Friday, October 17, 2014

At 95

I went to a presentation at noon today by an old friend, author Julie Berry. She has a fun new novel out, The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place (see entertaining trailer below).

After the presentation was over, I noticed Judge Monroe and Shirley Paxman, both 95 years old, sitting near the front. I've known them for years! Not only did they often come to events at our bookshop, Judge Paxman was one of my college professors.

I had to go over and talk to them. We walked out of the auditorium together, they with their walking sticks, me with my delight at seeing them still so curious and engaged with the community.

After reminding Judge Paxman that I had taken a course in criminal justice from him more than 30 years ago (he was in his 60s then!), I told him how pivotal taking that class had been for me. I had been thinking I'd like to go into the field to help people caught up in the criminal justice system to work their way out.

But taking that class made me realize just how naive I was. "I'd have believed anything they told me," I said. And then I happily reported to him that after many years of pursuing other goals, I was now working at the county jail, helping people caught up in the criminal justice system to work their way out.

I am less naive now. Imagine how wide open my eyes will be if I make it to 95. Especially if I stay as curious and engaged as the Paxmans have.

Also, I'm curious if anyone in Julie's new book ends up in jail. I'm looking forward to reading it!

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