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  • I moved to The Netherlands about a month ago and today, for the first time, I met Ellie.

    Ellie's was married to Uncle Ron for 50+ years. When he died three years ago, Ellie moved back to The Netherlands.

    Ellie is family: Uncle Ron's mother was the sister of my maternal grandmother. I don't know if English has the word, like other languages have, to describe Ellie's official relationship to me. But it matters not.

    Ellie is 92, so I knew more or less what to expect: a frail voice, a walking stick and/or walker, layers of wrinkles, large frame glasses, a hearing aid and/or impediment, a lot of talk and self-pity about ailing health, medications, impatience with youth.

    What heartwarming joy to meet and embrace Ellie at the doorstep of her bungalow today, ushering me inside with a voice having no trace of elderly-ness, revealing no eye wear nor hearing aid of any kind nor noticeable impediment of either, no stick nor walker in sight, only wrinkles born from smiles, neither “health” nor “medication” uttered in over two hours, an open mind and an open door for visitors of all ages.

    Ellie made no attempt to embellish her past life with stories of great achievements or great loves lived and lost. She expressed no regret for her and Uncle Ron not having had children together.

    Ellie did reveal that she has no particular stress nor a passed age to which she longs to return; Ellie has always fixed her sights forward.

    I too am looking forward, to the next long afternoon with my mother's mother's sister's son's wife Ellie. I want to learn and share the secrets of longevity.
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