By Lindsey Johnson, alumna of Portland 2013 and Memphis 2014
While it is true that no two AJSS trips are the same, I was expecting the basic aspects of friendships and hard work from my trip to Portland, Oregon in 2013 to be replicated in my trip to Memphis, Tennessee in 2014. Those two things both played a huge role in my second trip, but there was something unique about this trip: Marie. Once a week, we visited the residents of an assisted living facility. We gave them manicures and assisted them with activities such as bingo and drawing. During our first visit there, I met Marie. I walked with her from the room where we had lunch back to her room, and I decided to stay and talk with her when we got there. She told me all about her childhood and growing up during the Great Depression, how her education was cut short so she could work instead, her late husband who was “the red head who was quite a catch,” and her grandson who was starting college in the fall and how she wanted to set us up. When it was time to leave, I gave her a hug and headed to the lobby to meet the rest of the AJSS participants. During the van ride back, we shared our stories about the different residents we spoke to.