Sunday, October 17, 2010


The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being..

She said, 'Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?'

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, 'Of course you may!' and she gave me a giant squeeze..

'Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?' I asked.

She jokingly replied, 'I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids...'

'No seriously,' I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

'I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!' she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this 'time machine' as she shared her wisdom and experience with me..

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, 'I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.'

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, ' We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.

There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody! Can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.

.' She concluded her speech by courageously singing 'The Rose.'

She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those months ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.


We make a Living by what we get. We make a Life by what we give.

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.

If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

'Good friends are like stars..... .....You don't always see them, but you know they are always there.'

post signature


Mountain Mama said...

This is a sweet story Susan. Thanks for sharing it.
I am finally back to blogging. I had to change my e-mail and couldn't find my dashboard. I finally did something today and it works! I don't know what I did though....

Dan said...

Thanks for this Susan. I turn 50 in two months and am a little sad.

retha said...

How good to be remembered that live is about how or what I live now. Nothing to do with what happened yesterday or I see/think might be in tomorrow.

Mari said...

This is another good one. I'm like Dan - I'll turn 50 in about 1 1/2 months. I'm not sad about it, but it does make you think!

Oh Sew Good said...

She sounds like a beautiful woman.

Sohailah said...

love it.

Nadine said...

I was truly blessed by this story. Thanks for posting it. It inspired me today. Something I needed.

Sharon said...

That was a beautiful story and I must say that it does make one stop and think about things as we grow older.
Thanks for sharing it today.

Midlife Mom said...

Such a lovely story and very thought provoking! I would like to have met this dear lady and had a helping of her enthusiasm! I hope that if I reach that age I will still have the joy of living and be thanking God for all of His blessings! Great post!

Kathy said...

That was good. Thank you, Susan. My sweet Danny turns 50 soon, so I need all the sweet stories I can get! : ) He's going to be just fine. He's still a young whipper-snapper! : )