Yes, She’s Had a Life: Working on the Autobiography of One Intrepid Senior

Kathryn Wilson

Our friend, Kathryn Wilson is not one of us.  She is NOT a woman over 50,  but we want to introduce her to you anyway.    She lives in Louisville, Kentucky, and is currently enrolled in Pacific University’s M.F.A. in Fiction program.  She is an aspiring writer and editor.  She hopes to one day relocate to the Pacific Northwest with her boyfriend and two cats.

Kathryn is writing an autobiography of a beautiful woman 85 years old, so we’ve invited her to share part of her work with us.  So, sit back and read Part I of this lovely woman called E.

Eloise Then

For the past two months, I have been assisting a charming 85 year-old woman with the writing, formatting, and editing of her autobiography.  As you can imagine, this is no small task.  This lovely woman (let’s call her “E.”) is a somewhat disorganized and very busy woman with mountains of newspaper clippings, photographs, and other detritus that must be incorporated into her story in some way.

Why, you may ask, did I take on this arduous task?  There are two reasons.

First, I have always gotten along with elderly folk; I love their stories, their idiosyncrasies, their endearments, and free cookies, so getting paid to spend time with someone from my favorite demographic seemed too good to be true.  Secondly, I have always been inspired by my own grandmother’s stories of her life in the coal country of southern West Virginia.  My grandmother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so I have quickly learned the importance of recording memories.  I related to E.’s wish to record her life story for future generations.

E. is, on the surface, just as sweet and amicable as your own grandmother; she frequently calls me “honey” and shares delicious Modjeska candy.  But it was in working on E.’s story and delving into the details of her life, that I found she is so much more than a delightful, polite elderly woman who just happens to live in a condo with seven bathrooms.

E. has witnessed a great deal of tragedy in her life.  She married three times; her first husband, the love of her life and a famous radio and television personality, died in a car wreck after they had only been married nine years.  Her son contracted polio, but luckily survived.  Her second husband, who she was married to for over thirty years, died after a lengthy and painful illness.  E. lives now with her third husband, J.  They were married in their childhood church and just happened to be the oldest couple ever wedded in the chapel.

E.’s adventures were not limited to her love life, however.  To read more, stay tuned for Part II.

Eloise Now

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