Wild Coyotea

Herbal Alchemy Inspired by California

92 and Loving Life

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My grandpa, Clifford Brothers, is 92 years old. He was born on a farm in Western Massachusetts, the oldest of 6 children, to two alcoholic parents. At 16, he dropped out of school to take care of his younger brothers and sisters because his parents were unable (or unwilling) to do so.  He never graduated high school, but joined the Navy at 21 and travelled around the world during WWII, stationed in San Diego and the Philippines.  He married my nana, Thelma Shortsleeve, his childhood sweetheart, despite the efforts of each family to prevent them from doing so.  Thankfully, they moved away to California in the early fifties to start anew.  My grandpa worked for many years as a prison guard as well as an insurance salesman. My nana was one of the first women to attend UC Davis as a medical student, where she became a nurse practitioner.  My wonderful nana, Thelma Brothers, passed away 8 years ago.  My grandpa was understandably devastated, but through the community of the Healdsburg Senior Center, he found a new passion for life. His whole outlook changed – he started taking classes, including writing classes, which surprised my family.  He now writes poems and stories regularly, and was published in a book by his writing group, Tuesday Morning Memories: An Anthology. He lives alone, cooks for himself, drives around town, and makes friends wherever he goes. 

Here is an inspiring story from the perspective of a ninety-two year old man!

A few weeks ago I read an article by a man who was 88 years old. He wrote about his life and all the memories he had lived through. Now that he was old as he described, it made me think about myself at 92. Our lives were certainly different, comparing backgrounds. He was brought up in a stable and well-to-do background. He felt as if his life was complete and about over for a man of his age. How negative, I thought, sure he is older but the whole world and adventures lie before him to discover, if he only would open his mind to explore the wonderful word we are seeing today. 

The discoveries in space, science, medicine, curing so many problems of living longer, to still be full of vigor. The world is exploding with new ideas and knowledge every day. What an exciting time we are living in.  

I marvel at the new discoveries that have happened since I was born. Yet I feel it is only the beginning of life and the future. What an exciting time to be living in the 21st century.

I did not think about all things in the past. There are so many wonderful memories in my life that would take a book to detail them. I am living today 92 years old, the future is what I am excited and concerned about.  We control our own desires and wants in how we want to live, in negative or positive lives. I choose my own way – how to live my life. I have seen too many seniors give up instead of standing up to look around at the world. There is still time to live for tomorrow instead the year of yesterday.  When I lost my honey of 62 years, I had negative thoughts. My world came crashing down on me. Wow. I had known about the Senior Center – it was time to explore and see what it was really like with other seniors.

I was surprised to see vibrant people writing, making art, exercising and empowering their health. I stepped into the group and found life was exciting and wonderful. I became alive and was looking toward the future instead of thinking about the past.

I even had some stories published in a book by the seniors, to my surprise.  What a wonderful group of human beings, living in today and not yesterday. It was a new beginning in my life. Do not let people say, “You can not do that.” Do not listen to them, for they have given up. Keep up your positive attitude and before you know, wow, I could be 100 in 8 years!

If I have offended anyone by my writing, I apologize. My eyes are open and I welcome positive ideas.  I hope we will see you in some classes at the Healdsburg Senior Center due to my thoughts. I appreciate all the help – we can make this world a better place to live.

Grandpa with my sisters and I: Califa, Gwen + Ash 

Grandpa with my sisters and I: Califa, Gwen + Ash