Today’s Must-Read Non-Political Story! Back in 2017, a Missouri woman named Marlene Brooks received a letter written in a shaky hand. It was from a neighbor she didn’t know named Wanda. It read:
“Mrs ? Would you consider to become my friend? I’m 90 years old - live alone. All my friends have passed away. I’m so lonesome and scared. Please I pray for someone.”
Brooks and her daughter hurried to Wanda’s house, and they said she was “such a sweet lady” and was “over the moon” to have visitors. She had serious health problems that made it hard for her to go out, and her friends and relatives had gradually passed away, leaving her isolated. She told Brooks, “I hope you didn’t think I was stupid for writing you, but I had to do something. Thank you so much for coming over. I’ve lived here for 50 years and don’t know any of my neighbors.”
Brooks writes, “I also made sure that Wanda knew she can call us at any time and that I’ll be back to spend time with her! I’m sure Wanda and I will have some great times.”
Frank Somerville of KTVU-TV reported the story and wrote, “There are so many others out there who are lonely just like Wanda. I would ask that maybe you consider knocking on their door and saying hi. I know it would mean the world to them. And who knows, maybe you’ll make a new friend.”
This story also reminds us that if you see an elderly person in your neighborhood, maybe just sitting on the porch alone, don’t assume they “don’t want to be bothered” by having someone talk to them. They might be in a similar situation to Wanda. This can happen at any time of year, but with both winter and the holidays approaching, it’s a particularly hard time to be alone. For the elderly, making new friends can be a lifesaver. And for younger people, having a friend who’s lived through so much real history can be a very enlightening experience.
I’ll leave you with a quote from a great song on this subject by John Prine:
“You know that old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers grow wilder every day.
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say,
‘Hello in there…Hello.’”