Thanksgiving is a time for friends as well as family, especially as we get older. From personal friends to online help-mates, here are a few examples.
Thanksgiving is a time for friends as well as family, especially as we get older. For the start of the holiday season, a few stories of people who are grateful for and work hard to keep their bonds:
There’s Phoebe Mulligan, 95, of Scituate. The day I called, she had just come back from an outing to Wellfleet with four other women.
“What are you most thankful for this year?” I asked. “My friends!” she immediately responded. “And they are all as ancient as I am.” Mostly in their 80s, they will go out to dinner together Thursday.
This Thanksgiving finds Joanne Orlando, 64, of East Weymouth with some new ties of a different kind. Orlando is reaching out to help others, despite the recent loss of her daughter, Amy, 38, and she has been helped in turn.
It was only five months from the diagnosis of melanoma to the death of Amy Orlando in October. Orlando had three boxes of unused home medical supplies and wanted to donate them to others. Her request was posted on the Good Age Blog.
“Everything was set for hospice, but she never came home,” Orlando wrote. “Others must have gone through the same thing and would know what to do. I just can’t throw out all those supplies. I know someone, somewhere can use them.”
Leanna Hamill, a Hingham lawyer, suggested the Etrusco Association in Scituate. There, volunteer Margery Suomala of Hingham, who used equipment from Etrusco after she had a hip replacement, helped further. Others suggested hospices and VNAs.
“That is all great information. Thanks to everyone,” Orlando wrote.
She also turned to her friends in the Naughty Needlers knitting group at Weymouth’s senior center. Gerry Hayes, 77, lost her 20-year-old grandson to cancer in January. “So many here have lost husbands, kids, grandkids and we help each other,” Hayes said of the group.
“You come in here, they look so plucky, with earrings, red lipstick, and then you find out what they’ve been through. They survive. They are cheerful, knitting, doing things for others.
“We’re all old broads and we’ve been through it all. In the trenches. Here you can let your hair down.”
The guys version of all this was working overtime last week with the sad news of the death of retired Capt. Henry Cassani, commander of South Weymouth Naval Air Station from 1973 to 1976.
Cassani had kept in touch with a group of old Navy buddies for years. Their last reunion was in 2005, and Cassani organized an e-mail network. When he died of diabetes Nov. 17 at age 79, his son, John, a Navy commander, found his dad’s e-mail list. The word went out, and the calls and condolences began.
On Thursday, do you know someone who could use a touch of friendship?
You may receive back more than you give.
Reach Sue Scheible at firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-786-7044, or The Patriot Ledger, Box 699159, Quincy, MA 02269-9159. Read her Good Age blog on our Web site.