A New Life! Retirement at its Best 99


Will I ever teach this stupid dog not to pull? I was almost in tears. Monday was an “open” day. It was also National Dog Day. I was planning to take Lani to the Seabrook trail and walk with her for an hour, be back at 9:30, shower and be ready for the day. But nothing like that happened. First of all, she did not want to come when I called her to put on her leash. And that while she has been so good at “come when called.” I know why she did not come: she does not like to get into the car. Perhaps memories of throwing up when she was a puppy? But now we have an anti-static strip underneath the car so she never throws up anymore. Perhaps visions of a visit to the Vet who gives her shots? I don’t know, but it took a long time before I finally had her on the two leashes and in the car. On the trail she pulled and pulled, barked at a passing dog, tried to jump on a jogger, and I finally had had it. Halfway the trail we turned around and walked back to the car.

The latest thing is that she does not come when Mike calls, perhaps because she knows he will put her in the sunroom because we are leaving. On and on, she is very disobedient. In class she was again the loudest dog of all, even within the two “walls” of her “apartment”. I could hardly get her attention. At home, working on the homework assignments, she was better, but we have a long way to go.

Comings and Goings

A lot of moving is going on this month. One couple is moving from an apartment to a cottage and the single lady from that cottage is moving into the apartment of the couple: a good switch for both parties. One couple is moving to a retirement facility in another state, close to their daughter, one single lady moved to a less expensive place in town. Two people moved down the hall to Assisted Living, one lady from one of the cottages moved to another town to live with her daughter. Healthy, beautiful, well traveled, with a darling little dog, she will live to be a hundred in March 2020. I miss her. Another dear friend Lysette, broke her arm, went to the hospital and is now recuperating with family.

New Connections

On Friday afternoon during happy hour, one of our friends introduced us to his grandson from Idaho. The grandson was a language specialist, working with a company that needs to translate advertisements for large businesses. When I asked him in Dutch if I could be helpful with translations to the Dutch language, he understood most of it when I repeated it slowly, because, just that day, he had found the Max Havelaar and was reading it. We started talking about my presentation at NCSU and my mother’s journal. It turned out that he has connections with NCSU from the time he lived in Raleigh. He suggested to preserve the journal by copying it digitally. “The university,” he said, “has a machine on which you can easily make a digital copy, page by page, of something like that journal.” WOW! For many years, I have asked myself what would happen to Mamma’s original journal when I could no longer be the guardian. Now almost eighty years old, it is still in excellent condition. I take it to all my presentations for people to look at, touch and admire the fine handwriting. Who would be interested in a journal about the women and children’s camps, written in Dutch? How long would it last? Well, Johnny opened a whole new window of opportunity. He promised to read my book (in English) and check out the possibilities of digitalizing the journal at NCSU the next time he will be in town to visit his grandfather. Thinking about it, I realize that I will need someone to do this for me to get the best result. But with Johnny’s knowledge and connections I am sure we can find someone and get it done. WOW again! I do not believe in coincidences, so I thank God for continuing to keep an eye on the preservation of this remarkable story; the story written painstakingly day by day by my amazing Mamma, who had the gumption so many years ago, hanging on to life while taking care of her two precious little girls during four years in Japanese captivity, to write detailed letters to her parents in a secret journal. With God’s help, through modern technology, her story will live on!


While the month of August had a lot of festivities, September looks kind of “open”. I say kind of, because I can already see the dog training classes every Saturday morning and three Mondays with classes for me at NCSU. I signed up for an OLLI  membership and registered for three classes about the difference between Alzheimers and Dementia. Just like when we lived in Pasadena, California and I did not know anything about death and dying but wanted to be a Hospice Volunteer, I took classes and became familiar with Kübler-Ross and her theory about the five stages of grief in terminal illness: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Here and now, I am surrounded by people many of whom are in various stages of Memory Loss. I want to know more about Memory Loss so I will know how to deal with friends who are suffering from it; how I can help them perhaps by visiting with a little therapy dog. Therapy dog? Ha! For now, I only have a stuffed one: Sad Sam. Does any of you remember what Sad Sam looks like? He is white and brown, with sad eyes, cute and huggable, and quite a bit smaller than my big DOG, who is still far from being therapeutic! But then, she does not know any better, and I am her Mom, who needs to have more patience and keep teaching. One of my pastors once said, when I was desperate that people did not understand what I had told them many times already: Teaching is repeating. And so it is.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,


1 thought on “A New Life! Retirement at its Best 99”

  1. Your last comment made me chuckle.
    It’s been a difficult time with Ron’s dementia, but we’re together as I learn more about management and he benefits from the help and prayers of others.
    Speaking of coincidence: a dear friend of mine, Margaret, loved to say in her raspy voice, “Is it odd or is it God?”


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