I just uploaded my writing excerpt from Profiles in Creative Aging.
I assumed my life in retirement would continue to be the same old, same old. My husband and I would remain in the same house in Chicago, which we didn’t like and were always planning to sell or fix up, but never did. I would continue to work on genealogy, which was an interest of mine, and spend a lot of time in the basement. My computer was in the basement as was my stash of food. Nobody could see me eating in the basement where I went to soothe myself by eating. That’s how I envisioned my retirement years. I also thought I would be the first to die as my husband was sure he would live to see one hundred and twenty. I never dreamed of the life I have now. I never knew I had it in me.
My husband died two and half years ago at age seventy-eight. We had a long marriage of forty-six years, but it was a very bad marriage. No. I shouldn’t say that, but it was not a particularly good marriage. Before he died, he suffered from a type of dementia, which seemed to have come on suddenly. His doctor diagnosed him as having an underlying schizophrenic paranoid syndrome. That helped me understand some of his past behavior. I tolerated a lot throughout the years, as had our two daughters. But that’s all water under the dam. I consider myself a survivor as I had two alcoholic parents as well as an alcoholic husband. I think I deserve all the great stuff I’m getting now; I certainly worked hard enough for it.
After my husband’s death, I decided to sell the house and initially planned to spend six months of the year in Champaign-Urbana, where my daughter, Cheryl and her husband and three children live and the other six months around Glendale, California, near my daughter Liz. I came out to Glendale to find a place to live and nothing looked particularly good to me. Liz said that while driving around, she saw a place she thought would be wonderful for me…The Burbank Senior Artists Colony. I replied, “Why should I go to an artists colony? I haven’t done anything artistic in my entire life.” She responded, “You have it in you. I think you should be here and I think you would really enjoy it.” So I made an appointment with Rose, who works in the office here. Even before I saw the available apartment, I saw the activities sheet for the month. Oh my goodness!”