Author’s note: When word got around about Vera’s illness and this column, my traffic to this blog has soared with many people leaving their good wishes as comments. Now some family members have also posted updates on Vera’s condition. Please be sure and check back from time to time for the latest information. Get well soon, Vera!
When Vera Gleason turned 65 years old in 1993 she was required to retire from her job as at Precise Plastics in Avon. Not quite ready to relax and enjoy her Golden Years, she came to work for a fledgling Avon newspaper, The Clarion. Thus began an association that has lasted for over 15 years but has recently been interrupted by poor health.
Vera was the last full-time survivor of the Clarion newspaper staff. When the paper was discontinued two years ago, I kept Vera on to run my continuing business ventures with the Clarion Copy Center, Genesee Graphics and more recently the Genesee Volley Tennis Club. I did so because I needed some one to keep the office fires burning as I transitioned into other fields and I really couldn’t imagine life without Vera.
In her quiet (and sometimes not so quiet) way she has kept me on track by constantly questioning, reminding and sometimes nagging me to take care of all those pesky details I would sooner ignore. It has been a great shock to my system then, that for the last two weeks Vera has been in the hospital and I don’t know if she will ever make it back to work.
Perhaps it shouldn’t be such a shock, that someone 80 years old might retire, but Vera has always been my Rock of Gibraltar– the one constant in a world of turmoil. In the last two weeks I’ve come to realize even more how many important details she routinely took care of, details that I have even less time to attend to now, in this very busy spring season.
I first noticed a problem with Vera’s health about 6 weeks ago when she developed a hacking cough. This was unusual, because she is normally as quiet as a churchmouse in the office. Through a number of courses of antibiotics and other drugs, she continued to work, but her strength ebbed.
At the end of a tough day two weeks ago she told me that she did not feel well enough to drive home and that her daughter was picking her up. Her daughter took her to the doctor, who promptly called an ambulance and Vera has been in the hospital ever since. Talk about working right to the end!
I visited her in the hospital last week after she was transferred to Strong’s heart unit. She had been developing fluid on her heart and was pretty wiped out. She told me that the way she felt, she couldn’t imagine ever returning to work, but I told her she might surprise herself. It wouldn’t surprise me.
For now, I am keeping Vera’s position open for her. I’m keeping sporadic hours at the copy center with a sign on the door that basically says “call me if you need service.” It’s not a permanent soultion, but it will do for now, until we see what happens.
Vera is beloved by many, but I’ll admit she sometimes annoyed me. Her biggest sin was attacking me with a list of questions and problems as soon as I poked my head into the office. Now that there is no one there to do that, does that mean the problems have gone away? Not hardly!
Get well soon, Vera!