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Carol Perkins: Always the same girl - 19 or 90

Carol's own mother, Marguerite Sullivan, and a high school friend's mother, Edalene Hope, are both inspirations today for writer. Both stay involved, both stay current.
Next earlier column: Carol Perkins: Speaking career takes new turn

By Carol Perkins

Not long ago, I saw one of my high school friends and her mother. During my teenage years, I spent more than a few hours at her house, along with all our other girlfriends. Bonnie Hope (Froggett) lived in the Summer Shade area, which seemed far away from my home in Edmonton. After school, we rode the bus to her house for sleepovers and spent our time giggling and talking about boys. Her parents, Edalene and Gladwell, were more than patient. Any time I see Edalene Hope, I know that if we went back to her kitchen, we would still giggle and talk about old times.

I commented how wonderful she looked, still as lovely and classy as ever. "People think we're sisters," Bonnie said with a laugh. In her nineties, Ms. Hope is active in the Homemakers and attends her great grandchildren's ballgames and whatever other events come along. She stays current. "If she wants to know about something," her granddaughter Laura told me, "she will ask one of us to Google it for her." Being well read and never without the Courier in their home, Edalene has never lost touch with the world. She lives "in" the present rather than the past, which could account for her youthful attitude.

When I commented about how little she changed, she said, "Behind these wrinkles, I'm still the same person I have always been." Behind these wrinkles. One little phrase packed quite a wallop. I think this needs to be a bumper sticker.

Behind the wrinkles. I knew exactly what she meant. Just because we grow older doesn't mean we abandon who we have always been. We may feel mentally sixteen, but physically we have to put the brakes on a little more often than not, but that doesn't change who we are. In my mind, I am still the young girl playing paper dolls or dress-up and dreaming of my future. I still want to paint a room, walk through the mall and back, and roller skate at Gene's Freeze. I visualize riding a bike down the state barn hill or climbing to the top of the rock pile nearby.

Behind the wrinkles. My mother, Marguerite Sullivan, is still the same young girl who decided she was going to college (Lindsey Wilson) when most of her high school friends thought only about getting married (that was the thing to do back then). That same girl wanted a "war" job, so she moved to Louisville and worked in a chemical plant during WWII while her future husband served five years overseas. She rode a bus to and from Charlestown, Indiana from Louisville each day.

Just like my mother, Edalene Hope is the same young girl she was when she was a young bride and then a young mother with two children, bringing them up on their family farm while never losing touch with the community. She worked at Summer Shade Elementary as a teacher's aide, raised huge gardens, attended all the events both Bonnie and her brother Rick were in, and later cared for her mother, her mother-in-law, and the elderly in the community. According to her granddaughter, she took care of everyone around her, making sure they had groceries, and still does!

As wrinkles edge in around my eyes, my chin, and form valleys beside my nose, I am not going to dwell on the aging process anymore. Edalene has inspired me to be present in my life and not dwell on what I see in the mirror or what I once could do. After all, I'm still the same girl I've always been. We all are. Thanks for your words of wisdom, Edalene Hope!

This story was posted on 2018-02-15 02:51:47
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