Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dear Prudence: Meet Mary Lee Sebastian

            Ninety-year-old Mary Lee Sebastian is a shrewd business-woman. She has been her whole life. Through her career, she was able to finance her own home in Columbia, Missouri; a home which she lived in until a little over 5 years ago. It was then that Sebastian drove her car down the street, got out of the car with the engine still running, and walked all the way back to her garden: the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease. The incident also marks the beginning of Sebastian’s move to Candlelight Lodge, an assisted living residence.
            The move was quite a transition for such a self-sufficient woman. Never married, Sebastian created a life for herself in an era where women typically married and stayed at home.  She worked odd jobs as a secretary and became proficient at typing and shorthand. Though she no longer works, she still treats most matters as if they are business. Her only gripe about life is that the Candlelight facility does not treat her stay there as if it is business. She doesn’t let this ruin her time. Sebastian goes to most of the scheduled activities such as exercises, bingo, and dances. With no immediate family, the only visitors she receives are her sister’s children. The visits are rare.

4 comments:

Cat Szalkowski said...

Who's Mary Lee? Story background info please! (and I think your b&w could use some more contrast...blacker blacks.)

Beth Suda said...

Ugh. Yeah I need to work on my Photoshop skills in the worst way.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to thank you for honoring my wonderful great aunt. She was an amazing, independant women. The photos are very flattering.

Beth Suda said...

Listening to Mary was really inspiring for me. I really look up to her and how self-sufficient she was. I recently tried to contact Mary at Candlelight, but they would not let me through. I just wanted to say hello and tell her that I still think of her. I'm not sure she would remember me though. If you send me an email at beth.suda@gmail.com, I am happy to send you and your family the photos.