By Lettie • May 16, 2020

I had been retired for five years; the first two years I volunteered a lot; the next two years doing part-time work; and the fifth year I spent completely at home with my husband and dog. No work, no make-up, no schedule! Cosmetics had especially been a "need" of mine (I've been cursed with "allergy shiner"...dark circles under red-rimmed eyes!) Nice clothes and hair styles were also fun...but these were a thing of the past.

And I questioned....Questioned my value, work, looks, etc! Then one cold, gray October day, at 11:30 a.m., there was a frantic pounding on the door. In my pajamas (at 11:30!) I opened it to see three firefighters ordering me, my husband and dog to leave the house immediately - the street was being evacuated. I rushed to put on some makeup, hair uncombed, in my ratty, old gray-green grunge sweater...and raced out the door with my little family!

At the end of the street stood all my neighbors, and I thought, "Oh darn! They're gonna seem me in my ratty sweater, hair uncombed, and allergy shiner eyes! That's not the REAL me!" And everyone warmly greeted me, and we chatted and waited for directions.

We were told it would take four hours, so we decided to go for a walk. It was a slow, lovely walk until our 9 yr-old dog collapsed and couldn't get up! And I thought, "Oh darn! The Vet's gonna see me like this in my ratty sweater, hair uncombed, and allergy shiner eyes! This isn't the REAL ME!" But we hurried to get help, and later on, with antibiotics for a fever we didn't know our dog had, we walked back to the end of our street, to wait with our neighbors for directions.

It was wonderful to chat with those we see everyday...until a cameraman and reporter from the Local News approached and asked if I would mind answering some questions. And I thought, " Oh darn! Everyone watching this is gonna see me in my ratty sweater, hair uncombed, with allergy shiner eyes! And it's not the REAL ME!" Well, that night we watched the news about a potential gas leak on such and such Street, and there were my neighbors, the news reporter speaking to them, and then turning to a calm elderly lady in a green sweater who warmly smiled, answering questions cheerfully! And EVERYONE WAS REALLY warm, friendly, and perfectly wonderful!


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