The lady who loves the trucks
|Amelia Guadagnoli sits at her window by some of the flowers sent by Savage Industries in response to her touching poem about it's drivers and trucks.|
It's a question that has to be asked.
When, do we, as individuals stop contributing to society?
Is it when we retire?
Certainly not. Many retired people not only have a lot of fun in their retired years, but also add greatly to the community with volunteer work and other types of activities.
Is it when we are past the age when we go out and really do things independently?
No, not then either. Often people add to others lives by just being there for them when they need someone to talk to.
Is it when we are sick and old or more specifically, the victim of an affliction such as alzheimers disease?
Certainly not. Everyone contributes to our society in a number of ways, sometimes in ways that we cannot imagine.
Take the case of Amelia Guadagnoli. She is in the late stages of alzheimers, yet still makes an impact on those who come in contact with her, even indirectly.
At the present time, she still lives in her house on Highway 55 and is being taken care of by her daughter Beverly Pace. Each day she sits by the window looking at the traffic, particularly the Savage Trucks that haul coal by her home. Her relationship with those trucks and the drivers in them was unknown until recently, when it was discovered that she had written a poem years ago, just as the onset of alzheimers was beginning.
Those trucks and the numerous other vehicles that pass by gave her company for years and still do. But no one knew until her grandson, James F. Pace found the poem a few weeks ago. He sent the poem to Savage Industries along with a letter explaining the situation.
Dear Savage Coal Service Corporation:
My grandmother, Amelia Guadagnoli, who lives on Highway 55 is in the final stages of Alzheimers disease.
Early on, after my grandfathers death, she would be very much alone, looking out her picture window toward the highway. She and I had always found the sight and the sound of passing traffic to be pleasant and relaxing.
Most times you don't know what good comes from just doing your job. Apparently my Nani did, and expressed her feelings in the attached poem.
In her solitude, your drivers, and their trucks were her solace, friends and company.
Thank you for simply doing your jobs.
They keep me company to see them go by
by Amelia Guadagnoli
November 26, 1991
Dear driver of a truck.
I have not had any luck
To say hello, or goodbye,
From my windows as you pass by.
If you come to see me
You may have a cup of coffee or tea,
It would be nice you see
to remember me as a friend to be
I sit quiet as a mouse
But Love people to come to my house
It lets the day go by fast
to talk about new or things of the past.
I'm sure somehow our friendship someday
and let my blues go away.
Truck driver I pray it could happen someday
it would be fun anyway.
A few days after he sent the letter, Amelia started to get flowers and other gifts delivered to her home.
"We were all very touched by her poem and the letter," said Dave Sorrells of Carbon Transport, Price's Savage operation. "We gave a copy to all our drivers and they just thought it was great."
Sometimes it's hard to imagine how we are touched by one another, but certainly a bunch of coal truck drivers had some wet eyes the day they saw that poem.
But Amelia also contributes in other ways, despite her affliction. Just as the drivers and trucks have added to her life, she continues to add to others time on this planet. A simple story about traveling to Walmart tells it all.
When Walmart was in it's old location, Beverly used to take her over to the store almost every day because she enjoyed it so much.
However, it was, more than just a visit to a merchant. It was a chance for others to be touched by her. Often children would come up to see her and often they would touch her.
"One time this family came up to us," says Beverly. "Obviously they were fairly poor by the way they were dressed. One of the boys in the family was just taken by my mother. He hugged her and I could see my mom had just brought something out in this young man. It showed me that we all have something to give, no matter what our age, station or condition in life."
When the store moved a few weeks ago, having to cross busy Highway 55 became a concern.
The daughter hesitated to take her mother to the new location, but one day she realized how much her mother missed it so she decided to try anyway.
"It was amazing," said Beverly. "It was like the parting of the Red Sea, I pushed the wheelchair up to the cross walk and the traffic came to a screeching halt. Everyone just waited for us."
Sometimes in our busy lives it is good to be reminded of our humanity, of our temporary physical abilities, for surely, all of us at one time or another suffer from something that keeps us from being whole as we once were.
Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder in which nerve cells in the brain die, making it difficult for the brain's signals to be transmitted properly. A person with Alzheimer's disease has problems with memory, judgment, and thinking, which makes it hard for the person to work or take part in day-to-day life. Most patients' symptoms progress slowly over a number of years. Sometimes, it is only when family members look back that they realize when the changes started to occur. Amelia will be 93 years old this summer, and each day her private disease grows worse.
There are days when she knows exactly where she is and why things are the way they are. At other times she is lost in the mist of her mind.
According to Sorrells, some of the drivers at Savage had talked about her poem and have even thought about that cup of coffee she offered. But then, they worry about what might come of their visit and her condition.
But regardless of her age and her condition Amelia has touched many lives for the better in her later years, just like thousands of seniors in our society do every day.
And they do it whether they realize it or not.