A small square tile
decorates 95-year-old Jean Mayhew's wall with a quote by Hunter S.
Thompson that she strives to live by every day.
journey is not to arrive safely at the grave in a well-preserved body, but
rather to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting, 'Holy shit, what a ride."
Mayhew is a
resident of Maplewood Assisted Living in Mount Pleasant. She is partnered with
Taylor Parks as a part of Central Michigan University's Adopt-A-Grandparent
program, sponsored by the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center.
"It is really
about forming a family bond," said Elizabeth Morgan, Adopt-A-Grandparent student coordinator. "We call them co-mentors
(because) they learn from each other."
Students in the
program interact with their senior partners for an hour each week, traveling
to Maplewood or Andahwod Senior Care. Parks said she decided to take part on the program because of her major in recreational therapy and desire to work
in senior centers.
"I love older
people. I think they are fun and I like learning from them,"
the Manchester junior said.
Students in Adopt-A-Grandparent
have mandatory training once a month, which includes lectures given by professors with experience or research with older
populations. Students who participate in the program are required to commit
to one year.
weekly meetings, Parks and Mayhew typically talk about how they are doing and
Mayhew's family. Sometimes the pair play bingo with other Maplewood
residents or go to holiday parties.
"We chitchat," Parks
said. "I want to have her teach me how to crochet."
hats for newborns at the McClaren Central Michigan Community hospital
for volunteer hours and the fulfillment the deed brings. She is also
a retired professor from CMU.
"It's fun for me to be around young people. It's not too
pleasant living with old people all the time, it's not uplifting," Mayhew said.
Parks said she
especially enjoys Mayhew's sense of humor. They have been partners
for less than a year, and described their first meeting as a pleasant
"I was very
comfortable with you and you were funny right off the bat," Parks said to
Mayhew. "I like hearing about your family and how you were a
Mayhew said her relationship as an adopted grandparent for Parks is special and incomparable to any other
type of relationship. The quote on the wall is Mayhew's life motto,
and she does her best to apply it to all aspects of her life.
believe it and I am living it," Mayhew said. "As Ralph
Waldow Emerson said, ‘I will not go quietly into that good night,’ and I'm
not going to."