- Coming Clean -

COMING CLEAN: A Friend for the Ages

How my intergenerational friendships have offered unexpected blessings and great life lessons.

Mildred and young Courtney

The other day, I came across a segment by one of our local news stations about 89-year-old Erling Kindem and his next door neighbor and friend, 3-year-old Emmett Rychner. Now, I know my hormones are running high growing this baby, but I was so touched by both the storytelling and their sweet connection.

Just try to watch the video without shedding a tear.

Their story reminded me of my former neighbors, Mildred and Jack Hermann, who, in their late 60s and early 70s, entertained my toddler curiosity with story time, magic tricks, gardening, and bubble chasing.

I couldn’t pronounce “Jack,” so I called him Bop. He had lost a part of a finger, either his middle or ring finger, if memory serves right, in an accident. I always assumed it was in World War II, but I think Mildred later confirmed it was a machinery accident. The mystery of the loss, of course, only made Bop more intriguing.

I’m sure it was those early memories of my older friends that developed my interest in history and generational differences, and to always be open to a new bond with people of all ages. As we shared in “The Value of Intergenerational Relationships,” those connections can offer rich rewards indeed.

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