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  • Stuck in their ways, sometimes grumpy,and funny to boot, I have loved the elderly folks of America all my life. It's my grandmother fault, really. She stayed home with me while my parents were working hard to give three girls all the things in life they'd never had.

    Many years separated my sisters and I because, quite frankly, I was a surprise to all. My oldest sister was 16 years older than I, while Martha, in the middle, was six years older. So, that left Mama watching me during the day. I must have been three to four years old when Mama taught me to read and write. I couldn't learn enough! That doesn't mean to imply I was the perfect child while she kept me. Oh my, no. Nope, locking her out of the house was my way of telling her I did not want the spanking she was fixing to give me. Alas, the kid across the alley was able to get in through the windows, unlock the door,and let her in. One spanking down, one tonight when Daddy got home because one doesn't lock one's mom out- it's just not the done thing.

    The memories during this time of my life are among the sweetest I have.

    Later, as a teen, our Sunday School project was to visit the people in the nursing homes who never had any visitors or family. I chose a little blind lady who only wished someone would read from the Bible for her. That gave me sheer pleasure each week. At least, until the Saturday we all went , but my little blind lady was no longer there and no one would tell me why. Of course , I knew why and had a cry. Maybe the little bit I read from the Bible was all she needed to hear to go on Home to be with her Lord. It wasn't until later I realized what a great privilege it was for me to know her , even if for only a few weeks.

    So , you can see my passion for the elderly and from whence it came.

    I went to University in the 1970's, no longer thinking about the elderly. Instead I began to study Radio, Tv, and Film. Because I had a child when I was 17, I felt my oats at college and played rather than studied. Sadly, I was suspended and just never went back. Thirty years later, I studied Social Work in order to learn how to work with the elderly in a home I had designed in my head. I finished all the social work courses and still have math to go. 5 semesters of math of which I am terrible at and I don't know how to pass it so I can graduate.Nonetheless, I needed to get to work and checked out a website that had caregiver positions available.

    Looking for a senior caregiver position (I interned at a nursing home and a hospice) instead, I found a position for a mother's helper for an 11 year old autistic boy. I waited to apply , until I looked at the photo of the young boy , who reminded me so of my non-autistic son. I didn't know the first thing about autism, but I began to read everything I could on the subject. I applied for the job and met my future employer. We had the best time at the interview. The next step was to meet Justin.

    I went to Sonya's house the next day to meet Mr. Justin. I could tell by his reaction to me (bouncing up and down on the couch, laughing etc) he liked me and I liked him, too. He was not very verbal. He knew some words, but was difficult to understand him. I began bringing flash cards and teaching him words feverishly. He is an intelligent boy and learns at an incredible pace.He has great retention . We are silly while we learn and I love this job. This is the best job I've ever had. Sonya and I are able to work out schedules and are both flexible. More than the money, I have the knowledge that with my help , someone's life is made better, someone's family has been helped. There is just nothing better than that.
    Who would have thought loving the elderly so much would bring me to my dream job.( I refer to it as my non-job as I feel like I am just going to play!

    Justin getting his new trike
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