Thursday, February 12, 2009
The bright spot of my debacle of a train ride home last night was a spry older woman that I ended up sitting next to after being forced to get off our broken down train one stop early and being put onto another train for arrival at our final destination some hour and 15 minutes later than planned.
And what a bright spot she was....she wore a white patent leather bucket hat, with a bright red thin scarf wrapped around her neck, dangling pearl earrings, and a coiled plastic key chain with keys and store savings cards hanging from her wrist.
We immediately started talking and she admitted to not being a commuter...which had her wondering if this was a "normal" train ride – I assured her it was not.
So my next question to her was what was she doing downtown? She had met up with a friend and went to the Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier where they saw a performance of Macbeth. They did not enjoy the play...it was, unbeknownst to them, set in modern times. After the play in an attempt to make the 4:28 train..they had to run for the Union Station bus...which worked out, selfishly enough, for me.
Sylvia talked about her love of the U.S. Presidents, how she had just been to my town library to hear a speaker talk of Abraham Lincoln; that she and a “younger” friend have traveled all over the U.S. visiting past President’s homes and memorials. She just loves to learn.
She also loves to bowl....and just so happens to bowl at the bowling alley some 2 miles or so from me. She shared that she always had thrown a 15 lb. ball, but with her age “getting up there” she was talked into buying a 10 lb. ball. With that lighter ball she started rolling some of the worst games of her life...so she bought a 12 lb. ball and last week had a 185 game!!
She is the daughter of Romanian immigrants and remembers as a young girl teaching her parents English. She has lived in Aurora her whole life, widowed some years ago and has recently moved into a condo from the home she raised her family in.
I never asked Sylvia her age – but my guess would be late 70’s or early 80’s and that was only from her telling me “if my mother was still alive she would be 100 years old." Certainly Sylvia’s beautifully sculpted face, sense of fashion, love of travel, zeal for learning and awesome bowling abilities belay her actual age.
So a tip of the bucket hat to you, Sylvia – thank you for sharing a small sliver of your life with me last night and in doing so reaffirming that you don’t have to grow “old” as you age.
use Sylvia as your gauge