My first job was working at a hair salon for blue-haired old ladies when I was 14 years old. My job included washing and folding towels, helping customers in from their cars, and carefully covering their ears and hairline with a protective layer of cotton before placing them under a dryer to roast. Most people would think that spending the summer surrounded by women older than my grandmother while my friends were spending endless days lounging by the pool talking about boys would be sheer torture, but not me. I found these women fascinating! After all, they had lived! Tales of the Great Depression, Kennedy’s assassination, and the Civil Rights movement were spinning in my head every day.
But it was more than that. I read about all of these landmark events in history class. The real stories were about how these monumental events shaped their everyday lives. I learned of victory gardens and the personal decisions to treat people with dignity in the face of danger and alienation. I saw how someone who did without as a child appreciates all that she has some 50+ years later and is quick to share with others as others had done with her. I saw in the eyes of these women that a dream doesn’t die with an individual person but lives within all of us. I saw passion, resilience, conviction, and a quiet strength. I saw teachers who were willing to accept me as their pupil and I consider myself fortunate to have had one short summer to learn from these masters.
When 2 Places At 1 Time, Inc. wass celebrating its 20-year anniversary, I paid homage to the lessons learned from the past. To do so, I propose that the beneficiary of our 2 Places Day of Volunteerism is the aging community. Every 2 Places employee will spend the day “giving back” to their local community addressing the issue of aging. This could mean playing Bingo with seniors at a senior center, helping paint or redecorate at an assisted living community, or delivering meals and a smile to the housebound. And if we are good students, we are bound to learn a thing or two!