I’ve recently been looking for small ways I can help benefit my community.
From smiling at strangers to striking up a conversation with someone on the bus, I’ve been trying my hardest to be the best version of myself that I can.
However, I wanted to do more.
I wanted something that would fill my heart with joy, more so than a smile at a stranger.

One day in homeroom we were choosing our exploratories. Three days in our cycle we have one period where we select something to do from a list. Ultimate frisbee, drama games, and learning Greek are all common options.
As I was browsing through the list of choices, one stood out.
One that would really help me make a difference in my community.

“Write a Biography For a Senior”

To be honest, I didn’t really realize that this would help me feel like I’ve made a difference. I was really interested that I could spend time writing in a new form I wasn’t used to.
But now after completing most of this exploratory, I really feel that warm sensation in my heart.

As we arrived in the seniors home, we entered the foyer where five seniors were standing, beaming with joy.
I was introduced to Betty Ingram, who I would soon learn more than I could even imagine about her.

After the short half hour, I felt like I had known Betty my whole life. I learned that she was a bacteriologist and a paleontologist, lived in Montreal during the FLQ issue, and learned all about her love of her husband’s dimples.

After meeting with her five more times, I feel like I have been there by her side through all the sorrow, love, joy and hate.

The twist about this project is that Betty doesn’t know that I am composing a biography on her life.
All she knows is that she’s helping me with my interview skills. She also thinks that our last interview session was the last time I would meet with her.
Little does she know that I am making a scrapbook and giving her a bouquet of flowers in two weeks.

This experience is one of my top three moments of middle school.
I have overcome my slight fear of elderly people, learned how to properly interview, and made a wonderful, elegant new friend.
I have found so much joy in spending time with Betty. Even on really bad days, she manages to project a smile on my face. I’m really going to miss spending time with Betty. I really hope that I can come visit her in the future. Seeing her face light up when I come into her apartment, releases that warm feeling in my heart that I have been trying so hard to find.

3 thoughts on “Betty

  1. Touching! Wish I could see Betty’s reaction when you present her with the scrapbook and flowers. You are indeed one very sweet young lady!

  2. Hi Claire. This sounds like a fascinating project and I’m thrilled that you decided to take part. You didn’t mention Betty’s age, so could you let me know? She’s lived through many major social and cultural changes and you must have learned a lot about how women’s lives and experieinces have blossomed and expanded over the past 50 years. It would be lovely if you could keep in touch with her as I’m sure she’d be interested in hearing about the personal and career decisions that you’ll be making before you go to University and beyond and she may even offer some good advice too. Best wishes, Jane

    1. Hi Jane! Betty is 81 years old. It has been so interesting to hear about all the world events that she has gone through (World War II, FLQ, etc.) Thanks for your comment!

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