Greatest Generation

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 4,649 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—5,730 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

Earning this badge was one I was looking forward to, and one I could have earned dozens of times over when I was just a little sprout: spending time with the senior citizens in my life. See, as a youngster, whenever I went through a phase (cheerleading, clarinet, ballet, choir, underwater basket weaving), I would take my new skills to the local retirement home for polishing. I found there to be a good mix of love and support, and tell-it-like-it-is truthfulness, disguised in blue-haired ladies and no-haired gentlemen. It was nice for them, and valuable for me. I made lots of friends of the grandparent variety, and they got a little something to look forward to after school on Fridays. At least I think they looked forward to it …

Lately, I’ve been bad about going back, maybe because I wasn’t sure I had any skills to offer. But I could still play Backgammon and Scrabble with the best of them, and I had a new shade of nail polish I’d been itching to try out (I just knew some of the ladies would be happy to oblige). And if I could earn a new Merit Badge while doing so, well, that was icing on the cake!

Turns out, I’m a little old for performing and my back handsprings were totally off, but luckily they seemed just as charmed by my company. Who knew? I didn’t have to perform anything after all, and as I sat—icing my twisted ankle from a cartwheel gone awry—I got to share some sweet tea with a table full of lovely grandmothers and grandfathers. I thought they might want to reminisce with me about the good old days or something, but they were deep into a game of Hearts and asked if I might like to join.

Being a good sport, I naturally said yes.

Now I know what the Greatest Generation is best at: hustling! I was down $24 in less than an hour. No one wanted their toenails painted, and even my clarinet solo was not distracting them. I had to move rooms. I hobbled out as they cheerily waved my grocery money at me.


The next room was the dining area, and I shared a very bad cup of coffee with a Mr. Brown. He, too, was not enthralled with my new polish colors, but he was nice enough to let me style his mustache. Also, he shared his lime Jello, so I pretty much think we are besties now. I scraped the Cool Whip aside and whispered that I would bring him some homemade whipped cream later in the week.

Before I left, I finally got to polish some nails (Passion Fruit Pink totally brings out the blue in that hair!) and revive my little-used chorus of Kumbaya. It was moving and heartfelt and I made note to see if I could rejoin the local high school choir. Maybe as an alternate or something? Or play background on the clarinet? No?

Anyway, my afternoon was priceless. Actually, it was $24 … but you get the drift!

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Spending time with seniors is both challenging and rewarding. We are often surprised at how really hip they are! Those of the Greayesy Generation that fought in WWII have the most amazing stories to share.

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