By Lura Devlin
For me, my life actually began after fifty-nine. I became Ill and stopped working. I just sat at home and vegetated. One day, my youngest daughter, Toni, who worked as a supervisor for a Mortuary Transport company (Which is contracted to the Medical Examiner), called me and said she needed three vehicles to respond to three different crime scenes and was short one person. My other two daughters and son-in-law also worked for this company. She asked if I could just ride along and my partner Larry would do everything. So I went and when we arrived on the scene of a decomposed body of a man my partner went still. For some reason, something just clicked, I knew what to do and jumped right in.
From then on I continued to go to crime scenes and became a specialist in retrieval of decomposed bodies. My partner Larry was involved in the Society of creative Anachronism (medieval reenactment). He was always talking about it, what they did and that they camped out in the Ocala Forest of Florida. Then one day, he invited me to go to an event. They have something for everyone and I enjoyed myself so much that I went home and registered online. Using my Fashion Design skills I began making Garb (costumes) for future events.
I continued to work for two more years. When my daughter was killed by her husband, my world fell apart. I was put on leave of absence as they did not want me near the morgue while her body was there. I became very ill, and six months later had to have double knee surgery, one in September, and one in November. I crawled back into myself and the healing process was taking longer than I expected it to.
One day, my partner showed up and said he was not going to let me do that again. He started dragging me back to the events once again and I, in turn, dragged my other daughter and her three children. We now camp out at least once a month and I make garb for the five of us. My grandsons have joined the youth combat section, fight at war, and learned archery and horseback riding. We all became members of the Triskle Legionnaires in our society and we guard the King and Queen. My daughter also is a Chirurgeon( First aid) officer. So I have not only improved my lifestyle but altered theirs.
When not participating in medieval reenactments, I was home all day babysitting my grandchildren, cleaning house, doing laundry and feeling sorry for myself. My partner, Larry, talked me into going back to school. I attend school on-line for Crime Scene Investigation and am now in my second semester of my second year. I should graduate with my associate degree in October 2011. I am having a little trouble in math since I had a stroke back some thirty years ago, and memory is still not all back, but I trudge on and refuse to quit, I will learn this.
Every year, the SCA (Society of creative Anachronism) goes to Mississippi for a gathering for a war. Larry made me promise I would go. I started back to the gym to strengthen my arms and legs. I changed my diet and finally controlled my blood pressure and diabetes. I was taken off all the pills I took to control them. I went to class to learn to be a siege operator (that is a catapult with arrows) and went to war and armored up, helm and all, and joined thirty-five hundred men and women on the battlefield. I just recently returned from my second war. And I am making plans to be there again next year. I also plan on going to another war in Pennsylvania in August of this year.
My left knee continues to make me limp but I will not let it get the best of me. I will return to the gym again to try and strengthen that leg. You are never too old to work, and enjoy fun things to do. Although my children feel that continuing my education is waste of time at 64, I plan on going for my Bachelors degree. Thankfully I have friends like Larry who will push me to do what I want and not let me get old physically. You are only as old as you let yourself be.