The following interview is with Sandi Ranchoff, interviewed by daughter Christine Polomsky (age 40).
Describe your work or a typical day.
I was a nursery nurse full time to support the family. At 40, I was divorced but remarried a week before turning 40. My new husband would move into our home only after the wedding, to set a good example for the girls. We also waited for intimacy until after we were married. Being raised Catholic by strict nuns, my mother’s deathbed wish, I feared hell and pregnancy.
What did you worry about?
I am a “worry wart” my father used to say. You name it—mostly my family and their well being, that my marriage would succeed, money. Was it Mark Twain who said he had many problems in life but most of them did not happen? Amen to that!
What did you think the future held for you?
I thought I’d continue nursing, raise my family and I’d never get old. My generation was not Betty Friedan’s followers. Still traditional, family first, the man will take care of you. Wow! I was in for a shock. By caring for others I thought they would care for me. Be helpful, anticipate others’ needs, be for others … Well, it does not work. I was not there for me.
Looking back: sad, proud, amazed I did it. Surmounted being a motherless girl to learn how to nurture. Did that well even at work. Went into the psych department, which was a low security unit. I was chosen to do the art therapy group for abuse survivors with the art therapist, and that was what led me to hospice where I could really connect to patients and their families.
I wish I had learned to cherish myself and develop my interests. The day will come when I am a widow and I want to be good company for me. My generation was not taught that. I would say learn balance at age 40. Nurture yourself daily and spend time in nature and be active in the world. I may live until 80 and I want to be a creative force for good!