Although I was a little nervous to visit Margie, mainly because I did not know her and was worried about finding her house, I was mainly looking forward to the visit. However, actually getting there for the first visit was way more nerve-wracking than anything else.
First, when Lauren tried calling Margie, the phone just kept ringing and ringing. There wasn’t even an answering machine. We called a few times a day for a few days in a row but had no luck. Then, we thought maybe it was the wrong number. We finally found it in the white pages and I got in touch with her. When I talked to her on the phone, she sounded like a kind lady—very down to earth, but straight and to the point. She asked Lauren and me to wash her kitchen ceiling, which sounded easy enough, so we were excited about meeting her in person after the suspense of not being able to get a hold of her on the phone.
We decided to visit her on a Friday, a very memorable Friday for all three of us, and for most of Southwestern Pennsylvania as well, because it was the day of the terrible storm in
I left thirty minutes early just to be sure I made it there if I got lost—and I did. I actually didn’t even make it past the Citizen’s Bank in Greensburg, which, if I’ve gotten my bearing at all since then, is only about one street up from College Ave. right in front of the school. I was so frustrated with myself. I remembered reading Greta’s blog about worrying about getting lost, and here I had done it. It was just five minutes to four, the time when I was supposed to get there, and I was still 15 minutes from Margie’s house. That is when I called Lauren. She was so kind and told me just how to get there.
I started on my way again, with Lauren’s excellent directions, confident now that I had seen where my wrong turn was and knew the way, when plip, plop, raindrops started hitting the window of my car. I looked off into the sky at the not-so-distant black clouds looming closer. The wind picked up, and I mean that literally, as leaves blew into my windshield and cardboard boxes and litter tumbled across the road in front of me. I almost missed the turn onto Margie’s road because of the torrential downpour, and when I finally made it onto her road (dodging the metal trash cans and the piece of siding that almost hit my car) I realized I couldn’t even see the house numbers because of the rain. So I got my trusty umbrella and got out of the car. Just as I was running up to the house that I thought was Margie’s, a huge bolt of lightning lit up the sky. I realized it wasn’t Margie’s house, so I went back to my car and once again called Lauren, who once again directed me to the house. As I ran up to the porch looking like a half drowned rat, Margie and Lauren came out and held the door open for me as I went inside.
Margie told us to have a seat at her kitchen table and immediately started getting out bread and lunchmeat for us to make sandwiches. She had even made us home-made chicken noodle soup, which is my favorite. It was almost as if she knew exactly what I needed after I had such trouble trying to get there. We ate and chatted and it was absolutely lovely! Margie told us all about her children, one of whom was coming to visit her later that night, about living in
My favorite one was about one of her sons who is now a caterer. When he went to sixth grade, he told Margie that he didn’t need her to come home from work to make him lunch anymore, but that he would do it himself. She said that was fine. But one day, she saw one of his friends’ mom at the grocery store and this mom told her that her son must be a very good cook. Margie asked her why she thought that. The mom told her that it was because every day Margie’s son brought home all of his friends and made them pancakes for lunch! I told Margie that I could see why he decided to become a caterer! She had so many interesting stories like this.
After we ate, Lauren and I cleaned the ceiling with Margie’s advice. She told us that this was something she had not done for some time, since her husband had gotten sick. This made me, and I know Lauren too, feel so happy that we could help her complete these difficult tasks that had been so mundane but were so special to her now.
Later, when we had finished, Margie offered us tea, and we just chatted for the rest of the evening. Both times we went we stayed until almost ten o’clock at night because we were just having so much fun talking. We talked about so many different things: Ben Roethlisberger, the volcano in
Getting to know Margie while we helped her out was one of the best things I have ever done. I have done lots of work with senior citizens, but I never gotten to know any of them like I got to know Margie during the few hours I spent with her. She was just so full of life and such a strong person. She shared with me the fact that she cared for her husband by herself while he was ill and she always helped us with the tasks she gave us to do. She even primed the porch before we got there so that we could just start painting.
Margie helped me“keep things in perspective,” as Greta said of Tom on her blog, allowing me to have so much fun talking and working with her and Lauren, taking my mind off of all of the school work and making me think about much more important things. From her I have seen how growing older is wonderful. I have always been someone who doesn’t look forward to birthdays (no, I didn’t even look forward to my 21st birthday) because it just means I’m one year older and I have less time to do all the stuff I want to do. It’s not something I think about all the time, but, as morbid as it sounds, it is how I think sometimes. However, Margie showed me that adding that year every year just allows for more experiences, more fun, more learning, and more relationships, as I feel I have built with Margie. I think that she helped me more than I could have helped her, because she taught me lots of lessons about life.
So, from being really nervous about meeting her and being able to help her, to being confident about the future and her being able to help me, I feel that this part of our Senior Seminar project has allowed me to grow so much more than I had ever planned. I guess that is one thing I learned: why spend lots of time worrying and planning when you can just go and do and be.