Reframing Aging - Focus on margie pezzaglia
by Cynthia Overbeck Bix
“I’m a party girl!”
Current interests: Gracious hostess; self-proclaimed party girl
Career: Homemaker; mother; volunteer
Ninety-six and still going strong, Margie greets everyone she meets with a twinkle in her eye and a warm smile. From her snowy, perfectly coifed hair to her manicured red nails and classic pearl jewelry, she’s every inch what used to be called a “real lady.” Her enthusiasm for life is downright infectious!
I enjoyed volunteering. For three years before college I was a waitress at Camp Curry in Yosemite. I loved it—and I met my husband there. Then later I was a volunteer at the Alta Bates Hospital gift shop for 25 years. I loved chatting with family members and friends of patients and helping them out.
I love life. And I love being with people!
Every week I meet my friends to play bridge. And the movies—I love to go to the movies. I’ve become such good friends with volunteers Kris Owens and Kristina Holland, and we go together.
On growing older
What I find satisfying is helping other people feel good. This brings me great joy. I guess that's why I'm living so long. I hope it makes me worthwhile. I'm grateful for that.
I have a few aches but I never complain. My wrinkles don’t bother me. I'm proud to be old!
On Ashby Village
Ashby Village has been my new life. I go to all the activities that are offered to me—potlucks, picnics, happy hours. It’s wonderful!
I love being with people! I’ve made so many friends at Ashby Village. My two daughters signed me up for it about four years ago, without asking me. I said, “Why would I want to join this now? I’m fine!” I drove a car then, so I didn’t need help. But then I got this back brace, and I knew I couldn’t drive any more. [Margie developed scoliosis.] So it was a good thing they signed me up. And I loved it—it was perfect.
For one of the orientation sessions for new volunteers, they asked me to answer some questions about how it is to be a member. I said, “Oh, it’s wonderful! I’ve met new people I wouldn’t otherwise.” And the volunteers are so helpful.
I’ve had more than 21 volunteers from Ashby Village who have helped me at one time or another. I keep a list! They help me with everything that I need. I get rides to the dentist and the doctor, get my hair cut, get my nails done.
I’ve lived in my home for 67 years. My husband and I bought it in 1949. Nowadays, the volunteer help I get really means a lot, because I want to live here for the rest of my life.
On new experiences
One day my family called me and said, “Hello, is this the Queen of the Radio Shows?” And I said, “What do you mean?” And they said, “Well, you were on the radio this morning.” My grandsons evidently had the radio on, and they told me, “Well, now I can say my grandma was on the radio at 95 years old!” [Margie was featured, along with volunteer Kris Owens, on the KQED Radio program “Cities are Looking into Ways to Become More Age-Friendly to Seniors” https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2016/08/09/cities-are-looking-into-ways-to-become-more-age-friendly-to-seniors/]
On looking ahead
I always think positively—why, I don't know.
There’s so much I love to do and life’s too short, but not for me. I’m 96! I love to party. I plan to party 'til I die!