The Rose

Someone forwarded this to me a long time ago. Through all my computer meltdowns and purging, somehow it has never disappeared from the hard drive. It popped up out of seemingly nowhere this afternoon, and I decided to post it. Maybe it will become a keeper for you too?

 The Rose                                                                                                                                                                                                        

The first day of school, we were challenged to speak with someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.

I turned around to see a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. Can I give you a hug?”

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze.

“Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked.

She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids…”

“No seriously,” I asked. I was curious to know what motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

“I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.

We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine” as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went.

She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our farewell banquet.

I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry. I’m jittery ‘cause I gave up beer for Lent! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know…

 There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success:

  • Do not stop playing because you think you’re too old; we grow old because we stop playing
  • Laugh and find humor every day.
  • Have a dream. Never let is go.
  • There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. 

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.

The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.”

Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago and one week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be.

Image found on Google Images. Here’s the link to the photographer:



Filed under Writing

2 responses to “The Rose

  1. Miles

    Hi Joanna,

    It has been so fun reading your posts. Thank you for sharing a bit of your world. We have booked our adventure and will be on our way soon. I have sent a few emails but since our power failure, I am not sure if they are getting through. Could we connect soon? Hope you are well.


  2. kwallek

    I had a WWII history class with a fella who got shot up at D-Day, he was about 75 at the time I met him. The prof was wise enough to feature the old guy in his lecture. The school had a policy where people could take classes free of charge if they had passed 60, I met some interesting folk because of that enlightened policy.

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