My great-aunt was born on a dirt farm in northern Maine. They were poor but she was able to escape after high school to attend a well respected business school. Then, worked a various secretarial position, refusing to marry until she was almost 40.

During World War II, she worked as the executive secretary for the president of Bath Iron Works in Maine, a private ship building company that was taken over by the United States Navy to build battle ships. I was told she the highest paid woman in the state of Maine at that time.

She and her husband moved to Florida in the mid-1950’s. He died and she returned to work, working until she was 75, even though she was quite well off and didn’t need to. At 74, she planned and supervised the computerization of the insurance office she managed.

She lived in her own apartment in a retirement community until she broke her arm when she was 102, after which she moved into a nursing home. Her mind was sharp even as her body began to fade. She passed in 2009, one month after her 104th birthday. She was a very special person.

I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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