Oh Lord…here she comes again. Poor Jean. The last of the originals. I was stepping outside yesterday evening to water my plants and saw my neighbor Jean, 90 years old and heading in my direction, tearful and confused, looking frantically for her dog, Teddy. My block of Locust Drive was built in 1947, a post WWII development of identical, small flat-front colonials. Homes that hearken to a time of simpler living, a time when a large families made do with one bathroom.Soldiers returning home, grabbing that mortgage with the intent of actually owning their proud little home one day. When my husband and I bought our “starter” home here,17 years ago, there were still several original owners here, all elderly, but living independently and full of neighborhood history and gossip. Mostly widowed ladies, still holding down the forts. There was Charlotte, a strong personality, who invited us over for tea often. I was usually in a rush and she was clearly not. Her conversations began with “have a seat”, and I did, commencing a visit that was difficult to end…I wished I had stayed longer Charlotte, you were a gem. One by one, through the years, we would hear that “an original” had passed away, they have all gone now, except Jean. Jean is always looking for her beloved Teddy, who is usually waddling right behind her (he is overfed due to her forgetfulness) with a beleaguered canine expression of “here we go again”., or waiting for her in the house when we return after another fruitless, teary search Poor Jean, poor Teddy. So, last night, I returned her and Teddy home, and I did something I hardly ever do..I sat down. We sat outside, Teddy next to me on the step, Jean in her chair, and we chatted, two gals on a hot summer night, out on the porch.. Jean told me about her kids taking her car keys away and her checkbook. She knows it’s for the best, but losing her independence has been hard. She told me about the old days on Locust Drive, dances and block parties and scandals. She confessed that she hasn’t given up on love, admitting that she wouldn’t mind “a boyfriend..or two”. She was serious. Honestly, I didn’t want to leave, Teddy fell asleep with his head in my lap, and it grew dark, forcing us to wrap it up. On my walk back to my house, I saw Mary’s beautiful purple Hydrangea blooming. Mary ,another original, age 96, was removed from her home recently by her children, fighting the whole way. I almost missed the Hydrangea, it was getting lost in some overgrowth..her children have been focused on cleaning out her home, getting it ready for it’s next lifetime, no time for the landscaping. I grabbed my scissors and crawled on the ground to snip the gorgeous blooms off the old bush . They’re for you ,Jean and Charlotte and Mary, I have so much to learn from you ladies, the originals.