My Daddy, Bert Ogle, a career Air Force pilot, died in his mid-60s from injuries suffered 30 years before in an Air Force crash. He must have a premonition that he would die as he suddenly cleaned-up and repainted the interior of their whole house and cleared out the junk! The night he passed away, my husband and I spoke with him on the phone. Daddy correctly predicted that Villanova would upset Georgetown in the College National Basketball Championship. We said goodbye, hung up the phone and then Daddy had an aneurysm and died. We think he must have “fixed” the results of that game with the biggest upset in history.
My Mommie, Barbara Jean Peters Ogle, lived to be 93 years, 8 1/2 months. Five years after Daddy died, Mommie’s high school boyfriend tracked her down. He wrote that she had “always been his fantasy.” They lived and traveled together for 20 years. As I watched her age, I learned many secrets which people should know as they approach their “golden years”.
With my background in travel industry marketing, website content development, professional writing, and public relations, I have been published in the Miami Herald, Sailing Scuttlebutt, Yachting Times, Sailing World, Soundings, Newport Daily News, Newport This Week, New York Times (small Letter to Editor!) and Spin Sheet. I have served as the Editor for a wide variety of publications including the Bacardi Cup Invitational Program/Magazine.
Sally and I have similar senses of humor. With this Workbook, we have used our skills to organize folks for the end of their lives and to help them enjoy their “last hurrah.” We’ve placed the valuable information we found into a humorous context to make it more fun and easier to swallow. It’s not terrible growing old! There is an upside: we are smarter, calmer and still alive!
Sally and I have goals of “not being a burden to our children and grandchildren.” Although my family enjoys hearing about my travel escapades, they will thank me later for not having to go through boxes of memorabilia. Remember, “She who laughs, lasts!”
Sally Willits is known for her vibrant watercolors and soulful portraits. An award winning artist for 50 years, she studied with Neil Welliver, George Bentley Nick and Rackstraw Downes as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania and did graduate studies with Hobson Pittman at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. She began writing humorous “bagpipe” tales at Lochearn Camp in Vermont at age 10. Since then she has published and illustrated “A Child’s Guide to Annapolis,” with Gayle Wright and illustrated “Angel Food” a cookbook for St Anne’s Parish in Annapolis. The cartoons for Turning Out the Lights With A Smile are her original drawings.
Since moving to Florida in 2001 she has been editor of the Vizcaya Guides newsletter and regularly writes a blog, “Sarah Cruises”, on Wordpress, to record travels up and down the East Coast with her husband Chris on their Grand Banks Trawler named Sarah.
Two years ago, Sally and Connie found themselves talking about living a long life and how you never know what will come although you want to be ready. They both were determined not to be burdens to their kids.
Sally’s parents died over 30 years ago within a day of each other. They were organized about their wills and trusts and “jools” but her brothers and she were left only with scraps of conversation, a full library of books and a life time supply of cat food and empty cottage cheese containers.
Sally was highly motivated to alter her conversation about aging and planning and make sure her family had happy, quirky memories and no mess. Since 70 is the new 50 (!), and “elderly” is not in her lexicon, she knew she and Connie could impact by simply sharing their family experiences, interviewing experts, and conducting down to earth research. The legacy she wants to leave her family is written plainly in her Lights Out Folder.
In many ways, writing this book has helped Sally and Connie be more organized, live healthier lives, tackle the morbid stuff with a sense of humor, and simplify the questions we all face.
Most definitely their legacy is Turning the Lights Out with a Smile.