Monday October 1, 2012

Harriette Leidich

If you think my life is sort of dull and laid back, you’re wrong. One a recent day my door bell never seemed to stop ringing.

The people who rang it were all happily greeted and I had a busy exciting day. One visitor came with a lot of questions she wanted answered for her granddaughter who is a journalism major at Northwestern University in Boston. Her assignment was to interview a 100-year-old lady who had just been designated as the oldest living columnist in the United States.

How we did this was by telephone. As we passed the phone from one to the other we tried to answer the questions of the young student. My hearing is so badly impaired that this kind of an arrangement had to be worked out. My bedroom phone was the most amplified so the interview took place there. I hope the information offered will give this young student enough information to submit an interesting paper. (I might add that this topic was given to the journalism student after the announcement of my designation as the oldest, living columnist in the United States.)

That still boggles my mind!

Also that day there was a visit from two friends who came by to just chat and laugh and knee-slap!

The day did not end before my nurse came by to check on my "meds." We had a nice meal together and while we were eating the doorbell sounded again. It was the librarian from the Park McCullough library bringing me a supply of reading material.


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Who says it is dull being an old lady!

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A month ago an article appeared in the Banner with the heading "Too Old to Drive?" The sentence following said "Statistics Just Don’t Support That."

The article goes on to say that elderly drivers shouldn’t be behind the wheel and out on the roads. It reported also that in a three-week period three separate fatal motor vehicle accidents in Southern Vermont had been reported.

I have given up driving my car as requested by my family. I drove past the allowed age in Vermont because I was able to do my errands myself. Each year I received the notice that my license had expired and was now due. I dutifully sent in the required fee and continued to drive. However my family asked me to give it up entirely and I did.

In defense of elder drivers the article had this to say: "According to a new study published by the Journal of American Geriatrics Society researchers reviewed police reports of fatal accidents in the United Kingdom from 1989 through 2009 and found that average drivers older than 70 accounted for far less fatal accidents than drivers younger than 29.

Point well taken, but a law is a law and older drivers must decide to give up driving when their reactions are slower and their eyesight not as good as it should be. Deafness can be a hindrance too.

There are a number of reasons a lot of older people continue to drive. But in my book a law is a law. I seem to have violated it by driving beyond the specified age. I must now depend on others or public transportation to help me with my errands.

Harriette Leidich lives in North Bennington.