Ann Doreen Burnham Deering is a fifty ‑seven and one‑half year old lady With gray hair, wrinkles, and little overweight. I am a mother, and a daughter, and a grandmother, and a wife, and a sometime real estate broker, and a Colby alumna, and a former Girl Scout, and a good friend to people I like.
I’m loving, and I think I’m compassionate and loyal, and somewhat of a dreamer, and I think that I’m a little bit of a psychic.
I think the first chapter or part of my book would be my early childhood. As much as I can recall, with just my mother as a parent, up until I was about twelve years old is the first time of remembrance. This was a reasonably happy time for me. When my Mother remarried, I was extremely happy because I had a mother and a father (what everybody else had), and most of my friends had both (parents). There were very few divorces then. This would be chapter two. Most of my friends had houses (it was like having a real American family). Then, chapter three would be after my stepfather died, not that many years later. We (my mother and I) moved again to Wellesley, and adjusted to an entirely new life with just the two of us. My whole life changed. I spent the rest of the remainder of my high school years and college years there in Wellesley until I got married. I was only twenty‑one year old, and I’m now fifty‑seven and one‑half, so the next chapter will be a long chapter being married and being a mother which is thirty‑six years plus!
I feel very lucky on how (how I became the person I am today). Well, you become that (person) largely through heredity through your genes of which you have no control. The biggest influence was, of course, my mother. She was the only really strong influence I had for twenty‑one years. I went to camp in the summers, and went to college (where I met) so many influential people, but my mother was the only steadying influence for me because she nurtured me since I was born. She gave me some values.
I don’t recall it (my birth), but I had heard from her (my mother) at least 10,000 times how happy and excited both she and my father were to have me. They had been married several years before, and they were happy to have a girl. I was a very happy, healthy child who in their eyes was perfect and did everything that they hoped I would be even though I walked quite late because I was so fat. I talked quite early and never stopped.
I don’t remember (my earliest years of my life). Well, I vaguely remember when my dad was dying. I really don’t remember him, because he was in the hospital a lot. He wasn’t well a lot of the time when I was little. I guess I was traumatized a lot of the time. But I do remember being at my Granny Dora’s a lot. She was taking care of me when he was dying and/or had just died. That part I do remember because my grandmother told me that why I was there was (my father’s death). She was very solicitous of me. Then the summer following his death, I went to California with my mother to visit very close friends the Andrews, who had a daughter my age. I remember vague things like snails that were pertinent to California. I also remember being in a nursery school that I didn’t like. I got sick there when they [my mother and the Andrews) went away for a few days and left me there with my friend Eileen. I really missed my morn terribly since it was our first separation since my father died. I was four at that point in my life.
My mother was a very strong woman with a lot of character and intelligence. She became very self‑sufficient at an early age because her parents divorced which was then quite unheard of. Then as she got older, (my mother) she went to live with foster parents [sort of like) when she was in high school. She did not live with her mother or her father in her late teenage years. Her mother was in a tuberculosis sanitarium and her father was not living nearby, so she lived with other people and she had a very hard time. Out of this circumstance she became a stronger more self‑ sufficient person. However, I believe (her child‑rearing experiences) did a lot to make her a person who was never completely happy. I think she always felt some insecurity due to what happened to her as child. (My mother) She was a good disciplinarian, a wonderful teacher. She was a very fair person, and an extremely attractive person. She always had a lot of friends. Yet, she was always extremely meticulous about things and it was hard to keep up with her expectations. I was always worried about living up to what her expectations were, and I always wanted to be a good girl.
(Descriptions from references to father’s description). Well, I think my father was very athletic, good‑natured and intelligent. He was very interested in music, languages, and all the things that I became interested in, and all the things my mother was interested in. I think he was thrilled to death to have a child because I think my father did not expect to live a long time because he knew that he was not well. My father got influenza at the time of the First World War Influenza which damaged his heart. I guess he found that out soon after they were first married. I don’t think he knew it before (the marriage). I know when he found out about his heart he was very depressed. It was very difficult on my Mother, extremely hard. But according to his siblings, my Aunt Grace and my Aunt Lucille, he was a great man. Later, friends of my mother’s told me that he was an exceptional person and that it was a shame that he died so young.
Well, I obviously look like my father more than my mother. I think I probably have my father’s disposition more than my mother’s, and his sense of humor. And I’m afraid I have my mother’s worrisome nature. I get worried about things too much and worried that things may happen which do not necessarily do occur.
I had no trouble making friends, always had a lot of friends. But I knew that I was alone. My mother had to work. Most of the time I lived with a family in a place where there were adults or other children so I didn’t feel lonely. But I grew up fast because I was a companion to my mother as well as a child. So I became more adult earlier. I found a great deal of pleasure in reading. That was a great deal of pleasure for me, I found company in books. I had great experiences reading my books, and I still feel the same way about reading today.
My best memories of my childhood are going to camp from the time I was eight years old. I was a girl scout. Prior to that I was a brownie. I got a scholarship to day camp; I went one summer. Then after that, I went to overnight camp every summer until I was 17. 1 went all summer, except for one month‑‑ one year. I became a counselor and those were great years for the most part. I played with my cousins whom I was fond of when I was young. They weren’t my real (first generation) cousins. I had one cousin, Grace, that wasn’t that close to me. However, then I had a cousin Betty, a step‑child of my Aunt Lucille. I enjoyed her as a little girl a lot, and I still see her today. She comes to see me now and then: Betty and Herb (her husband).
I think I worried in my childhood years sometimes that if anything happened to my mother where would I be, what would I do? I don’t think I worried about it too much but there were times that I did. Also scary movies, I used to go to the movies all the time as a kid. For years, I used to remember some of the movies. “Cat People,” that was the worst movie. I’ve dreamt about it for years afterward. It was horrible! I was scared sometimes by the little boys in my neighborhood. It was probably sexual harassment when I was a little kid. For the most part, I had a very happy childhood.
Oh sure, (I had dreams) all kids do. I went to the movies every Saturday when I was a little kid (12 – 13 yrs.) and fell in love with all of the movie stars. I identified with Esther Williams or Lauren Bacall who were a bit older than I was at the time. I thought when would I meet this man and fall in love like the actresses did? What would he look like? When would I get married, and how many children would we have? Because, that’s what girls did years ago. We (children) did know something about the war, but not a lot. However it was on our minds somewhat. But I was a little young to get too involved in that (the war). I was only seven when the war started, but I was eleven when the war ended. I do remember that because I was at camp. I remember everyone threw all the dishes around and on to the floor because when the war ended. We were so excited.
(My dreams and ambitions did come true). Sure. I got married, stayed married and had three children. I went to college, as I was always expected to. Really, a lot of things came true for me. A lot of things that people aren’t lucky enough to do. I’ve traveled and realized a lot of my dreams.
It was good transition (from childhood to pre‑adulthood). It was wonderful. I think those were some of the happiest years in my life when my mother met her second husband, my stepfather Andy. I was eleven and in the seventh grade. I liked boys but I wasn’t too sure about them as I was just coming into my own and getting my confidence. Oh, after my stepfather and mother (they) were married, it definitely was a great time in my life. We moved into a lovely house and I had great friends. We lived in the best part of town. We had the first television set in the whole town. We took nice trips. He was very kind and loving to me. He gave me a piano and a bicycle. We had a dog I had my friends over. We had all the things that I had never done before. I had my own lovely home and I was very popular because I had anything that any girl could want. But then very quickly it was over with. They married at the end of my seventh grade and at the end of my sophomore year he died. It was the summer right before the eleventh grade.
I remember it was awful (the death of her stepfather). I was at camp. I was a CIT I think, or a junior counselor. My mother had always been very good about keeping in touch with me calling or writing me every week. But they (my parents) hadn’t been touch with me for at least a week which made me very nervous. I called the house from the town at camp, and I couldn’t reach my mother. There was no answer. Finally, I got a hold of her and she told me that Andy was very, very ill, and in the hospital. Shortly afterwards, I went home. He died. I never saw him again. He died in the hospital maybe a week or so later after camp.
(Stepfather’s death) Well, it changed our whole life because we couldn’t stay in out home. We had to sell it mainly because my mother had to get a lob. He had left some money, but there were bills to be paid. He had been out of work for awhile. So, my mother had to sell the house, which she did, and she secured a job at a school she had taught in before she married. That meant we had to move back to the Newton area, so we moved back to Wellesley which was nearby. I had to change schools, which was hard in the middle of my junior year. But I managed to do it. I was very fortunate. I met some great friends. In fact, I just went back to my 40th reunion and stayed with one of my friends. In fact, I just got a card from one of them today. I made some great friends and continued with them right until now.
I don’t know exactly how I changed after my stepfather died. I became a little more serious about some things. My mother and I became even closer and got on quite well. She had some good friends right across the hall from us, and they were great to me. They were school teachers, and one was like a grandmother to me. Also, the fellow who lived downstairs for a time with his mother was the one who influenced me to go to Colby College, which made a great impact, of course, on my life. He had graduated from there, and been in the Navy and was going on to medical school. He thought that I would love Colby. I didn’t have a chance to go see it (Colby) due to distance. He gave me a lot of information and I applied, and then had an interview with the dean in Boston while she visited our school. I liked her very much. She came to Boston to meet me and I applied and was the first one in my class to be accepted to college.
I had mixed feelings about leaving my mother and going to college. I was excited. I felt I was very grown up partially due to the fact that I had been to camp for many summers so the transition wasn’t as big as I thought. It was everything I expected to be and more.
Well, even though we had many more rules at college than they do today, I had a lot of freedom too. I was pretty much on my own at school. I had some wonderful experiences. I had a few painful experiences. I had the best entree to Colby because I had two of the greatest roommates anyone could have as a freshman. It (my room) was on the new campus in a former men’s dorm. I was in the Gardner Colby Room, and thought we must be the most wonderful threesome of freshmen roommates. I right off got into hazing and into trouble because I was fresh to the upperclassmen. So, I had to wear a pot around my neck for a couple of days to class. So everyone got to know me. I was rushed by all the sororities, and lucked out at the one I wanted. Jeannie (Hawes Andersen) went with me. Most of my closest friends were in that sorority, but not all of them. I liked most of my courses except geology, which I hated and flunked. But the social life was tremendous. Something was going on all the time, always busy. I’m afraid I didn’t spend as much time studying as I should have. But, I got through all right, even though my grades weren’t what they were in high school.
My peers were important influences. Jeannie‑ my roommate, of course. Harriet, whom I worked with every summer down in Cape Cod also. I was so lucky when I worked there (Cape Cod) for three summers. I was able to spend most of my days off with Jean because she lived nearby. They (the Hawes Family) had a summer place down there. And I made some great male friends too. A lot of the Zeta Psi boys became my friends. That’s how I really met Daddy, Jack. I think the contacts I made at Colby were great because I am still close to many I met in college, almost forty years later.
Looking back on it, I was nowhere near as adult as maybe my children were. Yet (in the adult transition), I was adult enough to make the decision to get married whether it was the right decision or not. And, I was able to make, hopefully the right choice. I got married right out of school. It was the norm, at least half of the class, if not more. I got a job. Everything was preparation; the liberal arts education really did broaden me.
Probably everything I ever wanted to do (in my college dreams). I met my husband, graduated from college, traveled, and made contacts with people that are lasting. I think all those things were realized.
I cannot remember a lot of it (courtship with Jack, her husband). I thought I’d never forget it, but….. All I know is that Jack came back to school as a veteran, and I knew through the Zeta Psi’s (with whom I was most friendly of all the fraternities), that a couple of vets were coming back. One of them was Jack, and one of them was Joe Lovegren, and perhaps a few more. I was kind of looking for these new people. But Jean, my roommate met him first. He was in her class, and they became friendly. I don’t know if he actually took her out but he went to lunch with her a couple of times, and gave her rides downtown to class, or to do errands. One day, she had taken some pictures, Jean has always been a picture taker, something I never did very much of. She had some photographs developed. Jack was living downtown then. Apparently, she asked him if he would be willing to pick them up for her. Most of us didn’t have cars then. Men did, but very few women (students) had cars. So, Jack came and picked the photos and brought them up to our dormitory. And at that time, we had bell people in the dorm who took messages or announced a visitor. This time, I picked up the phone as Jean wasn’t there, and the person announced Jack’s arrival with the photos for Jean. So I came down to get them and we chatted f or a few minutes That was the beginning …..
No, (I did not know that I was going marry him). But I was fairly sure shortly afterwards. I thought he was pretty nice. Probably because he was a veteran, he was older. He was more mature than most of the fellows I had dated. And, I suppose I was getting nervous, I was nearing the end of college. I thought I needed a steady boyfriend, or to be engaged. I’d had a few boyfriends that I was pinned to, but no one that I wanted to spend much time with for too long. Probably, they didn’t with me either.
Jack and I enjoyed the same people. Dad, they used to call him “Dad”, “Dad Deering”. He had a few girlfriends and he still may have had some but he seemed ready to settle down. He invited me to meet his family a couple of months after we started to go out. I knew his Mother liked me. I could tell that. His father did too. I met his brother and his sister. I met some of his friends down here (Portland, Maine). I used to come down and spend the weekend after awhile. I got to know the Plummers and the Robinsons, and the Malletts, and all those people much older. He had met these people driving the potato chip truck during the summer. I just felt comfortable. I guess I didn’t think that far ahead. I didn’t think I would be living in Portland the rest of my life, but it seemed like the thing to do. After awhile I knew I wanted to get married, and I guess he did too. He proposed. My mother was not too thrilled. She did not think that I should get married right out of school and that I should travel and work for a year. Probably, she was right. But, the heart ruled the mind. She offered to send me to Europe for the summer. But I didn’t really want to go. Jack thought it probably would be good for me. But, I knew I probably would be miserable and wouldn’t have a good time. I thought my mother was sacrificing a lot to send me to college, and that if the sent me away in the summer it would be expensive because I wouldn’t be working. She probably spent that amount of money on my wedding.
I think that love is a word that changes in meaning as times goes on. At first, it is very exciting, and romantic and fabulous, and sexy and every other descriptive word you can use to describe it. But, as time goes on, it becomes deeper, and more intellectual, and more meaningful. In other ways, love truly does mean commitment and loyalty through good times and bad. It means patience, understanding and forgiving. For example, when things are really bothering you and you wish that they didn’t happen. But if you make a commitment to marriage or motherhood you have to realize that everything is not going to be perfect all the time.
No, not really any regrets (about marriage). There are times that I wondered what would have happened if I had done something else. But, I would say that ninety percent of the time it was the right decision to have married when I did.
I don’t think I really thought about having a family right off. And we didn’t. We waited two years, but of course I got pregnant. We really did plan. Jack and I just discussed when I was going to conceive or would like to. The first year neither of us were interested in having a family. We were doing other things, we were getting used to each other. We also had each of or mothers, both widows. Jack’s father had died so tragically and suddenly. We both had obligations to them. Jack was getting started in business. He had been working for four or five months before we got married. It was a lot of change. It wasn’t really a good time to start thinking about having a family. He was helping (his Mother) Eleanor with her finances, after his father’s death, matters including property, etc. That had to all be taken care of. It really was no time to think about having a family. But when the time came, it seemed more sensible to think about it. I went to the doctor to check my physical condition even before considering to become pregnant. Once, I knew I was in good health, we tried and it didn’t take very long, maybe a month or two. I’ll never forget when I found out I was pregnant.
I remember finding out I was pregnant. I was so excited that I couldn’t wait to tell everybody. I remember that day so clearly, I came out of that office, and it must have been in the fall. I had missed two periods. I was walking down the street, Deering street, and I ran into a lady that I knew, and I said “Guess what, I’m, pregnant!” She probably thought: “Is she crazy?” I think I also went to see Marion Roberts because she lived on that street. Then I told Dad, but I didn’t want to tell my work right away. I told my boss, but she told me not to tell the head boss because he would be a nervous wreck when he found out I was pregnant. This was because when his wife was pregnant, apparently he had morning sickness right along with her. So, we didn’t tell him for a couple of months. But when I did tell him he was a nervous wreck, and he used to come in every day and ask me how I was ‑‑‑ etc. He said that I looked pale, and was always concerned that the baby was I all right. I continued to work, etc. It was really a riot. Of course, everyone was happy. I didn’t expect anything to go wrong. I was very confident in my doctor. I knew I was in good health. And, I didn’t really care what I had, a boy or a girl. Though, I think I kind of wanted a girl, quite frankly, at first. Although, I can’t remember. I remembered I hoped I wouldn’t get too fat.
It was nice experience giving birth. She was a beautiful baby and I had a reasonably easy time. A lot of people gave me showers. It was a very happy time. Janet was a very happy, good baby. And, my mother was thrilled. She couldn’t actually believe that her baby was a mother. I wasn’t very old. I was twenty‑three.
Because I had a baby I got to meet even more people. I didn’t work any more. I met many people my age in the same situation, and my circle of friends expanded. I met a lot of nice people in Cape Elizabeth especially that were my age and had kids. Then we decided that we wanted to have another one not too long after that, within a couple of years. Then, we had Ellen, and that was a very uneventful and good pregnancy. She was a healthy baby. Ellen had a few minor things wrong with her looking back. She had to have her legs straightened, and when she was delivered she looked funny for about a week because the doctor had to use forceps and her face was bruised. The doctor apologized for this. Leave it to Ellen to come out a little bit weird.
I thought I was awful lucky because they were adorable girls, and good little girls. Everyone thought they were the cutest little girls. A lot of people thought they were twins as they got older. I used to dress them alike a lot. I’d have fun dressing them and taking them places. It was easy with two girls really because they were companions and friends to each other.
Well, I think that I decided it on my own that it might be a good idea (to have another child). Then a little boy came along which was an absolute surprise because we were sure we would have another girl. Daddy wasn’t even sure if he wanted another baby. There were several of my friends who happened to be pregnant at the time. In fact, there was a party with Bev Barross, Helen Cleaves, Jane Baxter and one of them announced that they were pregnant, and then I announced I was too. Come to find out four of us were all pregnant and due the same time. It was like an epidemic. And we all had boys. It must have been the years for boys. It was momentous but I got fat and my legs bothered me. The baby was late and my regular doctor was away and so was his associate, so I think I waited to have Richard because I wanted my regular doctor‑‑Dr. Eben Bennett. I willed the baby not to come until my dear Dr. Bennett came back from vacation. George Hallet, our neighbor and chief pediatrician came over and babysat the girls while I was having Richard. I was the envy of all my friends. It was pretty nice to have our pediatrician babysitting. It was quite a long labor. I do remember that part, and I could not believe that I had a son. When the nurse said I had a son, I said: what? I do not have sons. I have
daughters. Well, I had Richard. No one could believe it. So, I did and everyone was so happy. Jack was thrilled. But the memories were clouded because the next day President Kennedy was assassinated. It took the wind out of everyone’s sails. That was what all the people could talk about. Everyone was talking‑‑the doctors. I was so happy to have a healthy child, that I did not want to get caught up in this tragedy. I did stay later in the hospital because of the long labor and I was tired, and because it was a hectic time. I stayed about a week. But when I did return, I did suffer from postpartum depression not badly‑‑but it was sort of a let down about everything.
I was as good a mother as I probably could be. Probably not as good as the children hoped I could be. Plenty of other mothers were better. Probably a lot other mothers were worse. I think I was loving, a pretty good disciplinarian, probably too easy. I was sometimes too generous. I spoiled them at times too much. I think I taught them well in the important areas. I wish I taught them more in sports, home economics, to be handy, teach the girls how to sew.
I just did not know how to do those things. I think I taught them how to be good people. I think that this is the most important thing: to be kind and considerate to other people. I have no regrets about how I reared my children.
I feel that I might have had Ellen go to another school (private) so that she would not have had to follow the coat‑tails of her sister, Janet. At the time I thought that public school education was the best, if you could do it. I felt that children learned the most about life in public school. But sometimes I feel that one has to take in to consideration the overall being of a child, their whole being and psychological being‑‑that maybe private school would have been better for (Ellen’s) self‑confidence and sense of independence from her older sister. I wish she had not followed so closely behind Janet in a small school atmosphere. Of course, she was compared to Janet by her peers and teachers. This was not good.
Richard is his own person. He is a compassionate person. He is a good friend. A loving son. A loving, but also critical sibling. I think he is a person who is always striving to achieve new goals. I think that he is happy with himself. I don’t feel that he is completely sure at this age and stage what he wants out of life. He does not know what the outcome (of his life will be). But then again, who does know‑‑at age 28?
Ellen is a person does the best she can under the circumstances in which she lives with her condition (manic depression). Some of her decision cannot be completely her own because of her illness which she has now accepted. But I know she is a loving person and strives for perfection. I hope as life goes on things will get easier for her. She is a wonderful person.
Janet is seemingly the luckiest at this point as for what life has given her at this point. She has a loving husband who has a good job. He generally cares for her. She has three wonderful children and one on the way. She should be very grateful, and I think she is working on that. I think that sometimes she forgets, and I feel that is one reason she has become interested in the Catholic faith. (The Church) Provides her more depth, a better perspective on life.
I want them first and foremost to be happy and peace with themselves. I want to realize some of their dreams and aspirations as I have. And of course, I wish them the best health. And I would hope that all of them especially Richard and Ellen will find a contemporary in their lives that will give their lives a lot of purpose, love, focus and encouragement. And I hope that they will find someone who will enrich their lives.
I think even though religion is not talked about all the time, one thinks that every day, or certainly every few, that people realize that there is a spiritual being guiding us through. There is something greater than any living person. As we look around, the world has been created whether good or bad, and I am not sure if the bad things are from a religious perspective‑ I think the bad are from Mother Nature that are completely separated from God and Jesus and all that stuff. Of course, we are coming on to the time of year, Christmas where religion should be a part of our lives. I feel that Christmas has become too commercial. We take it for granted. As I have gotten older I feel that spiritual values are very important because they sustain us when times are tough. I can see when my mother was dying that she had to have some faith that something
was coming after this horrible illness that she went through. I hoped all along that things would get better for her and that she would go and be in a happier place. I hoped that God or someone would take care of her after she left this earth. This is why I had a memorial service and tombstone for her. I pray every day that nothing happens to my children: that my daughter Janet is well, that her husband as he travels is safe; that he new baby is born healthy; that Ellen will have longer times between illnesses or that she will always be well. I know that this is asking a lot but I thank God every day that she is well. And I pray every day that nothing would happen to Richard. (Tears).
It is fun being a grandmother. It is different. Well, it seems when you are a grandmother that you are in a very different role than a mother. Yet, sometimes you think that your grandchildren should be your children because you remember back to those times of child‑ rearing. It is hard to believe that they are a whole two generations removed from you. But I think that being a grandmother is best, as people say, if your grandchildren were near by (as they were for a few years). You could see them periodically, or watch them grow. You could see them weekly, daily for a few minutes or few hours. When they are away you don’t see them. You see them in chunks. You are afraid that they don’t think of you, because you want to be a part of their world in a positive way.
(It is going to be) tough world (for my grandchildren). I think the world is more complex and harder all the time. I don’t feel that technology has made things easier and better for the world. Technology has made it more convenient. It has made education easier and so forth. Technology has made it scarier because countries have all the power to destroy each other.
There seems to be more diseases all the time. Horrible diseases‑‑ especially AIDS. This is a horrendous thing, except for the plague which was a century ago. AIDS is almost as bad a war, from what they (the experts) talk about. It is hard for me to understand with all the scientific research on how AIDS came into being. I think the time ahead is going to be tough. I think the economy, and the fact that our country has been such a melting‑pot has been very idealistic that we (the nation) have taken on everyone’s burden. We are saddled with these tremendous debts, and I don’t think that our children will be able to come out from under them (the burdens). Each generation will have to pay for them. Unless something tremendous happens to change the situation. It very unlucky something is going to happen for a long time to remedy it.
Of course I wish that my children and grandchildren could be happy as I have been. I wish that they could be as fortunate as I have been. I hope my children live a reasonably long life. I hope that they can find someone meaningful for them. I hope they have children if they wish. That they have peace, and that they don’t lose their loved ones in a terrible disaster like war, an earthquake, or even a regular accident. I hope that they won’t be maimed in any way. I hope that they will be happy with themselves. That they find fulfillment in contributing to something that is important to others. That they experience pleasure in many ways – spiritual, sensual, educational development.
Frankly, I was tired of being a volunteer, even though some of it was very interesting and rewarding. I thought the time had come that it would be nice to earn some money to do what I wanted to do instead of asking Dad to give me money for this and that. I thought if I could contribute in some way. I would feel more relaxed about spending money. I love to spend it. I love to give things to other people. I like to spend mostly on other people, but I do like to spend on myself as I enjoy doing it today.
I was really interested in people. I was interested in where and how they lived. Actually it was a neighbor who told me that it was a very interesting thing to do, Karen Metzger. There was a people were investing and were very interested in real estate. The economy was starting to build. The development and building of houses was coming to this area. I thought it would be an interesting thing to think about. I did. So, I thought why not try and get into real estate. I did. I started off very slowly. Someone came to me and asked me to come work for them, and I did. Then, I did not learn a thing working in the Old Port. The situation was not right. I found it very interesting. I found it very humbling. As time went on more of my peers joined, and I thought that more of my friends would come to me and buy properties. They didn’t. First, I took it as a personal rebuff. Then I realized that they had other friends naturally in the business and relatives. I learned over the years not to worry about that. It still bothers me. I feel if I am not doing the best job for somebody or someone and that they do not come back to me that I haven’t done my best. This has happened a few times, but generally for the most part my customers come back.
Working in real estate I have realized that I have good schools and I like working with people. I do have a brain. It has broadened my horizons. Maybe I have met more people. And I have learned more about the business world which I had not known that much about. But, as time goes on, I don’t feel that I want to give it my all.
I want to spend more time with my grandchildren. Take more time in things that I am interested in like working with the elderly, and maybe travel when I want to. I can take a trip here or there, and not worry what’s happening in the office. I want to have more flexibility in my life. I do not have the energy or inclination for my life to be dictated by the whim of people who want to look at property, or run me around town for a period of time.
I am feeling, sometimes, or starting to feel pretty good. I feel I look pretty good for my age. I am reasonably healthy. But there are times, I think in the later part of your fifties and early sixties that you really are becoming a senior citizen. You are really looked at as an older person. Not as in the prime of your life. The years ahead are not going to be that good unless you have a lot of luck.
Aging scares me in a lot of ways. In the past couple of years more than ever‑‑I am definitely going through menopause which is not that fun. I am definitely not enthusiastic about life as I used to be. I think I am slowing down. I don’t see as well. I don’t hear as well. I worry about my husband a lot. He is that much older than I am‑ I wonder what he is going to be like in another five years. He has aged quite a bit in the past few years. I think it is harder for him day to day to keep well, keep fit. The pressures of business are getting harder on everybody, let alone his age. I can see him really resisting growing old. I see him really resenting what the younger generation is doing with their lack of respect for our age group in many ways.
Well, if you believe what they say about longevity, we probably have another 25 years ahead. A quarter of a century. We are probably not going to be as well off financially or physically. It is going to take a lot of coping and a lot of understanding of our children. They are going to have their own lives to lead. This is a very active and important time in their lives. I wonder how the next twenty‑five years are going to affect us and them. This is what worries me.
There is nothing that I am certain of in my life. I am certain of uncertainty. I have control over my life to a certain point. This is where religion comes in‑‑to help and understand what happens one way or another.
Boring (my life book). I don’t know it probably will be called: GETTING THE MOST OUT OF LIFE WITH HELP. (laughter). I don’t know what to say. I think that it is pretty good, not the most exciting title. I think I have been getting the most out of life from family, my mother, from peers, all along. I have been getting it from spiritual help.
The most productive time was the child‑rearing years. The least productive have not reached yet. It is probably coming.
I think maybe, I would have waited a little longer to have Dad marry me. My Mother might have been right. Then, when I think of that (delaying marriage) it would have given me a little more time on my own. However, then I wouldn’t have had my children at the age I had them. I feel good about that now. I am a reasonably young grandmother and mother. This is very gratifying.
(My life theme is) keep a sense of humor. Try to forgive and forget.