1 of 10
Click ‘Next’ to View Gallery
Do you ever wonder what you’ll look back on in your life when you’re on your deathbed? Do you think the things that you consider to be important now will be the same later on? Far too many people focus on all the wrong things in life. Money, keeping up with the Joneses – material items whose value fades fast. Well listen to these inspiring people who have lived a full life at what they consider to be life’s most memorable, and meaningful moments. Perhaps after reading, you’ll find what really matters most to you.
Cuttin’ Up The Rug
“I felt safe,” Vivien Yellin (87 years old), a dedicated mother and grandmother, who lovingly remmbers the times she and her cousins would roll up the living room carpet and just dance. “I felt secure having so many caring relatives.”
“I didn’t have grandparents, so I wanted my grandkids to have memories of us … the bungalow was it,” Helen Gorlitsky (92 years old) recalls of the cozy beach home she and her husband bought in Far Rockaway, Queens, where they roller-skated in the living room, and ate bagels every Saturday morning. “It was a loving time,” says Helen.
Chicken With Mischief
Before moving to New York, Jose Perez (82 years old) spent the first 32 years of his life in the Dominican Republic. He fondly remembers having “cookups” with his friends when he was still a teen. “We’d go out, have some fun, and then we’d choose a neighbor to steal a chicken or a goat from for our cookup,” Perez says. The neighbors would often join in too, “and we’d be eating their chicken, but they didn’t know it,” he laughs.
When Ruth (86 years old) was only 12 years old, her father stuffed her and her sister in an orphanage so he could focus on his new family. “I was rebellious and didn’t really agree with their beliefs. I found the library and started reading, and found out there was a whole world out there. So I ran off,” Ruth said, and focused all her efforts on getting herself into nursing school, for which she had to save her tips from waitressing, just to be able to pay for her books and tuition. Upon graduating, Ruth said, “[I was] finally free and able to move on.”
Dinner With The Neighbors
When Jobe Forte (93 years old) found out that his neighbor just lost her husband, “I invited her to have dinner with us every Friday for the rest of her life,” Forte says. “I didn’t know her,” he adds, only that he’d seen her in the neighborhood all the time with her husband. “Knowing she would be lonely without him” was what moved Forte to offer his home and meals to her. And when she died, she left $1,000 in her will for him. “That was the best, [most] unbelievable part of my life,” he recalls.
Dancing For Hugs
Legally blind in both eyes never stopped Simon Teitelbaum (97 years old) from “taking part in everything they have” at his retirement home, he says, where Teitelbaum is in popular there for his dance moves. He remembers dancing with a woman who is totally deaf and never danced a day in her life. “I told her, ‘You can do it. You can do it.’ And she was in heaven!” Afterward, I asked for a hug — it’s not for nothin’, ya know!”
The Long Road Trip
Lois Hjelmstad (89 years old) turned her battle with cancer into a chance to share her stories through speeches, which she delivered all over the U.S. Hjelmstad says her stamina and success are because of her husband of almost 67 years being by her side. “Traveling through all 50 states, we had to really rely on each other,” Hjelmstad recalls of being her and her husband being on the road for 148 nights. “The only … constant was that we were together for all those times.”
When Bob Schoenfeld (95 years old) was 22 years old, he journeyed by boat from New York City to Switzerland to attend medical school. “I was a stranger in a strange land,” Schoenfeld says of the challenges of learning medicine in a foreign language. “I was ready to pack it in and go back to the States.” Instead, he toughed it out and finished. “If you have a passion and someone says you can’t do it, I say, eh — I can do it.”