Saturday, July 2, 2011


In other news, we were very late walking home from the grocery store tonight because we walked past a lady whose cart was stuck. As it turns out, the carts at Whole Foods Mart in Berkeley have some sort of sensor (allegedly) that prevents one wheel from turning if it is taken too far out of the parking lot. This woman was elderly and looked like she could use a hand. Her back looked to be a little malformed, as if she could be a foot taller if she could stand up strait, but she was thin, walked slowly with a cane, and had excellent hearing. She told me her name was June, and she had moved to Berkeley 60 years ago from China, when she was 31. Yep, this lady was 91 years old!

She lived a few blocks from the store and usually took a taxi, but thought she would try walking today. My guess is that she got tired walking there and figured she could use the cart to help her get home, but, not having needed it before, didn't know that the cart wheel locked up, which left her stuck at the edge of the parking lot, where we met her. She asked if we could help her move the cart, and after some effort (and a guy telling us about the locking wheel), we offered to carry her groceries home for her. Okay, I offered to carry her groceries home for her while my dear sweet husband (with our baby girl strapped to his chest) sighed and wondered what kind of trouble his wife was getting us into now.

It took about 30-40 minutes for us to walk the three blocks to her house. She used her cane, but also held onto the stroller and took a few breaks along the way. I learned that June moved here 60 years ago after she found out her husband was having an affair (which she said made her angry, then corrected herself to say that she was upset by it). She taught Mandarin Chinese to some Americans in China and they helped her immigrate to the US with her son. She has one son, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, who all live in Palo Alto, but she loves Berkeley. She loves that it is an educated town. She's taken so many classes at the adult college that they won't give her any more scholarships for the elderly.  So, instead she learns by listening to the radio and reading, when she can. June also told us that her son and daughter-in-law have been trying to get her to move in with them, and she is now planning to do that soon.

I was amazed at her clarity of thought, her wit, and her friendliness. I was also very impressed by her mobility, especially for being 91 years old!! I do hope that I see June again, in this life, but if not, she made one Saturday afternoon brighter for me. Thank you, June. :)

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