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Lessons From The Old Lady Intro

By June 2, 2015June 5th, 2015No Comments

The other day I declared to my coach that I would start a blog once a week dedicated to my grandma Laverne, aka The Old Lady, who recently passed away. She was a teacher, a wise soul and an extraordinary woman. She taught me many life lessons that I would like to share in honoring her life and continuing her legacy and voice through sharing my own.

Over the next 52 weeks I will share a lesson, inspiration or thought inspired by my grandma, LaVerne. She would be thrilled. Thank you grandma for your love, lessons and legacy.

I’d like to start by giving a little background on my grandma to set the context for this blog series.

The Old Ldy lived a full 91 years and really lived each day to the fullest. She was born in the 1920’s to a young single mother. My grandma spent much of her upbringing living in a convent because her mom needed to work and didn’t have much support in terms of childcare. She told stories about the nuns and weekend trips to get ice cream when her mom didn’t visit. This was the beginning of a life-long love of ice cream. It brought her joy and was the last thing she ate before she passed.

Grandma Laverne graduated high school early at the age of 16 and went on to study and later teach drama and speech. She studied at the Pasadena Playhouse and was set to ship out during World War II, but then it ended. She became a grade school teacher and found a great passion for it. I remember visiting her 4th grade class when I was in 4th grade. Her students loved her so much and I felt so welcomed.

My grandma married my grandfather Neil and together they had 4 children. Unfortunately that didn’t work out and my grandma found herself raising four children on her own while teaching school. She understood the challenges of balancing a career, family and self-care. I will speak to this later in future posts.

Tragically, my grandma lost her youngest daughter to cancer at the the age of 13. Can you imagine what that would be like for any parent, let alone a single, working mom at the time? Despite all her misfortune in the early part of her life, Laverne continued to remain optimistic about life. She just had that kind of attitude and outlook. More about that later too.

Grandma always took me and my cousin Julie for a couple weeks every summer. We would go to Big Bear or do something else fun. She had a major influence on our upbringing. She instilled the value of education from early on, amongst other things. She has always been a strong presence in all her grandchildren’s lives.

Fast forward to age 60 when my grandma retired from teaching. She moved to Sun City, CA and created a new life for herself. She loved to travel, as do I, and she made many friends. She rode her bike daily, swam, played bridge and joined TOPS, a weight-loss support group. She was well liked and loved by many. She became the inspirational speaker for TOPS and always left her friends smiling.

Every time I saw her she had a new joke for me. And they were actually funny. Her sense of humor left you feeling good inside every time. One of the pictures we used for her Memorial was her laughing with her hands next to her ears saying, “nah nah nah nah hah” and her quote “life is too short, exit laughing.”

She was strong, independent, humorous, loving and made others feel special until the day she died. She has truly made an impact on me and it will be fun to share the many life lessons with you. My hope is to inspire you to live your life to the fullest and be all that you can be. Let the good times begin!IMG_0047

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JUSTINE ARIAN, CPCC Certified Professional Co-Active Coach

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