Seniors are a too-often untapped resource in our communities. It's time to change that! Please join me as I talk with Seniors all around the world who have nothing but great stories to share from a lifetime of experience, wisdom to pass along, and knowledge that can make a difference in your life. Don't forget to #callyourgrandma
Episode 12: Eileen Beck Keeler (age 90)
In this episode I had the pleasure of interviewing my dear friend's Grandma, Eileen Beck Keeler. Eileen was born on April 19, 1931 in Pennsylvania. She got married at 17 years old and moved all around the world with her husband Ed. Her relationship advice? Be prepared to give and take, learn to appreciate your partner, and don’t shy away from affection! They both had 3 beautiful boys that they raised in Alexandria, VA. She worked as a teacher’s aid for twenty years where she felt she could truly connect with the children and was able to learn from them every single day. Not only does she feel she was able to learn every day throughout her career, but to this day says she learns something new with every single interaction she encounters. Her words of wisdom blew me away as they were very "yogi".. Eileen shared with us that "what you give is what you get" - if you have good vibes, and you give off good positive energy with a smile, that is what you shall receive in return. I couldn't agree more! Enjoy!!
Episode 11: Donne Davis (age 74)
Donne Davis, founder of The GaGa Sisterhood, is 74 years young. She was born in 1946 and has three grandchildren.
She has been extremely successful throughout her life as a mother, wife, life coach, counselor, and speech pathologist but found her truepurpose in life after retiring in 2003 when she became a Grandma. Hearing her talk about how special it is to be a Grandma brought me to tears! Donne met many other Grandmas who also felt this role was so profound and spoke the same language. They were all going through the same experiences as a Grandma which led to her creating the GaGa Sisterhood where Grandma's can bond, brag, and benefit. The GaGa Sisterhood has been around for 17 years! They cover all things: techniques, travel, reading, sleep, meditation, forgiveness, ideas of what to do with grandchildren, experiences as a Grandma, relationship issues, tips and tricks and more.
I learned so much from this conversation as we really got deep and took a look at various situations from many different perspectives.
Donne had some great advice for any Grandchild-Grandparent relationship on how to stay close. She offered up so many great things to do together (socially distanced or not), questions to ask, and conversations to have to help each other find commonalities and play an active role in each other's lives. I hope that Grandmas who listen to this episode consider joining the AMAZING GaGa Sisterhood (I can't wait to join one day) and Grandchildren feel inspired to feel connected to Grandparents.
She finishes our amazing conversation by going into 6 skills she and the rest of the Grandmas from the GaGa Sisterhood are strengthening in 2021: Self-care, Self-awareness, Patience, Curiosity, Empathy and Forgiveness. Talk about a great 2021 if you focus on all six of those skills! Lastly, her final words of wisdom to share — do your best to be a good listener... something that is so important but hard to do!
Episode 10: Michael Cohen (age 79)
Join me in this episode with Doctor Michael Cohen, age 79 turning 80 this March. Not only is he extremely talented with his poetry (he recites a Yates poem for us in the beginning) but is also an extraordinarily talented doctor who won an Ellis Island Medal of Honor for Achievements in the Field of Medicine in 2019, still practices medicine (and has since 1965), and currently teaches a course at Columbia Medical School on the role of bedside manner in working with and diagnosing patients.
Michael is also a husband who has been married for over 58 years, a father to two daughters, and known as Pop-pops to his 5 grand-children. He is around young people all of the time teaching medicine, which he attributes to what helps him stay sharp (and boy is he sharp!) as well as having a hunger for learning.
Despite all of his accomplishments, he is the most humble person you’ll come across. He has made a large impact in the medical field in many ways, directly in his practice and indirectly, through fundraising, but he says that the most rewarding thing he has done in his lifetime is taking care of human beings.
Some words of wisdom passed along from Michael include, “Learn to listen.” Whether you are a physician or not, “the more you learn about a person and where they are in their life, the more appropriate your advice will become.”
He also strongly believes you can stay young by continuing to learn everyday and getting insight into other peoples journeys on this planet.
Truly the most humble man, he believes in service; “When it’s all over, in the end it’s what you did for others that matters the most.”
Episode 9: Grandma Bobbe (age 87)
Grandma Bobbe graces us with her presence in today’s episode! She may be known by most as a TikTok star with 2.9 million followers who has been a guest on Jimmy Kimmel and The Kelly Clarkson Show but there is so much more to her! I have to be honest I was extremely nervous for this interview as I felt like I was interviewing a famous celebrity, which I was!
But Grandma Bobbe made me smile almost the entire interview as she is the most humble, sweetest, and genuine person who truly lights up any room she is in. Grandma Bobbe was born in Georgetown, Kentucky on February 12, 1933. She loves to spend time with loved ones (including her favorite Grandson behind the TikTok videos, Matt), LOVES to fish, loves to have a good time, and LOVES her whiteclaws!
She broke her hip which wiped out some of her memory but luckily she had her Grandson, Matt, to help her out. It was so nice to listen to her talk and go through memories in her life, especially those that came back to her that she had forgotten about. We got to chat a little bit about her life, her children, and grandchildren. We also talked about what it's like to be on TikTok (she claims he doesn't even know what that is haha!) and of course she mentioned her favorite Grandchild, Matt, many times!
Some words of wisdom she passed along include to always be yourself and accept other people for who they are, especially in relationships! Her advice for when you run into people you don't get along with: just ignore them and keep to yourself (and do Grandma things if you're GB). She believes that the best you can do is to be yourself and don't try to be something else and relax and take it just one day at a time :). Excellent advice if you ask me! ENJOY!!
Episode 8: Bena Shklyanoy (age 75)
Bena Shklyanoy, age 75, was born on July 29, 1945 in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, when it was part of the Soviet Union. After finishing the Kiev State University with a graduate degree in Russian Language, she worked as a technical translator and editor. In 1976 she immigrated to the United States with her husband and two young daughters settling in Chicago. She spoke with me about her experience growing up in the Soviet Union and how different, and at times difficult, it was to lack the freedom we are all used to in the United States. She lived in a communal apartment, had to be careful about who she talked to about certain things, and didn’t even know what life would be like once she immigrated to the USA. Her driving force to leave the Soviet Union and say good bye to her parents, unsure if she would see them again one day, was to give her daughters a life she didn’t have.
In 2004 when Bena’s mother passed away she felt extremely scared that her heritage would slip away and be forgotten so she started her family story project and dug as much as she could to fill in her family tree for her daughters. She talks about this amazing experience connecting with family from all over who despite being separated for so long or not closely related (2nd cousin for example) family members still would see similarities in one another both externally and internally.
She put together this information on her website: https://appledoesnotfall.com and eventually this all was made into TWO plays!
Not only does Bena pass along words of wisdom of her own, but she also passes along words of wisdom from her Grandmother, who she shared a room with throughout most of her childhood. My favorite bit of advice passed along from her Grandmother was, “the things you can buy are cheap and the things you CAN’T buy are of value.
*FYI, in episode I said my Nanny's bday is July 12. I have no idea where my mind was at.. it's June 12. Sorry, Nan! But, my GREAT grandmother's bday is July 12 - shout out to her :)*
Episode 7: Leo Dorman (age 96)
In this episode I had the privilege of sitting down with Leo Dorman, a tri-vet who is 96 years old! Leo was born in Saline, Louisiana on July 30, 1924. Leo has served our country three times in total: World War 2, Korean War, and the Vietnam war. Leo went away to military school at 9 years old and began his career of flying at age 18 when he was sworn into the Navy as a Navy Aviation Cadet on September 3, 1942. With good training, a little bit of luck, trust in others, and determination Leo was able to fly over 10,000 hours. He flew over 30 different types of planes and has a model plane of every plane he flew, which he showed to me as we spoke (so you will hear some pauses as he shows me the planes). He was an operations officer based on a small island in the Bikini Atoll in support of nuclear bomb testing which you will also hear about! Some words of wisdom you will walk away with include Leo's advice to think twice and act once, live an honest life, and treat others the way you would like to be treated.
Love putting this on, sitting back and just smiling. Such an uplifting and interesting podcast. Especially in today’s world!
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