90-year-old Wanda out in San Francisco was living alone and very much sad and lonely. One of her sons had died of cancer, and her other two live very far away. The poor woman lives alone, and knew not a soul in her neighborhood.
Fed up of being alone, she reached out to her neighbor, Marleen Brooks, who lived a little bit down the street. In a bittersweet note, Ms. Wanda expressed that she was by herself and asked if the two of them could be friends.
Marleen quickly went over to her elderly neighbor’s house with a friend the next night, introducing herself with a friendly smile and some cupcakes! She expressed in a letter to a newsman, Frank Somerville of KTVU News, all that happened:
She’s such a sweet lady!
And she was over the moon when we came over.
‘I hope you didn’t think I was stupid for writing you, but I had to do something.
Thank you so much for coming over.
I’ve lived here for 50 years and don’t know any of my neighbors.’
Wanda has 3 sons, one died last year of cancer.
The other two live far away.
She’s 90 and and is on oxygen and has congestive heart failure, osteoporosis, among other ailments.
We brought her cupcakes (didn’t have enough time with work to make the banana bread).
I also made sure she knew she can call us at anytime and that I’ll be back to spend time with her!
I’m sure Wanda and I will have some great times.”
This was so, so sweet, but so sad at the same time! Imagine how many other elders are out there, living alone with no one around to talk to! How we treat our elders in America is a whole other topic in America for another day, but man, that’s crazy. Glad Miss Wanda reached out to one of her neighbors, and now it looks like she has a great, new friend! Hoping she finds even more!
But this reminds me of an old adage found in Proverbs. In a paraphrase, “To have a friend, you must show yourself friendly.” (Prov. 18: 24). I’ve been thinking about this myself about having and KEEPING friends. In order to have friends, you have to be kind yourself and be willing to reach out and spend time with other people. In Miss Wanda’s case, it wasn’t her fault that she was alone. But she was tired of it, so she kindly asked someone to be hers.
My own circle is SMALL (and I like it that way), but I can often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of my life, and not even think to reach out to the friends and loved ones I have around me
sometimes a lot of times. You can’t expect people to keep reaching out to you and you’re not reciprocating that. So this story inspired me to just be a better friend to my circle and possibly make new ones!