On Turning 70. By Vicky B.
Friends have recently said to me “you are blessed!”
It’s true. Growing up in Delta, Ohio, I never really had any dreams or expectations for my life.
We lived in a small town and knew everyone. There were no strangers. We didn’t lock our doors. Our life revolved around our family and our church. I thought everyone lived as I did. I never expected to go to college. But thanks to a guidance counselor who lived next door, he encouraged me to go to college rather than a hospital school of nursing. He helped me fill out applications and apply for scholarships.
My eyes were opened! Wealthy friends, Jewish friends, friends who had traveled! Suddenly I wanted it all. My first opportunity came when a good friend who had connections with a summer job agency on the east coast helped me get a “mother’s helper job” with a family who lived a on the ocean north beach of Boston. They had a “mentally retarded” daughter, a 14 year old son and 19 year old daughter. They introduced me to two activities that have stayed with me all my life. They had two sailboats and the 14 year old son did not enjoy sailing so every morning he had to take me out sailing to improve his skills. The parents had cocktails on their deck every night—Gin and tonic. They invited me to join them. At the time, I thought it was to help them understand their 19 year old daughter. Now I think the husband was having an affair with his secretary and I was their buffer. My parents never drank alcohol but that experience with cocktail hour was a good one, I decided. On my days off, I took the train into Boston with Mr. Hall and explored the city. I knew it was where I wanted to spend my life.
Looking back, this opened up the opportunity for my family to experience the east coast, but now as a grandmother, my heart aches for my parents who only saw their daughter and grandchildren a couple times a year. We did have many good extended visits though.
My faith has been central to my life. It’s always been there for me. The friends and experiences that Ive had at my church as a child, in college and especially now have given me comfort and joy. It seems ironic that turning 70, losing my church(it closed its doors), and the Covid 19 epidemic all occurred in the same year and have shaken me. I had such a good life, I still do, but it is different and I feel lost in a way that I have never before. I still have my faith, my family and will have to find a church family to feel totally whole again.
But I am so blessed! I am wise. I am not afraid, I am strong and healthy. The opposite of the loss of church and the pandemic, coincided with the blessings of my family together again and the joyous birth of two beautiful grandchildren! They have added a whole new dimension of love and blessings into my life and that love will carry me on into the future.