Miss Woodhouse's Musings

…about life, the universe, and everything. Don't panic!

Investing In the Generations

on 26 January 2010

This article is cross-posted from this blog, but since I wrote the post over there, I figure I have the right to steal from myself! My school’s English Club goes once a month to a senior community, reads a short story or two, and then leads a short discussion loosely based on what we read. It’s really great, and I enjoy it a lot.

For the past week I’ve been trying to put together a nice, formal write-up of our experiences reading at Chesapeake Place’s senior community.

I realized today though, that our times with these lovely people are not formal. Rather, they are an amazing chance to interact with some wonderful people with entertaining life stories and experiences. Our part in the interaction is minimal- all we do is bring a story, read it aloud to them, and ask some interactive questions. Their answers make each meeting priceless.

These people all come from different lives, different backgrounds, and different countries. One woman immigrated from the political unrest in Germany in between the two world wars. Another woman told us what it was like growing up in a large family with a deceased mother and a workaholic father. Yet another woman shared her childhood experiences of living in a Catholic boarding school in Canada.

Our printed, polished, literary short stories by Doyle, O. Henry, and Capote truly pale in comparison to the living, breathing epistles these people share with us. At the same time, it’s heartwarming to watch them listen to what we read- the peaceful, thoughtful expressions on their faces, and the way smiles creep onto their faces during humorous parts. They are so appreciative of us coming once a month to spend time with them, but really, I’m grateful to them for their willingness to open up about their lives.

I never leave Chesapeake Place without a feeling of regret- regret that I can’t spend more time talking with them, and regret that so many people are missing out on opportunities to interact with people like this. Local senior communities are a wealth of stories and experiences just waiting for an audience- why don’t you take an hour or two and invest in these wonderful people? You will never regret it!

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