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July 29, 2009 - Karin Elton
Needed to take one more photo of the big house in Lynd where the Vanstrom family gathers every July for my story for Saturday’s paper. Chatted with one of the original inhabitants, Peggy Vanstrom. She’s 94. She had spent the day getting the house in order after 45 of her relatives had spent the week there.
It was clean, but there was still stuff to do.
“I’ve been down in the basement and up in the attic,” she said.
I said, “don’t overdo it.”
That’s the way she always is, her son said.
Wow, she’s a dynamo. And her mind is just as active as her body. She reads, writes, ponders, discusses.
Her local newspaper recently asked people to send in advice to graduating seniors. The following is what she wrote and what was published in the Tribune-Star in Terre Haute, Ind.: Flexible, positive lifestyle helps My input to your challenge starts with a forever-old quote from my family: “Furnish your mind well, and you will always have a comfortable place to live — guaranteed, you’ll never be bored.” This quote has a simple meaning. Each person is encouraged to pursue a wide range of interests. One example: Exploring the absolute wonders of nature. For me (and our whole family), this lifelong interest in caring about and for the planet Earth reinforces the fact that Earth Day is Every Day. Every one of us can help. I have two signs on my refrigerator: “Humor — never leave home without it,” and, “Be flexible and you won’t get bent out of shape.” Include music and art as a vital part of day-to-day living. (This is right-brain stuff we need.) Clip and share items from your local newspaper and other print sources. This provides a great connection to your community and the world. I like to collect quotes and cartoons and trivia, serious and light-hearted fun stuff to share. Offer your help to the young and old; expect no reward. Laugh genuinely with someone and never at someone. Surround yourself with upbeat people. You can deal with the gloom-doomers later. Turn negatives into positives; yes, it can be one. Build on your political and spiritual strength. Listen and learn from discussions. You have choices on getting involved or not getting involved — oh, boy, isn’t the United States of America a wonderful country? Think about this: Chuck these words from your vocabulary — hate, worry, greed, envy, jealousy. No matter how bad things seem to be, never feel sorry for yourself. Ever. (Oh yes, and don’t whine.) We are the most creative society in the world and we have many how-to-cope problems. My confidence in the young people of today is unshakable. Ideas will flow and be shared, and the results will be remarkable. I can hardly wait. Believe in yourself; I do. Peggy Cobb Terre Haute May 31, 2009
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