Honoring Our Elders


I am often amazed at the steps in life that lead a person to one place or another.  Jennifer and I made a decision today that will hopefully affect many people in a positive way. I thought I would share with you how our paths entwined to bring us to that point.

Jennifer and I with our thinking caps on

A couple of weeks ago, I went with Jennifer to her tap performance at a retirement home in Virginia Beach. It was a wonderful day, and being able to watch the faces of the residents light up was a treasure in itself. Over four hundred pictures taken of the performers led me to a very busy next few days, sifting through them and putting together a slide show for our post the following Wednesday. But I didn’t really write much. I thought it would be fun to let the pictures speak for themselves, and I knew Jennifer would have a great post about her whole experience with the tap class.

Perhaps I was still processing. A few days later, the movie Grease came on so I watched the end. It took me back to the summer of grade five. Grease was a box office hit, and I was a budding performer. A group of us got together and wrote out the script. We practiced all summer and when we thought we had perfected it, we went to the local nursing home to perform. Some of the nurses and a few of the more coherent residents sat and watched as we did our play. There were only six of us so we frequently changed roles.

The nurses told us it was too confusing, and they wouldn’t let us come back. We were crushed, but the feeling of what we were up to lingered all these years. We were going to make a difference.  We were going to brighten the day for a handful of people who we felt were too often ignored.

Those youthful summer days, long since fallen into the recesses of my memories, were suddenly clawing their way up to the surface. I looked back fondly upon those days, and thought how interesting it was that we had tried to do something all those years ago that Jennifer and her tap group were able to pull off.

We blogged about it, and I received one comment from my friend, Grey Medicine Wolf, on Facebook:

good to see this, so many of our elders are put in homes and forgotten

His comment affected me deeply. I churned it around in my head for days.

Elders. Forgotten.

That combination of words disturbed me to my core. So, Michelle, I asked myself. What are you going to do about it? What do you have to offer them?

At the end of this path lies the answer. I approached Jennifer with my idea. We write stories. We love to read them and share them with people, and I think we are both pretty good at it. Perhaps we could go to these retirement homes from time to time and give them an hour of storytelling. No, we aren’t solving the world’s problems. There will still be hunger, war, strife, bigotry, and all the other things we wish we could cure. But for one moment in time, we will be able to brighten the lives of a handful of people.

Our elders, who we choose not to forget.

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About Michelle L. Johnson

Agent with Inklings Literary Agency, Author, and occasional wannabe comedienne. Firm believer in all things caffeinated. Represented by Jamie Bodnar Drowley.
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One Response to Honoring Our Elders

  1. pat says:

    how good you are and it is a chance to hear their stories….maybe you could tell them to us.

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