A Journey to Remember with Marguerite (Jappy) Smith (2010)  

Printer: Davies Printing, Editor: Allyson Behnke

Marguerite (Jappy) Smith contacted me in January 2010 to ask if I would help her complete her memory for which she had much material written. Throughout the year, Jappy and I worked closely to create and print her 398-page memoir.  Her daughter, Suzanne Smith Godec, provided invaluable assistance in helping write, organize, and proof the material. Her son, Randall, helped obtain and scan the more than 300 photos included. 

Excerpt

My ninetieth birthday was on June 1, 2010. My party included a lovely luncheon at the Rochester Golf and Country Club given by Suzy, Randy, Diane, and Ciril. The luncheon was preceded by my giving a piano recital with my teacher Carol Prescher at my home for seventy-five guests. Relatives came from as far away as California, Ohio, Texas and New York. 

I have lived more than ten years into the new millennium. My life now isn’t up to the caliber I’d like it to be. I’m experiencing health problems that prevent me from doing things I like to do. But there’s still much I can do. Throughout my life I haven’t worried much. If a problem arose, I dealt with it and moved on, or I enlisted help to deal with it.

I believe that my determination to make it through just another day, my passion for piano playing, and my staying in touch with family and friends are the main reasons for my longevity. In spite of living a healthy lifestyle—with good nutrition, daily exercise, and an active social life—I have experienced possibly more than my share of health problems. You cannot choose your life’s difficulties, but you can decide how you react to them. There were—and still are—tough moments when I feel close to the edge. However, I am blessed with people who have helped me to endure my struggles and to take pleasure in each day of life. My enjoyment has been far greater than my problems, and my zest for living is still with me. Whatever life is left in me, I will continue to embrace it with both hands.

As I look back on my life, I see that it has been full and rewarding. I have been fortunate in every way. I had wonderful parents, brothers and sisters. With Ralph I have loving and intelligent children and grandchildren. I have had many opportunities for traveling, meeting stimulating people and making wonderful friends. I have had a lifetime of happiness, and I have Ralph to thank for many of these blessings. In spite of bumps along the road, my life has been quite satisfying. 

A friend recently asked, “How would you like to be remembered?” His question caught me off guard; I never had thought about being remembered. But after some pondering, I said, “I would like to be remembered as a loving, giving person. I would like to be remembered for being honest.” If there were one piece of advice I would pass on to my children and theirs, it would be something my Mother said: “Always do your best, and that’s good enough.”