Ruth Ballen and I were roommates on a trip to Tibet 17 years ago. We have kept in touch, I admired her guts when, as a widow, she left LA for tiny Mountainair, New Mexico and became a part of the town, immersed herself in crafts, doll making, painting, and much else. My daughters and I visited her last week and were gape-mouthed at her craft-filled home with TWO studios, one indoors for collage and other work and the second in a semi-porch are for painting and other crafts.
Above is just a tiny corner of a studio with art work and, below, a photo of Ruth with my daughter, Rachel, at the Shaffer Hotel in town with a painted fireplace behind which inspire Ruth to paint her own fireplace bricks - but in a design and colors all her own. She is nearly 80, truly going strong, very much herself and the quilt I took to give her is perhaps one of the quietest items in her house. Visiting her was a delight from the moment we opened the door. I will envy her two studios forever! And continue to think of her as a role model for senior-dom.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!