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Occupation: Retired.
Posted On 04/14/2020 09:28:24 by texasjane

When my grandmother retired she became a full time baby sitter for me. She had sold girdles door to door after divorcing her first husband for infidelity. Back in her day divorce was rare and divorcees were sometimes shunned. Finding work as a divorcee was hard.  She retired from that to manage her own flower shop in the lobby of a large downtown hotel. When I arrived, she became my babysitter.

I knew she chatted on the phone with friends, but she also did a lot of going shopping or out to lunch. I got to tag along. We got to listen to the retirement lives of all the women who were also retired. Each one had retired from a different occupation. Some,besides being retired, had taken up gardening, some knitting, some writing, some baby sitting, like my grandmother. Still others traveled and some did nothing at all except complain. I did not understand the concept of retirement at the time. I decided I liked it because it allowed me to spend time with my grandmother. I also decided the idea of retirement was different for everyone.

My mother and her sister were two other women I got to watch retire from their occupations. My aunt had worked for a large manufacturing company that made electronic equipment, even some of the first home computers. There was a huge party thrown to honor her when she retired. She had been with the company over 50 years.

I remember the following Saturday when my mother and I went to my aunt's house. She said to my mom,"You plan, you know it is coming and then all of a sudden, you are retired. The party is over and you don't have to get up, if you don't want to. She went on, "It is an odd feeling to not be a supervisor or not to be needed. I don't know what I am going to do. I have re-read every book in my library. "Now, I am going to figure out what to do next."

For several weeks my aunt bought books every weekend. She was an avid reader. She and my mom would trade back and forth. One Saturday when we went to see her, she announced she was going to open a day care. She did too. She did all the things required by the state and the government to get her credentials. She ran the wonderful little day care in her home for the next four years. Usually there was no clients there on the weekends so we still got to visit. She seemed very happy to be "working" through her retirement.

My mother decided to retire four years later. She too had a big party as she too had been with her employer for 50 years of a large retail chain. The day my mother retired, my aunt closed her day care center. Then they started traveling. I never knew where they were going to go next. It seemed like they were preparing to take a trip or trying to decide where to go next.

I remember one trip they took to San Francisco. My cousin, a year younger than me; lived with her mother, and would always accompany them on their adventures. Rina was very good at taking care of "the girls" as we called them. My mother was always the navigator and my aunt was always the driver when they rented a car. They had decided to take the trip by bus, a tour bus, with several more seniors. They got separated from "the group" during their walk around the antique shops. They had gone in one door of a shop and come out of it by another door. Yes, they got turned around. Suddenly, they were on their own. Several hours past as they kept trying to find "the group".

My mother, the drama queen, suddenly stopped dead in her tracks, squealed bloody murder, "It's got me, I can't move, there is a snake around my legs. Help, someone, Help me." The anguish in her voice was nothing to the two fists wrapped around a walking stick, clinched arms, squeezed shut eyes and tears rolling down her well made up face. Everyone within earshot turned around and started laughing. She was so shocked by the roar of laughter, her mouth snapped shut and the fear she was spewing out stopped. Everyone was looking at her. She quickly checked to make sure both her false eyelashes were still on, then she followed the eyes of everyone watching her. She looked down. Her pantie hose had fallen and held her ankles tightly together. Before she could stop it a sudden gust of wind blew her skirt. She thrust her hands and arms down the front but not before mooning everyone watching. One arm instantly had gone down her backside as she tried to hold everything down but the scene was instantly funny and just enough to allow everyone a quick flash of flesh. She was horrified and could not turn away because of the pantie-hose. Her face turned beet red. My aunt came to her rescue as she approached my mother. She put her arm around my mother to help hide her face. My cousin had hurried over to her as well. My mom and her sister worked behind Rina to get the hose up before the next breeze. My mother, the very prude Sunday school teacher, then in all her dignity, (and Grandmother ringing in her head, 'Always a lady') bowed to the crowd and said, "The show is over, this stripper is now officially retired." The girls had found "the group". They had all watched the show.

The threesome had taken several cruises and several road trips together. Their stories were wonderful. I got to hear about each adventure from three points of view; my mom's, her sister's, and my cousin. Somewhere in between I feel I got the whole story. All three were always ladies as their mother, my grandmother, had taught them to be. Rina was also partially raised by my roommate, grandmother.

When it got to the point “the girls” decided not to travel any more. Instead they were each going to sell their homes and use the proceeds to build their own homes, next door to one another in a small farming community where Rina's big brother lived with his three children. Luke was the contractor for both homes as they were being built. My mother sold her home in Dallas and my aunt sold her home in Garland. Moving day came. It took everyone to move these two ladies to their new homes. My husband and I came. My sister, her husband and two boys came. My cousin Rina and of course her big brother Luke, his wife and three kids came to help.

My cousin and I spent a lot of time playing referee once these two retired ladies lived next door to one another instead of across two busy towns. Half the time they would catch one another without one of them having their hearing aids in so we were always putting out the fires from, 'what they thought, she said', type arguments.

The outings and funny stories of the three continued for almost a year. Then my husband past away and I came to live with my mother. I came with several dogs, a couple of goats, several cats, and one baby pot bellied pig, named Hamlet. It was not long before my aunt put her seamstress skills to work creating costumes for my 7 pound addition of one guaranteed delight. He had a trainer and was getting ready to do several commercials for a national food company. He also had a talent agent. It was during this time that I found another piglet, named Idabell. The trainer worked with them and the rest of our fur friends and the two piglets started performing wedding ceremonies for several hundred miles around East Texas. They performed for nursing homes and senior centers throughout the area. They became wedding planners and Hamlet's clothes designers until my aunt passed away. My mother passed away in 2007 and had spent many a fun afternoon showing Hamlet off to everyone.

About a year later I had become disabled while at work and had to go on disability. I took an early retirement. I sold our home and moved to the lake. By the time I got to the lake Hamlet and Idabell were gone and several of the older dogs had also passed away. I had one cat left, Ashley. My life of solitude began officially in 2009. Then on March 11, 2015 I died. While I was in the hospital I went from being on disability to being on social security and Medicare. That was different for me for sure. I had gone from being a very busy person to doing nothing. I became very depressed and the less I did the less I could do. Then a neighbor sent some volunteers to see me. The daily visits for four days each week became something I looked forward to and I was finally convinced to move closer to people. I sold my lake property and bought a home in this tiny town.

I got to know the Chief of Police here after about a week in town due to my dog having to be put down. The chief had brought me a new dog named Precious. My cat, Ashley had brought me a baby squirrel, I named Oscar. Ashley passed away from old age and left me the task of teaching Oscar how to be a squirrel.

The chief stopped by one day to ask for my help for a family who were new in town. My retirement changed that night from Occupation:Retired to Occupation:Volunteer.

Now you would think I would get some time to relax after my work. Why?“You are retired,right? You have the time. Will you volunteer?” What do you think saying “No.” Sounds like?I don't know I never tried it..

You are retired and have the time. Volunteering brings you an education and many rewards. You are retired and have the time to put a little music in your heart. You are retired and have all the time you need to ruin your reputation or put it back together again.

You really think the national “stay at home” order changes when you are retired and everyone knows you have the time?

Since the "stay at home" orders started I have done my duty and stayed home. I am old, I have no face mask, I am dangerous.... Yes, I am retired... I have the time. Don't worry, that is what email is for. Yes, I am retired... I have the time.. Don't worry.. I wasn't doing anything.. That is what phones are for. Yes, I am retired, yes I am fast running out of time. There is no way I can answer all the mail, email, phones calls and “Hay, Jane... “You okay?”” calls across the yard. I can't go get my mail without a yelling contest from my neighbors. Everyone wants to go get the groceries I already order, paid for and were delivered a week ago. No one wants to come near me... but the volunteering continues.

You are retired.. do you mind telling one of your stories to the kids. They are all want us to ask you for one of your beginnings to one of the magic stories. I started each one out with a new beginning and make them promise to write it down or record it. Then I give them the number of one of the others who have also called me for the same thing. It is my story exchange program. It has caught on all over town. The kids are home, driving everyone crazy, no school. “What do I do if Billy..?” I was a volunteer substitute teacher for three days. I got on the phone and called some of the teachers at the school to let them know what was happening. They were thrilled. They had told everyone who called I would not mind. She is retired.. she has the time. I can't argue with them on that one.

Three generations of retirement. My grandmother's retirement changed upon my arrival. My mother and her sister's retirement changed more than once. Mine is still evolving from one volunteering assignment to the next. What ever you do, you have the time to do it and then change it as many times as you want. Retirement is indeed a journey and not a destination.

Tags: Retirement Travel Volunteering


Viewing 1 - 3 out of 3 Comments

04/15/2020 09:29:17

Jane wrote:

Jane, what "food for thought"  you have given each of us who read your post! Thank you. Oh, yes, retirement is the new adventure, opportunity to try things you always thought about doing. One of the most gratifying is "reaching out to others", not waiting for THEM to reach out to you. Great read for a morning treat! Thank you.

You are so kind.  My Internet was up and down.  My electricity was up and down.  I was not sure if I was going to get this one done.  Lost my glasses, had several senior moments, then all of a sudden... I took my glasses off the nook in my shirt where I had put them and submitted the blog.  It is a wonder this one even made it.  I do appreciate your kind words.  I do remember my mom saying they should pray for the little group who had laughed and clapped when her skirt flew up.  She said if they got that excited over getting a tiny peek at her fanny, they did indeed need prayers.  My mom was always so dignified and conservative.  The moment would have been wasted on anyone else.  I know my grandmother would have approved.  God bless you.

04/15/2020 06:35:35

Jane, what "food for thought"  you have given each of us who read your post! Thank you. Oh, yes, retirement is the new adventure, opportunity to try things you always thought about doing. One of the most gratifying is "reaching out to others", not waiting for THEM to reach out to you. Great read for a morning treat! Thank you.

04/14/2020 22:49:47

"Retirement is indeed a journey and not a destination." 
This is definitely something to stick in our minds; we can't do everything, we must not do nothing! When my husband was wondering if he should retire when he had his 65th birthday. It was our son who reminded him that it was just a number; retire when you figure you want to do something else.

Thanks again for a very interesting peek at your family.

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