About twenty years ago, Ohio was obliged to accept low-level nuclear waste from neighboring states for disposal. The Ohio Department of Health had been working on regulations for this disposal, assisted by a citizen’s advisory committee. Around 2002, the public member of the committee, an LWV member, decided to resign. Peg suggested tha the League nominate me as her replacement, which they did. I was duly named by Governor Taft and started around 2002.
Our job was to ‘Ohioize’ a recommended national regulation produced by some expert body. This turned into a tedious sentence-by-sentence review of the document to assure that we produced something in accord with Ohio law. The Department of Health did not consider us equal partners and settled all disagreement in their favor.
Eventually we submitted a document to higher authority for approval. I don’t remember all of the procedure, but it took a couple of years. About that time my term expired and I had no desire for reappointment.
We bought our house in 1964 and raised two children there. Others lived with us for a while, most notably our nephew Chef Tony. And, late in life, Peg’s mother. By the late 1990’s it was just the two of us. We were using four rooms – the rest was storage. Eventually we recognized that this was ridiculous and signed up to move here. During the two-year wait we discarded an amazing amount of crap, with great help from Ann.
Clearly we are not typical. Most people moving in are widows. Often they come from out of town to be close to a daughter here.
People rarely talk about their life before they moved here. Perhaps it’s painful to remember dead spouses. Perhaps there is another reason.
At one time each new resident was interviewed and a biography and photo appeared in a loose leaf note book. I went looking for that notebook the other day. It is no longer in its location.
I attended a story-telling session with our resident student social worker. When asked to talk about a happy time, there were mostly stories bout childhood trips to the country. Only Andy and I brought up incidents with our own children.
The other topic was what would you like to retrieve from childhood. Most people remembered that they had much more freedom than I suspect that they actually did have.
I am calling this ‘adies with Walkers’ but Idin’t have anything profound or humorous say about the subject. Maybe ome eposition will insire me.
There are two kinds of walkers two wheel and four wheel. Two-whweelers are best for balance; they are made from metal tubing and the rear legs are sealed with flat disks.
Four wheelers are for mobility. The best ones have seats and plastic bags for transpoorting material. They wonderful for the supermarket – gather your groceries and sit down when you get tired.
There are many men with walkers. Old age doesn’t play favorites.
Computers came along when many seniors were already aged. Less than half of the residents in our building have e-mail addresses. Virtually everyone in the next building has an e-mail address, but they average about twenty years younger.
Although Peg and I use computers regularly, we are late adopters. We visit the net daily and use e-mail extensively. But we do not do text and we only use our cell phone to make calls; no twitter; I am on Linked-in but do not respond to e-mails from them; I am on Facebook, but rarely visit it. In other words, we may very well be about average for our generation.
The mighty ninth floor holds about twenty of us. Mostly single women, a scattering of single men, and one married couple – Peg and I. Right now we have a special resident – an OSU social work student, who is studying us.
(this section is a sticking point. Can I write without hurting people’s feelings? I am not very perceptive about people in the first place)
People talk little about their previous lives.
We have much turnover – about one death and one move to Assisted Living per year.
Peg was riding down the elevator one day and started chatting with her fellow passenger. “I’m sorry but I don’t remember your name”, she said.He rcompanion replied “Nobody remembers anyone’s name here.”
Not quite true.
We were at a party when Peg said I need to talk to Gretchen. whereupon she went over to a woman who was not Gretchen. I strained my brain until ‘Marge’ popped out.When Peg returned I said “You said you wanted to talk to Gretchen and you went over to Marge.”
” That’s o.k., it’s Marge wanted to talk to.” was her response.