good one. To this day, I have a real heart for the elderly and always enjoy playing piano or visiting with nursing home friends. It’s probably not the place any of us would choose to be, and a little bit of kindness seems to go a long way there. During my early years on my own as a teacher and even when the girls were little, I volunteered for an agency, driving elderly to appointments and getting groceries for them – things like that. I enjoyed all the people I met through those times. I especially enjoyed the history some of them shared: their opinions of Hitler back before we knew he was bad, etc. So fascinating!