On August 19th of 2010 I met 93-year-old Charlotte as she sat on a bench with her sister enjoying the parade of sailboats gliding through Annapolis’ gentle harbor. It was Day 248 of my Year of Giving and I was looking for someone to give my daily $10 t0. Sitting next to her sister Jewell, the New Olreans resident had been in the Baltimore-Washington area for less than 8 hours – having just arrived that morning.
Ms. Charlotte is full of life and has an inviting smile that makes anyone feel welcome. It wasn’t long before I was sitting next to her captivated by the stories of her 10 children and the travels she’s made around the world. My favorite story perhaps though was about her late husband. They went on their first date on a Saturday evening during the final years of Roosevelt’s New Deal programs. On that date he asked her out for the remaining 51 Saturdays that year. Smart guy.
I visited with Ms. Charlotte in 2011. I was in New Orleans for business and wrote to her to see if she might want to get together. It wasn’t easy to schedule. She had plans to go to a baseball game on Monday night with one of her sons and Wednesdays were reserved for bridge – so we ended up meeting Tuesday evening. I picked her up and took her to a local restaurant that had fresh seafood and all the typical cajun delicacies.
Of all 365 people I met during my Year of Giving, Ms. Charlotte was one of my favorites and I wanted to send her a note today to wish her happiness on her 98th birthday.
Dear Ms. Charlotte,
Happy 98th birthday! I met you in the summer of 2010 when you were visiting your sister Jewell in Annapolis. I was unemployed and had made a commitment to give $10 to someone every day for a year. I met you and gave you my $10 on Day 248. I remember the day very well – you were wearing an elegant white outfit accented with a floral scarf.
I later enjoyed visiting with you when I was in New Orleans in 2011 and taking you to dinner. Your passion for life is contagious and I cherish the fact that our lives crossed paths.
I hope that your health is well and that you are still getting together with your bridge group on Wednesdays.
Have a wonderful birthday.
Warm wishes from Washington, DC.