Francine In Retirement
Seeing Life Through Photography



I was taught to always look for ways to be of assistance and encouragement to those around me.  Those older than I held a special interest for me because of their wisdom and knowledge.

Six years ago I met Gerda and her husband Curtis, a lovely elderly couple.  He, a retired U.S. veteran, was friendly, outgoing and a mentor to the young boys in the neighborhood.  She, a quiet but strong and courageous German woman who loves to knit, crochet and tell stories of her home and life behind the Berlin wall before its’ fall and her escape.

A year after meeting them Curtis passed away on Christmas Day, his eighty-fifth birthday.  Gerda and I both were with him when he died.  With none of her family here in the United States, and not wanting to return home, she only had her husbands sickly eldest brother living in New York State for nearby emotional and family support.  So she became part of our family and she still is to this day.  My granddaughters have been taught to knit and crochet and she has taught us all about courage and endurance.  We have learned a lot from each other and have a better understanding of different cultures, which underneath, we are the same, having the desire to love and be loved.


“People grow old only by deserting their ideas.  Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul.

You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.

In the central place of every heart there is a recording chamber.  So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, and courage — so long are you young.

When your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and only then are you grown old — and then, indeed, as the ballad says, you just fade away,”

Author Unknown

Illustrations Unlimited – James S. Hewett, Editor

This challenge is sponsored by FrizzText and you are invited to take part and view other entries on his link.




  1. What a lovely and inspirational story,just beautiful Francine, love the portraits too. Blessings all around.

  2. Thank you for brightening my day. I so needed this post, today. It reminds me that the most important things in life like family and friends should always be treasured. I also love “Young in Mind”. I especially like the lines, “In the central place of every heart there is a recording chamber. So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, and courage — so long are you young.” I believe this is the secret to staying young in mind. I just needed this reminder today to help me along. Blessings to you and to your very loved friend, Gerda.

    • I am so happy you were encouraged by this post.  It has always been by goal to encourage, inspire and support all those who visit here.  Thank you for your expressions of satisfaction.



  3. Hi Francine, love your message and your Loving heart, Ron will also appreciate sharing this with you, he is 76 but very young thinking and strong for his age, in spirit and zeal. Like you I respect the elderly and always have with a passion, they do indeed have life wisdom and as Christians Godly wisdom too, which we can all ask for and receive whatever our age.

    I adapted and created a Power point for those of us who are aging, ( see link below ) as they say we are as old as we feel, sometimes for me that is 108 but seriously although we are to be honest with our emotions, our up and our downs, Jesus was and He tells us…Come to me all you who are weary, not happy Clappy but the Scriptures tell us that although our bodies are wearing out, Trusting in The Lord means Spiritually we will soar on wings like eagles… How good is that!

    Blog Post –

    Christian Love from both of us – Anne

    • Thank you Anne and Ron for your words of encouragement. Congratulations to Ron for his young mind spirit and zeal. Thank you also for the link. Blessings to you both.


  4. What a lovely lady you are all lucky to have each other!

  5. This is just so heartwarming and inspirational, Francine. Bless you for your love and compassion. Gerda is so fortunate to have you as a good and caring friend, and as you say, you have learned so much about life from her too. Beautiful post.

  6. What a lovely story. She looks and sounds like a character I would love to get to know. You and your family are so nice and lucky to have such a wonderful addition.

  7. …elderly elegance too!

  8. You are a dear, Francine. Lucky, lucky lady, for having her life-path cross with yours. 🙂

  9. Heartwarming, lovely story. A wonderful encouraging story! Thank you Francine!

  10. What a lovely post! Thank you for sharing.

  11. love, love, LOVE this one!!! Your wonderful story of love and friendship really brought a smile to my face, and a little tear to my eye. I know there’s a special place in heaven waiting for you for the way you brought happiness back to another person’s life!

    • AH Shucks, Thank you. My aim was to convey how Gerda’s influence has brighten and enriched our lives with her wisdom and knowledge. Encouraged by your endearing comment.


  12. What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Helping the Elderly is good… But make sure they’re happy to be helped – sometimes they can view it as an insult! Good choice of subject 🙂

    • I know. Gerda still maintains her own home and does her own gardening. I never interfere with her independence. I drive her to the doctors and shopping. We try to include her in our family activities only if she chooses. We are their for support and encouragement and company if she wants it. Thanks for the good advice.

  14. What a lovely, lovely story and fabulous example for the challenge!

  15. A truly wonderful post, Francine. I’m so glad that you’ve been there for Gerda.

  16. cool expression and a very happy face 🙂

  17. A marvellous post, thanks for telling us about Gerda being part of your family, such warm photos showing Gerda’s love for you all!

  18. Thank you for this warm, wonderful, uplifting story…so needed it. 🙂

  19. Lovely story and pictures ,as you say years can only wrinkle the skin , but having Jesus in your life smooths out everything.


  20. hey Francine,
    “People grow old only by deserting their ideas.
    Years may wrinkle the skin,
    but to give up interest wrinkles the soul…”
    thank you for this –
    you’re helping me
    not to give up my interests!

  21. Young in the mind and heart is one thinking we all should embrace body, mind and spirit. For as long as there is breathe in us, we can do anything. Age is but a number. It should not define a person and his/her value in our society. Beauty is what’s inside a person’s heart. Great post!

  22. What a beautiful and inspiring story Francine! And a reminder to cherish our elders. Gerda is truly fortunate to have such kind hearted friends around.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: