Chapter Forty

After a few weeks, Rose was able to get up and begin attempting to walk again. It soon became evident, however, that she would never be completely healed. Her old bones simply couldn’t heal as quickly or as well as a younger person’s, and the question soon came about of what she would do after she left the hospital.

Although Rose was eventually able to walk with only the help of a cane, her doctor recommended that she not try to live on her own. She moved slowly, and the need to lean on the cane made carrying things difficult. While she certainly did not need to go into a nursing home, living alone was out of the question.

Several of Rose’s friends lived in assisted living centers, and recommended them to her. Rose, however, was stubbornly opposed to moving into one of the tiny apartments. She had her own home, with plenty of space for visitors and a beautiful view from living room window, and she was unwilling to give it up. She had plenty of money, and at first considered hiring someone to help her with day to day living, but a change of events in Lizzy’s life soon settled the question.

Lizzy was laid off from her job in November of 1995, and found herself unable to afford the rent on her apartment. Recognizing her great-grandmother’s dilemma as well as her own, Lizzy moved in with Rose, exchanging her help as Rose’s caretaker for a roof over her head.

Following her one hundred first birthday in February, Rose finally got to the point where she could be alone part of the day, and Lizzy found a part time job, still taking care of Rose when she wasn’t at work. The arrangement worked well. Rose had the care she needed, and Lizzy’s job allowed her to be alone at times without her concerned great-granddaughter constantly fussing over her.

One thing that Rose did miss was driving. She had first gotten her driver’s license early in 1918, and had continued driving until she had broken her hip. After she had been injured, however, she could no longer drive safely, and her car had mysteriously disappeared from the driveway one night. Lizzy claimed that it had been stolen, and no one had been able to find out who had stolen it, but Rose suspected that it had been sold to keep her from trying to drive it, especially when she discovered that her bank account was suddenly several thousand dollars richer.

In spite of the loss of some of her independence, Rose was content with life, and continued with the activities that she had grown to love over the years. She occasionally thought about times past, but most of her energy was concentrated on making each day count, as Jack had told her so long ago, until one morning in April when a CNN broadcast brought her face to face with the distant past.