Most of my life has been filled with movement, purpose, and work. But right now it is a little different. There are times in our life when we pause and reflect. As we respond to each event and circumstance so it goes that we build a life. We adapt to our new circumstances. It’s how I have built my life.
I became a massage therapist in my 20’s. My business was thriving, I had a lovely office overlooking the water, things were good. After I went through a personal disaster and survived a national disaster my massage business took a nose dive. I found other ways to survive. The uncanny timing of all the mayhem coincided with some of my clients’ aging emergencies and stresses. We had all of us been fiercely independent, mostly successful and were financially secure. That was all taken away in a matter of a few weeks.
We were, all of us, left grappling for some stability and safety during that time. Just having a safe place to live when the roof has been blown off your home was harder to come by than you might imagine. When your source of income dries up, and for some, your health begins to fail, what do you do?
It was during that chaotic period in my life that I befriended three cool old women,or as I think of them, three crones. It seems all half hazard at the time, but in retrospect, I can see God setting me up when I look at it now. Here is the story of the wisdom I earned while serving them.
My road as a therapist and personal assistant is a long and winding one. I was managing a small private busy massage practice and working on developing a personal training clientele, when the economy took a nosedive
At the same time that I was struggling to keep my business going some of my clients we’re nearing the ages of 80 or 90 and they were beginning to experience physical issues which made it necessary for them to have assistance. From the year of 2008 till 2018 I became the personal assistant and helper to three elderly women.
My first crone was Jeanne. She was a natural Rockstar and local celebrity. When you arrived somewhere in the company of Jeanne people would stop what they were doing and run up to see her and hug her. She actually did have a short stint career at the fountain blue hotel when Jackie Gleason was performing his show there. She was one of the June Taylor dancers. The funny thing about that is she didn’t really have much previous experience on the stage , but she just has that presence and a big smile and of course she was a tall blonde which was required for the dance team. It all began when Jeannie was at a bar in Key West with her husband when a talent scout approached her. He liked the look of her and thought she would be perfect in the dance line for the June Taylor dancers. On a lark, she showed up for the audition and of course she got it. In her life, Jeannie has been married three times.
When Jeanne and Dick were first married, he was stationed out west at the border of California and Nevada. She had to go see him because she missed him too much to wait. They did not have much base housing available. When Jeanne was on the road on the bus traveling out west, she befriended a very friendly sweet young girl who said don’t worry you can stay in the same place I stay when I come out there.
When she arrived, it was at a hotel that was partly in one state and partly in another. On the one side the hotel was quite conservative. They did not serve alcohol and the clientele was a bunch of teetotalers. The other half of the hotel was filled with a raucous bunch that were drinking and partying, running around naked and had lots of prostitute staying at the hotel. Jeanne had never been a teetotaler, so she gravitated to the rather raucous side. When her young husband arrived and saw the situation, he earnestly explained to her that she could not stay there. She moaned” but the other side is no fun”. They had a twenty-year marriage that ended in divorce when they lived in Long Island.
Jeanne married another man, mainly a marriage of convenience, named Ed. One year they came to Florida and Jeanne fell in love with a little cottage in Indialantic by the sea. She convinced him to buy it as a vacation home. The area was still quiet and not over developed yet. Luckily there were a couple bars within strolling distance.
That is where Jeanne met George. She volunteered to use her car for some charity event and they hit it off. They had a fun time together and she headed back to Atlanta where she was living. George could not stand to be away from her!
He called her and said, “I’m coming to get you”. George drove to Atlanta, explained to her husband that he was taking Jeanne. He bought the house from Ed. They moved in together into the pink and white cottage. Jeanne and George were involved in helping the animals. They helped establish every facility and they started a low cost spay and neuter clinic to slow down the pet population. They would feed feral cats, trap them, spay them and set them up a neat little camp where they fed and watched over them.
There are veterinarians in town who started out helping in her clinic and went on to build a very busy practice. She had countless garage sales with items she would convince her bar fly friends to donate. I used to say Jeanne don’t you feel odd asking people for money or donations?” Oh no” she’d say, “I’m giving them the opportunity to do something good.” She also did things to be helpful politically. She was supportive of groups that do good legal work to help the environment. She was one of the smartest people I had ever met. If she did not understand a word meaning quickly then she would find her trusty webster dictionary and look the word up.
When she was a child her Dad, who was a German immigrant would make them study three new words every day from the dictionary. She loved fun words, like skullduggery…reprobate, bamboozled, jocularity and juxtaposition.
I loved hearing stories about her life, it was like knowing a living history book. There was one story that was my favorite.
One night I had made some cocktails and was about to take a sip and I mentioned an alien show I saw on TV. I was telling her the History Channel was explaining that God was an alien and she said I don’t know if God’s an alien that I know there’s aliens. I said oh my God if I know you never told me the alien story and you’ve got one you better spit it out.
Well, she said as she tipped her glass up to her lip and took a sip of her cold Manhattan, “you know I’ve told you we were stationed in New Mexico for a while. Yes, I said I remember that. Well one night my husband was working, and I went to the bar by myself.
I arrived home and remembered my cat was in the yard, so I walked out to the yard, here kitty, kitty looking for my kitty and I bent down to scoop her up and all the sudden up above me was something I did not even know how to identify. It was large and saucer shaped and had colored lights on it and bright light beaming down I was so stunned I grabbed my cat and then I ran in the house and shut the door and I probably poured out the booze that was sitting on the counter. I had assumed that when I had a drink when I came home that it must have been bad or something wrong with it because I was clearly having hallucinations. When my husband arrived home, I asked him if anything different was happening at the base tonight or were they flying any special new planes or something like. He replied no big deal, same old same old. I did not ask anything else about it.
The next morning, I went over to my neighbors to have coffee with her and we were both kind of awkward at first and finally blurted out to each other did you see something strange last night? Sure, enough she had seen a bright light fill up her bedroom, when she went to the window to see what might be out there, she just caught a glimpse of what Jenny had seen and said it was there and then it was gone either one of them heard any sound or felt any wind it was just there hovering above them and then it disappeared.”
During the following days there was all kinds of hysteria in the news that this woman had thought she saw aliens. I do not know exactly what happened but they treated her like she was crazy. Jeanne and her friend knew to keep their mouth shut, Both of them were Air Force wise, and they understood the sometimes you don’t ask questions. And she said she never told anyone that story until we were sitting there having cocktails and she was in her late 90s.
Stay tuned for more Crone Stories coming up.