Words of Wisdom with Shelby
By Shelby Hoefling
Words of Wisdom with ShelbyAug 20, 2020
Episode 12: Eileen Beck Keeler (age 90)
Episode 11: Donne Davis (age 74)
She has been extremely successful throughout her life as a mother, wife, life coach, counselor, and speech pathologist but found her truepurpose in life after retiring in 2003 when she became a Grandma. Hearing her talk about how special it is to be a Grandma brought me to tears! Donne met many other Grandmas who also felt this role was so profound and spoke the same language. They were all going through the same experiences as a Grandma which led to her creating the GaGa Sisterhood where Grandma's can bond, brag, and benefit. The GaGa Sisterhood has been around for 17 years! They cover all things: techniques, travel, reading, sleep, meditation, forgiveness, ideas of what to do with grandchildren, experiences as a Grandma, relationship issues, tips and tricks and more.
I learned so much from this conversation as we really got deep and took a look at various situations from many different perspectives.
Donne had some great advice for any Grandchild-Grandparent relationship on how to stay close. She offered up so many great things to do together (socially distanced or not), questions to ask, and conversations to have to help each other find commonalities and play an active role in each other's lives. I hope that Grandmas who listen to this episode consider joining the AMAZING GaGa Sisterhood (I can't wait to join one day) and Grandchildren feel inspired to feel connected to Grandparents.
She finishes our amazing conversation by going into 6 skills she and the rest of the Grandmas from the GaGa Sisterhood are strengthening in 2021: Self-care, Self-awareness, Patience, Curiosity, Empathy and Forgiveness. Talk about a great 2021 if you focus on all six of those skills! Lastly, her final words of wisdom to share — do your best to be a good listener... something that is so important but hard to do!
Episode 10: Michael Cohen (age 79)
Michael is also a husband who has been married for over 58 years, a father to two daughters, and known as Pop-pops to his 5 grand-children. He is around young people all of the time teaching medicine, which he attributes to what helps him stay sharp (and boy is he sharp!) as well as having a hunger for learning.
Despite all of his accomplishments, he is the most humble person you’ll come across. He has made a large impact in the medical field in many ways, directly in his practice and indirectly, through fundraising, but he says that the most rewarding thing he has done in his lifetime is taking care of human beings.
Some words of wisdom passed along from Michael include, “Learn to listen.” Whether you are a physician or not, “the more you learn about a person and where they are in their life, the more appropriate your advice will become.”
He also strongly believes you can stay young by continuing to learn everyday and getting insight into other peoples journeys on this planet.
Truly the most humble man, he believes in service; “When it’s all over, in the end it’s what you did for others that matters the most.”
Episode 9: Grandma Bobbe (age 87)
But Grandma Bobbe made me smile almost the entire interview as she is the most humble, sweetest, and genuine person who truly lights up any room she is in. Grandma Bobbe was born in Georgetown, Kentucky on February 12, 1933. She loves to spend time with loved ones (including her favorite Grandson behind the TikTok videos, Matt), LOVES to fish, loves to have a good time, and LOVES her whiteclaws!
She broke her hip which wiped out some of her memory but luckily she had her Grandson, Matt, to help her out. It was so nice to listen to her talk and go through memories in her life, especially those that came back to her that she had forgotten about. We got to chat a little bit about her life, her children, and grandchildren. We also talked about what it's like to be on TikTok (she claims he doesn't even know what that is haha!) and of course she mentioned her favorite Grandchild, Matt, many times!
Some words of wisdom she passed along include to always be yourself and accept other people for who they are, especially in relationships! Her advice for when you run into people you don't get along with: just ignore them and keep to yourself (and do Grandma things if you're GB). She believes that the best you can do is to be yourself and don't try to be something else and relax and take it just one day at a time :). Excellent advice if you ask me! ENJOY!!
Episode 8: Bena Shklyanoy (age 75)
Bena Shklyanoy, age 75, was born on July 29, 1945 in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, when it was part of the Soviet Union. After finishing the Kiev State University with a graduate degree in Russian Language, she worked as a technical translator and editor. In 1976 she immigrated to the United States with her husband and two young daughters settling in Chicago. She spoke with me about her experience growing up in the Soviet Union and how different, and at times difficult, it was to lack the freedom we are all used to in the United States. She lived in a communal apartment, had to be careful about who she talked to about certain things, and didn’t even know what life would be like once she immigrated to the USA. Her driving force to leave the Soviet Union and say good bye to her parents, unsure if she would see them again one day, was to give her daughters a life she didn’t have.
In 2004 when Bena’s mother passed away she felt extremely scared that her heritage would slip away and be forgotten so she started her family story project and dug as much as she could to fill in her family tree for her daughters. She talks about this amazing experience connecting with family from all over who despite being separated for so long or not closely related (2nd cousin for example) family members still would see similarities in one another both externally and internally.
She put together this information on her website: https://appledoesnotfall.com and eventually this all was made into TWO plays!
Not only does Bena pass along words of wisdom of her own, but she also passes along words of wisdom from her Grandmother, who she shared a room with throughout most of her childhood. My favorite bit of advice passed along from her Grandmother was, “the things you can buy are cheap and the things you CAN’T buy are of value.
*FYI, in episode I said my Nanny's bday is July 12. I have no idea where my mind was at.. it's June 12. Sorry, Nan! But, my GREAT grandmother's bday is July 12 - shout out to her :)*
Episode 7: Leo Dorman (age 96)
Episode 6: Jerry Witkovsky (age 92)
I think what I love most is that Jerry is a curious person, always seeking to learn and create and has no plans to slow down.. age is just a number to Jerry! I have no doubt this episode will inspire you to live your life to the fullest just like he does :).
Check out his website to learn more: www.grandparentsunleashed.com/jerry-witkovsky-grandparents-advocate/
Episode 5: Words of Wisdom from Sonia Kaplan (age 91)
Episode 4: Words of Wisdom from Audrey Mutton (age 93)
Episode 3: Words of Wisdom from Jay Ku (age 81)
Episode 2: Words of Wisdom from Pat Patrick (age 88)
Episode 1: Words of Wisdom from Patricia Hoefling aka my Nanny
For my very first episode, I knew it had to be with someone extremely special to both me and to so many others. That is why in this episode I sat down with my grandmother, known to many as Nanny!
Nanny was born in 1925 and turns 95 in a few weeks from this episode’s recording. We talked about what it was like growing up in the Great Depression and what that must have been like for her mother, whose relationship was extremely important. I got all the dirt on what it was like to date around during the late 1940s and how she met my Grand-Jack while he was attending West Point, the United States Military Academy. You’ll also learn what a "flirtation walk" is and why at that time receiving a button was the greatest thing ever and played a significant role in their romantic relationship! Turns out that dating these days during quarantine with social distancing is what it was like dating back in her day!
While Nanny is here to teach us many things, I got the opportunity to also teach Nanny what 'ghosting' is (she was shocked) as well as what Instagram is and how it can lead to constantly comparing yourself to other people. Nanny shared words of wisdom on how to embrace being imperfectly beautiful.
We chatted more about her outlook on life, working in New York (she LOVED it), what it was like to be married to someone who served in several wars, and how she has always had such a zest for life up until this very day, almost 95 years old! She had a lot of stories to tell and wisdom to share... so buckle up for an amazing episode with my Nan!