Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Elder Belle's Blessing: Esmeralda Bermudez

Elder Belle's Blessing is an award given from time to time to those who enhance or further the rights of the elders.  This edition goes to L.A. Times reporter Esmeralda Bermudez for her wonderful article in the Los Angeles Times on a Dial-A-Ride driver and her passengers.

From that article:

When the bus is full of women, anything or anyone is fair game. The men who get on board are wise to stay out of the way
"They sit in the back very quietly," said Armida Marquez, 70. "They don't want us coming after them."

Every day in Bell Gardens, the Dial-A-Ride shuttles around town picking up seniors. They catch rides to the grocery store, the hair salon, the hospital, the pharmacy. The trips are quick, five, 10 minutes at most, but here at least, they never feel alone — and the sorrow of old age is often loudly trumped by laughter.

Lots of it.

Bermudez lovingly relates some of the conversations on that bus ride, making it clear that the elder women consider the ride (and the driver, Laura Torres) an important part of their lives.  As a Dial-A-Ride user myself, I know the importance of that transport and of the friendships which can evolve from it.  But at no point does Bermudez refer to them "elderly," or "senior citizens," or any other tag which would suggest old age equals less than competent and somehow less than able.  She gives their ages but in no way suggests anything negative is attached to that number.  These are living, breathing, women who enjoy themselves and each other.  That is why I gave Bermudez this award.

 Go read the article with its terrific photos by Genaro Torres.  I promise you it will be worth the click.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a kind, lovely note. Thank you so much for reading my story and taking time out of your day to put this together. All the best, Esmeralda Bermudez

12:41 AM  

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