Imagine going back to a place where you hadn’t been for 10 years, and almost everything was just as you left it. I had that experience yesterday, when I returned to the place where I had worked for 22-1/2 years. Only on this day, I was not the director of volunteers of the VOICEcorps reading service, but a guest on the morning talk show called Morning Exchange. As I boarded the paratransit bus and headed to the other side of town, I felt a little bit of joy in knowing that I would only be there for a couple of hours, and then I could go back home to my good life as a retiree. I was going there to be interviewed about the book I just published, The Bumpy road to Assisted Living a Daughter’s Memoir. As I stepped off the bus and gave Dora the “inside” command, she seemed to know exactly where to go. As I pulled open the door, the administrative assistant, Carolyn, greeted me cheerfully and scurried around her desk to give me a hug. After stopping by the new executive director’s office to say hello and to greet my replacement, Amy, Dora and I headed back to the control room, just as I had done every morning I worked there. I pushed open the control room door as I had done thousands of times and let Dora precede me as I took the chair I had sat in with my morning cup of coffee while Chuck and I discussed the schedule for the day. Well that’s not all we talked about . We always had some gossip and news of our respective relationships, our plans for the weekend, or the shows we watched on TV the night before, typical water cooler talk. It was the same on this day. I pulled out my notes for what I wanted to cover on the show, and true to Chuck’s sense of humor, he said, “Just like old times, Mary comes in and starts telling me what to do.”
Chuck hosted the show, and for an hour, I got to talk about my book and how I came to write it. One of the current volunteers happens to be preparing to move her mother into assisted living, so she joined in the on-air-conversation and affirmed how relevant this book is to those of us in our age group who face this traumatic time. Although most of the listeners will not be able to read my book just yet, as it is only in print, but Chuck and I discussed how we will work together to make it available in recorded form for the Ohio Library for the Blind and eventually for the National Library Services for the Blind. The first step is to have it recorded for broadcast on the radio reading service, and as it happens, Cindy, the volunteer who did the show with me will be the reader for the book. I can hardly wait to hear it. I have only heard it read by the synthesized speech on my computer.
After the show, Carolyn and Chuck and I had lunch together in the break room as we had done thousands of times. As if choreographed, I took my seat across from Chuck, and it was as if ten years of our lives had been lifted out, and then the past and present shoved together, and it was just like yesterday that we took our places in those chairs, unwrapped our lunches, and continued our conversation. We all look older, and we certainly have 10 years more of maturity and life experience, but for a couple of hours, those 10 years just simply disappeared.