Catalina High School, Tucson, Arizona, USA

By Pam Morris Samuels

I feel good.  When my makeup is on, my hair cut spikey, and I have on a cute outfit, I could pass for fifty-something.  But I was born July 28, 1941.  This is June, 2006.  Do the math.  Sixty-five is here.  Medicare is here.

Thanks to computers and a world of mind boggling technology, somehow the insurance companies KNOW in January of the year you turn 65.  I started a file of materials sent to me begging to add on to my $88.50 taken out of Social Security for Medicare and take THEIR plan.  There were A's to J's of totally confusing plans from which to choose.  By May my file was over three inches thick.  I would sit down to study the plans and within 10 minutes I was grabbing for the M &  M's and said to heck with it, I'll ask friends.  And so I did.

Last Friday I had made my decision to go with United/Pacific Care. They merged, making them the largest provider for Medicare recipients.  I will have nothing more to pay than the $88.50 already taken out for Medicare parts A and B.  For now that's fine for me.  It also covers D, the totally confusing prescription drug coverage.  I don't take any prescription drugs, so I guess I am lucky.  I don't have to deal with "tiers one, two and three" of things I can't pronounce and their generic counterparts.

When I called United to sign up for my coverage, I got a male who called me "ma'am in every sentence.  I guess he was told to be respectful to the elderly, but it made me crazy and made the whole process more irksome.  Now I wait for my packet, sign some things and I'm done.

When July 28th comes, I will celebrate for two days with lots of girlfriends in a chalet on Mt Lemmon.  We will all tell ourselves, "It's only a number, who cares", yada, yada, yada.  But the truth is in the eyes of society we now are senior citizens.  And you know what?  Now I can get into the movie any time of day for only five bucks.  I guess that's worth being called "ma'am".

Visiting With One of Our Favorite Teachers....
Mrs. Dathel Lackey
    I was in Chicago area recently spending time with my favorite CHS teacher, Dathel Lackey.  We "hung out" together for 4 days at her new home in Buffalo Grove, IL.          She's 88 now.    
    She is still so very articulate, spry, engaged in life and sweet.  I was able to share with her so many stories of students who are now very "grown up" and remember her so vividly.

    Ray Lindstrom remembers: I had her for public speaking class and in Oct. of 1958 I gave a speech extolling the virtues of Barry Goldwater; he was then running for his second term as
US Senator. At the end of the speech she said she changed her mind and was voting for Barry as the result of that speech. Boy did that make me feel good! She always helped students by offering positive comments on their work.
Left: The two of us in Long Grove, IL. Above: Dathel, left, with her daughter Portia at Millenium Park in Downtown Chicago.