Starting over…A senior’s new beginnings

Madelaine Paschal

When you start a brand-new occupation at the age of seventy, you’re either crazy or committed to your cause. Maybe I’m a little of both. But here I am, beginning again. Only this time, I’m doing something about which I truly care, and would like to help end for good…domestic violence.

You see, I used to interview the most amazing seniors on a local television show in Tucson, Arizona and one day had the opportunity to meet someone with whom I was totally enamored, Patti O’Berry. Patti walked into my life, yelled “Incoming!” and from that day forward I wanted to be around her, learn from her and help her out when I could. She had single-handedly founded a foundation, a resale shop and a shelter all for domestic violence victims, women and children.

Patti wouldn’t take no for an answer when doubters in the small town of Green Valley, Arizona told her that the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence and human trafficking were not that important, especially in their little community. The nay-sayers told her that she could never raise enough money to open one entity, let alone three! A shelter? No way! An up-scale resale shop? Never! And a foundation to help support the victims of abuse? You’re kidding!

Today, Patti O’Berry has done all three, beautifully, respectfully and completely. And while she was putting together this tri-lateral composite of resources, education, training and shelter for victims and their children, she was also developing educational materials, four magazine/journals as educative tools for children and teens as well as an educational monopoly-like board game experience for victims and advocates to enhance their perceptions and knowledge of the world in which they have lived and from which they are now recovering. Incredible? You bet!

And so, having served on Patti’s board, I was asked to come on board as the chief marketing officer and grant writer. And I did! Have I ever done this type of work? Well, in a way. I was a professor of marketing for many years at the university level and I was a victim. When Patti needed help, I offered mine, never thinking for one minute that this would be my new career, but it is! And as long as I have breath, soul and a heart that beats for the victims and the advocates, I’ll be there. Am I a little nervous about starting over again? No! I’m petrified!

But as I sit in my little office, across from this great lady, I thank God for her strength, her character, her tenacity and her efforts to make someone’s life a little, or a lot, better, especially mine.

Thank you, Patti O’Berry, for taking me into my latter years with a purpose, recollections and ways to handle both. You are remarkable, Patti.

(Oh, and by the way, if I can do this, so can you! Start over, begin a new life, discover your dreams in working as a ‘senior’! It’s never too late; just too bad, if you don’t. And email me. We’ll talk it out together!)