Long Lived

May 24, 2010
As I sit here in my rocking chair, I think back to when I was just turning 18. Life was so simple back then. I had all of these friends who we would just go places and do fun things. I had a boyfriend who was my first serious boyfriend. We are still together. My family was the closest thing to me. That was a rare thing back then. Many families were divorced or always fighting, a lot different then today. But my family was one of those that stayed together and loved each other, and we are thankful for that.
I ask myself if I would have done things differently back then would my life be different now? Maybe if I wouldn’t have tanned so much as a teenager, I wouldn’t have had to suffer 8 years with skin cancer. Thank god for the advances in technology and their ability to help cure those deadly diseases. I remember back when I was a child, there wasn’t many cures. Maybe if there would have been cures back then I wouldn’t have had to suffer many losses of family members due to sicknesses and diseases.
I look back at my younger years. When Matthew and I would travel the world. We went to so many amazing places. Our first vacation was on a cruise to Jamaica with my family. How times have changed since then. My brother was 11, at the time. He was in fifth grade. Now he is retiring. How time flies. My sister and her boyfriend, at the time, came with us. They soon after the trip broke up. Besides that, Matt and I traveled the country. My goal for as long as I can remember was to travel to all 50 states before I die. I have one left to go to, Vermont. Matt and I plan to go there with in the next year.

Matt has been my best friend since we met, 63 years ago. I am now 80. He is 81. We are still together to this day. We have been married for 57 years now. I remember our wedding like it was yesterday, on the beach in Puerto Vallarta. It was just our family and a few of our closest friends. It was beautiful. When we returned we had a huge cookout to celebrate with everyone. Gabriella, my grand-daughter, is planning to get married in August. She wants to wear my dress. I feel honored. My daughter, her mother, wore it. Alterations have been made, but you can still tell that it is my dress. I hope that it continues to be handed down. It is something special.

One of the hardest times of my life was when Matthew went over to Afghanistan to fight. This was back in 2012. Oh the horror. I remember going home each night praying to God he’d make it home safely. He served over there for nine months. He saw things no one should ever have to see in their life. When he returned, he had a beautiful son waiting to meet him. Mason is now married and has a child on the way.

Many people don’t enjoy their jobs, even though you should since you do it for most of your life. I was one of the few who did enjoy my job. Yes, there were times when I didn’t, and where I just wanted to quit. I knew that wasn’t an option though. I had a house to pay for, and a family that I needed to help support. I worked at Briggs & Stratton, in their Finance Division, for 48 years. The people I met there were family to me. After big meetings, we would always go out to dinner. If somebody needed to talk, we were all their to help. It wasn’t like it was just work. Yes we did work, but we also had a lot of fun.

I was the main supporter of our family. No, I am not complaining. I kind of liked it. It made me feel like there was a purpose for me. Matt worked, but my salary was higher then his. I was making enough to live comfortably, while we used his for vacationing, and to put towards retirement. We are very thankful for that. We are living a very nice retirement now. Our grandchildren are loving it also. Anything they want, they just have to ask Grammy or Pappy. We will give it to them. We spoil them. They have the biggest and best of anything and everything.

Some of my favorite times though have been the last 25 years, since I have been retired. I enjoy taking care of my grandkids. I currently have three, two more on the way. I love seeing them grow up. It reminds me of when the children I gave birth to were growing up. Traveling when Matt and I had our kids was something that was very difficult. Considering they were only a year apart, it became very tough to travel with them both, especially when they were in car seats. I think that is one of the things I’d change if I could go back in time. I have absolutely no regrets for my life but that is one of the things I’d do differently if I got another chance. I wouldn’t have had children so close together. It got tough having to feed them both bottles at the same time. I’d wait two or three years in between kids.

Looking back on my life, it wasn’t a very exciting one. But I was happy with it. Vacationing is something that we did a lot of. I still like to vacation from time to time but it is getting more and more tough as Matthew and I grow older. Those airplanes are not good for his back. And I can’t sit down in a car very long, due to poor circulation in my legs. I don’t have any regrets on what I have done so far in my life. It is what made me who I am today, and I thank everyone who has been a part of it. I have taken a little something from every person I’ve met to try and better me as a person.
I don’t know what the rest of my life has in store for me. I don’t know how much longer I have left to live. I could die tomorrow for all I know. I am living day by day. Not wondering what I could have done to make yesterday a better day or wondering what tomorrow has in store for me. I’m living each day like it’s my last. I am spending it with the people I love, those that mean the most to me.

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