Wednesday, May 9, 2007

You're Never Too Old

It’s a tired cliché…And, then, there’s another story out there to prove it’s true!

On Saturday I heard the most remarkable story of Nola Ochs, age 95, who graduates next week with a B.S. in General Studies from Fort Hays State University in Kansas. Scott Simon from NPR interviewed her by telephone at her residence on campus.

She’s been taking classes for years, having started in the 70s with a tennis class. She moved on to agribusiness, history and writing. She says she has a laptop, has written over 100 papers, and loves bringing history alive for her classmates with her stories and memories of the last 80 or so years.

This is the story of someone insisting on staying mentally fit for as long as she can. Talk about brain fitness!

She reminds me of many of our customers who bring bravado and imagination to life as they age. This kind of person stays focused on the moment and what is possible. You can hear the spunk in Nola’s voice. Like our customer, Exie, who weaves despite her challenges with macular degeneration. In fact, Exie is always on the hunt for the tool that will help her stay connected to the yarn. She keeps us on ours toes looking for new low vision aids.

Nola’s story took an otherwise ordinary day for me to another plane. I’m thinking about it still and hoping I will be as bold as to grab life always with such verve. I wish I could be there that day when she walks on stage arm-in-arm with her granddaughter, who is also graduating with her bachelor’s degree.

“What do you want to do with that degree, Mrs. Ochs?” asked Scott Simon. “I’m applying for a job as a storyteller on a cruise ship!”

Darn. I was hoping we could hire her!

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