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WYSO, the Dayton Metro Library and local social service agency, Rebuilding Together Dayton, have come together for a very special project. We’ve gathered the memories and wise words of Dayton’s elders for Senior Voices, a new series that is airing throughout 2018.Along with Dayton Metro Library staff, we trained nearly three dozen area residents to use digital recording equipment to interview local elders. Interviews took place at branch libraries, at selected Lobby Stop locations (Lobby Stop is a sort of book mobile for seniors), community centers, and in the homes of seniors who participated in the Rebuilding Together Dayton Fixit Kit program.We held three trainings at the DML Northwest branch this summer, and shortly after the new main branch opened in August, the volunteers began gathering stories. The full interviews will be accessible for generations to come at the Dayton Metro Library. At WYSO, Community Voices producers have been editing the interviews for broadcast. We present them to you in honor of the life experiences and wisdom of Dayton elders.This series is made possible through the generous support of the Del Mar Healthcare Fund of the Dayton Foundation.Jocelyn Robinson coordinated this series for WYSO. Janine Kinnison is the Project Liaison for Dayton Metro Library.Editors include: Dave Barber, William Brown, Tess Cortes, Patti Gehred, Javis Heberling, Kateri Kosta, Zebedee Reichert, Jason Reynolds, David Seitz, Alan Staiger, Chris Welter. Interviewers include: Dana Kragick, Tess Cortes, Anna Omulo, Doug Bowers, Hadley Drodge, M. Alice Callier, Barbra Gerla, Jason Coatney Schuler, Linda Pitzer, Carol Jackson, Audrey Ingram, Susan Brenner, Nancy Messer, Christian Davell, Ken Standifer, Liz Anderson, Cynthia Wallace-King, Karen Maner, David Murphy Sr., Cynthia Rush, Alan Stagier, Debra Root, Pamela Waltrip, Jennifer Hicks, Brandon Ulman, Karah Power    

Senior Voices: Michael Whitlow

Michael Whitlow
Senior Voices

Michael Whitlow has some wise words for us all. He’s a 65 year old veteran of the Marines who’s raised his two nieces, and he plans to pass on his home to them some day. But as he told interviewer Alan Staiger, he’s in no hurry.

Transcript:

Alan Staiger (AS): Any other special words of wisdom you’d like to pass along?

Michael Whitlow (MW): No, just people just need to just quit, quit trying to rush, rush through life. They just really do, and you gonna live a lot longer, you’ll live a lot longer, cause like I say, wherever you’re going, it’s gonna be there when you get there. So just take your, just take your time, and maybe one day the United States will get they act together and quit all this foolishness out here, ‘cuase it shouldn’t be, it just shouldn’t be, and that’s how I see it, you know what I’m saying. So that’s my little wisdom for the day. Take yout time, take your time. I mean I can go to the store, people say, man why you walk so slow? Taking my time! The store gonna be there when I get there! Take your time! They just asked me that today, why you walk so slow? What, run? You know, so that’s where I’m at with that.

I kind’ve want to live a little bit longer. I’m battling cancer now, and I’ve already died on the surgery table, and I’m lucky enough for them to bring me back to life, and you what, when you die, and you lucky enough to come back, for me, what I found out is that’s when you realize I don’t care if you 80, 90, 100 years old, that’s when you realize you ain’t been on this planet that long, you know what I’m saying? I don’t care if you’re 200, but when you die and you can come back, and you, oh man, you can’t kill me now! It’s like I’m just being born! That’s when you realize you haven’t really been here as long as what you thought you were, in your physical being now. And that’s what I saw, so that’s another little piece of wisdom, you know.

AS: When you came back like that, what was some of the things that you thought you wanted to accomplish then?

MW: Well, again, take life a lot slower. I see life on a whole different realm, I guess that’s the word I wanna use. You know, you…things start…the grass start looking greener, you know what I’m saying. You don’t take life, you don’t things for granted no more, you know what I’m saying? You’re ready to live your life, you know. That me being at 65, whatever I can do you know it’s a blessing for me, but that’s where I’m at with that. My whole thing with life period is just quit rushing, just quit rushing, that’s all. Now if you wanna die quicker, then rush, and see how that’s gonna work out for ya, you know what I’m saying?

This interview was edited by Community Voices producer and Senior Voices project coordinator Jocelyn Robinson. Senior Voices is a collaboration between the Dayton Metro Library, Rebuilding Together Dayton, and WYSO. This series is made possible through the generous support of the Del Mar Healthcare Fund of the Dayton Foundation.