Today I began my volunteer work at a local assisted living community. After spending 90 minutes on a tour and going through orientation, I was off and running. I was assigned to work with two little old ladies and a little old man. I was able to catch up with Alice (all names changed for confidentiality purposes)on the 15 floor of the building. We sat and chatted for over an hour, as she pointed out the major sites across Omaha. It was very interesting to hear Alwace talk about life in Omaha in the sixties and racial integration. Alice is white, and her family was ahead of its time. She attended an integrated parish and was on the front lines of many civil rights struggles. Should told me several stories about her beloved Irish pastor who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. She also told me about how he hosted a few communist speakers (she did not seem to mind). So, I was impressed and shocked at the same time.
The second person I met today was an 83 year old man named Charlie. He was a jolly fellow, but was busy playing Texas Hold Em Poker at the "men's club" . The club is a room with card tables, pool tables, air hockey, darts, etc.... They also had life sized cut-outs of Betty Boop and Marylin Monroe. I stayed a little while with Charlie as he gambled but left before the end.
The final woman I will be working with, Olive, was out for the day.
On the way out of the building I did meet a lovely woman who told me the story of how she fell in love with her husband and how they enjoyed 58 years of marriage together. He had passed on, but she could only smile and thank God for each day she had with him. She was filled with joy and made my heart melt.
Between now and the end of the month I will be spending much of the day on Tuesday and Thursday with my "adopted grandparents." I thoroughly enjoyed today and look forward to future adventures.