Readers share their wishes for themselves and their loved ones.
My friend Goldie is a quiet person. She lived on a farm for many years, where she raised her family before moving to an apartment. She stayed busy over the years baking, quilting and embroidering. She still does those things, but four years ago, she decided she needed to "live it up a little" and enjoy all the adventures life has to offer – and that’s exactly what she’s been doing.
Knowing that Goldie had always dreamed of riding in a helicopter, four years ago for her 90th birthday, her children and their families pitched in and bought her a ticket to go on a helicopter ride – and she loved it. "It didn’t even feel like I was off the ground, only that I could see everything below me, and it looked so small," she said.
Last year, Goldie turned 94, and when asked what she wanted for her birthday, she was quick with an answer. "A Harley Davidson ride with my favorite great-grandson," she said.
When Russell, her only great-grandson, found out, he was thrilled and more than happy to make it happen.
When Russell arrived at Goldie’s house, he was prepared to help his grandmother onto the motorcycle, but Goldie surprised him. She threw her leg over the Harley, wrapped her arms around his waist, and, with a wave of her hand, shouted, "Away we go!" And they did.
When asked what she wanted to do for her 95th birthday, with a big smile on her face, Goldie said, "Sky dive!"
Maxine - Exira, Iowa
At my birthday party, my youngest grandson was talking about how it wouldn’t be long until he got his driver’s license, and he explained his dream truck to us. He said it would be blue, with 20-inch wheels, a bumping sound system and dual exhaust. Then he turned to me and said, "I guess you’re all through with dreaming. You tell everybody you’ve got everything when we try to get some hints for a present."
It took me a minute to figure out how to explain to him that just because I’ve had several birthdays didn’t mean I’d stopped dreaming. So, I took a deep breath and plunged into what I hope was a satisfactory explanation.
"I dream of the day I go to the rescue mission to cook for the hungry and homeless, and no one shows up because there is plenty of food and shelter, not only in my neighborhood, but all over America. I dream of the day I take my friend to her appointment at the county hospital, and she’s told her cancer is in remission, and we will have lots more time to share recipes and laughs.
"Another hope is for a younger friend whose husband is in peril of losing his job. We all know being over 40 makes it hard to find a job. She is so worried for her family and their needs that she looks older than her years, so I dream of smooth sailing for her.
"My biggest dreams are for our family. First, I dream that your cousin comes home from his third tour in Iraq to be with his wife and make me a great-grandmother. When your sister finishes college, I dream of being able to pay off her student loans and set her up in her own practice.
"When it comes to dreams for Grandpa and myself, I want to take a train ride, in a private roomette, all across the continent with stops and layovers in all of the big cities. And, finally, I want a reunion with all of our family and friends still on the East Coast – from Binghamton, New York, to Tampa, Florida. So you see, my beloved grandson, even though Grandma is 78, she still dreams."
Florence - North Hollywood, California
I am in my 70s, and I have come to the conclusion that no matter how old one gets, hopes and dreams are always a part of our future.
When I was young, I wished for many things. In hindsight, I realize those wishes were things all kids dream of. However, since I’ve gotten older, I know that the things I’ve dreamed of over the years have been realized. My husband and I have done some traveling, we have a lovely home, and our sons and their families are beautiful, healthy and happy.
My new hope is that my grandchildren have satisfying careers and lives, because, in the end, that’s what is really important. For now, though, a few of the grandkids have dreams for themselves. For instance, our 3-year-old granddaughter wants to be a real princess, and our 6-year-old grandson has decided he wants to be a pirate. Isn’t it great to be a child, when hopes and dreams are yours for the asking?
For a long time, I hoped to win big on the lottery so I would be able to help my children out with their finances. That hope never came true, but it’s OK, because money can’t buy the kind of happiness that really counts.
When sending out greeting cards to family and friends, I write "Love, Health and Happiness, Always" before signing my name, because these three things are the true hopes I have in my heart for everyone’s future.
Elinor - Niagara Falls, New York
I have been a dreamer all my life, and it seems I have always wanted things I couldn’t have.
When my little sister and I were children, I decided I wanted a baby sister or brother. In fact, I wanted one so much that my enthusiasm for one led me to tell my Sunday school teacher that my mother was going to have a baby. My mother was shocked when my teacher asked when the baby was due. Mother immediately had a talk with me, and I was embarrassed that I had said such a thing. I never told any more stories like that, although I did hold on to my dream of a baby brother or sister.
I have dreams today, too, and I’ve seen many of them come true. However, I also know that many of my dreams will not materialize. For example, I would love to visit Hawaii, Alaska, California, Arizona and Florida, but my husband is not able to do much traveling. I would also like to live in a warmer climate, but I know that, more than likely, I will stay right where I am. I wish I could be closer to my children and grandchildren, too, but they all have lives of their own. However, while dreaming of these things, I stop and am thankful for the computer my kids talked me into getting, because now I’m dreaming of writing more stories – and possibly a book.
I will keep following my dreams.
Ruth - Spencer, Iowa
For years, I have longed to visit Nova Scotia, Canada. In my mind, I’ve pictured its rugged green terrain and the ocean-kissed shoreline with lighthouses silhouetted against the sky, warning of the rough, huge boulders jutting out into the waters.
I’ve dreamed of sitting beside an easel on the sandy shore, brushing colorful oil paints onto a canvas. My expectation would be to finish a lovely picture of the scene around me while breathing in the salty air and enjoying the cool, crisp breeze. Perhaps a lonely seagull would fly overhead, and maybe a friendly native strolling by on the shore would stop and share in some light conversation.
The years move by quickly. My lifestyle is slowing and changing, so, for now, I just continue to dream and read about the lovely countryside in Nova Scotia. However, if I could, I would be traveling there today. Who knows? Maybe someday I will.
Lavonne - Hartley, Iowa
When we were first married, my husband and I had a special dream for our retirement years. So, no matter how poor we were, we put a little money aside each month, even if it was only five dollars.
My husband owned his own business, and, after several years, we managed to take a week off. We had always wanted to spend the winter months in a warmer climate, near the ocean. So, we traveled to our destination, and, although a week wasn’t very long, it was long enough for us to find the spot where we wanted to eventually spend our winter months.
We were surprised at how expensive land prices in the area were, and we knew we couldn’t afford to spend that much. Instead of giving up the idea, we subscribed to the local newspaper there.
It soon became apparent that the place we had chosen was a popular destination for snowbirds. We also discovered that most of the winter visitors lived in RV parks and owned their own motor homes. Now, a motor home might be within our budget if we could find a good used one. Within the next five years, we had our home on wheels and a spot in the sun.
Although my husband is gone now, I am grateful for our last few years together, because we lived our dream. I’m also thankful that we made plans for our future, so we could live each day to the fullest.
Alma - Monrovia, Indiana
I live alone, and I dream of someday moving to a comfortable assisted living facility where I can take things easy. I have mothered two adopted baby girls, sadly watching one pass away at the young age of 12. I have enjoyed office work for several years, and I am fortunate to have had a good husband and a happy marriage. Now I would like to live where I can meet people my own age, have delicious meals provided and enjoy different recreational opportunities.
Where would I want this dwelling to be? Somewhere in the New England area since Boston is where life began for me. California has been pleasant, but I miss the eastern United States, even the cold weather. Four distinct seasons would invigorate me and keep me interested in the activities of the retirement home.
Betty - Whittier, California
No one can predict what tomorrow will bring, so my hopes and dreams are for the near future.
I’ve been truly blessed over the years, with many dreams coming true. Now, I see each new day as a dream to look forward to. If you have children, then you’ve already been blessed, especially knowing that they have grown into caring adults. I dream I have good health so I can watch my great-grandchildren grow and prosper. Children grow so fast, and are grown and gone before we know it. Each day is precious and should be treated so.
I hope my loved ones find peace, hope and love, as well as success. Life can be tough, but with hope, faith and per-severance, dreams can come true.
Right now, I’m hoping to see my story in my favorite magazine, Capper’s.
Phyllis - Correctionville, Iowa
My hopes, dreams and aspirations have changed as the decades have accumulated, yet I have experienced wonderment and a sense of thankfulness for each and every milestone reached.
With the passage of time, more realistic dreams have replaced the fantasies I had in my youth, and I hope to realize one specific dream I’ve had for more than 15 years.
I dream of living with my husband in Texas’ Hill Country, around San Antonio, in a stone house encircled by a three-feet-high low-lying flat rock fence. I see a few tall magnolia and parasol trees in the yard, set amongst winding slate slabs guiding pathways here and yonder amongst randomly designed raised beds containing bursts of colorful flowers and fresh produce.
In my mind, I see a little English bulldog lounging in the yard between bursts of energy as he chases squirrels from his private domain. I picture a small potting shed off to the edge of the property where I putter with new plants, and I see my husband, happy and content amongst friends and neighbors as he wiles away his retirement years in peace and good health.
This dream I bequeath upon my house-hold one day, for in all these years as a displaced Texan, the dream has sustained me while my prayers have been for us to live long enough to see it come true.
Joanne - Herrin, Illinois
My family was an average family when I was growing up. We all worked hard, but we were never rich. We certainly never thought about going to college.
After I was married, I took a job as a telephone operator. Four years later, the technology of the dial telephone left me jobless, so I became a full-time homemaker. When I got busy in my role as wife, mother and volunteer, I put my dreams on hold. Occasionally I had some spare time, so I took up some hobbies. I could sew, I learned to carve, and I liked to draw, but most of all, I loved to write poetry. I secretly began dreaming of being a writer, even though I thought that kind of career was only possible for people who had a college education.
As the years passed, I continued to think about writing. Nine years ago, my family encouraged me to write my poems in a journal. So, now, at 66, I’m writing poems and short stories. I have taken two writing classes and have joined a writing group.
When my first short story was published, I realized that dreams really can come true if you work for them. Now, my dream for the future is to be able to continue writing, and my hope is to bring a twinkle to someone’s eye with something I’ve written.
Carolyn - Sutherland, Iowa
Being over 70 years of age, I often reflect on my hopes and dreams. I don’t dream of material things. I don’t hope to someday be wealthy, just to have enough money to survive. I do dream of continued health. I love to walk and be active, and I hope to be able to stay mentally alert so I can enjoy spending time with friends and family for many more years.
I also want good eyesight, so I can read and enjoy the changing seasons, and good hearing so I’m able to listen to music and enjoy the sound of laughter. I want to be a good role model for my family and friends, I want to leave a legacy when it’s my time to join my Creator, and I want the world to be a better place.
My greatest hope and dream, however, is for my son, who has lymphoma. I hope he returns to good health so he can raise his teenage son – watch him graduate, get married, have a successful career, and become a father. I want my son to enjoy the rewards of being a grandparent someday. That is what I hope – and pray – for each and every day.
Patti - St. Joseph, Missouri
When my husband, John, and I were in our mid-60s, we were retired and decided that our future was now. We needed to start enjoying life and live the rest of our lives to the fullest. So, we signed up for a trip to Italy. That wonderful European vacation was just the beginning of our travels. Something else we decided to do was pack up and move 1,200 miles so we would be closer to our daughter and our 13-year-old twin granddaughters.
Retired life has become contented. I know exactly where I’m supposed to be. What an uplifting feeling it is to see yourself right with the world in which you live. We moved last summer from Las Vegas, where we had lived for more than 30 years, to a small town in Texas.
Some might say that since John and I didn’t have to worry about finding jobs, we didn’t have anything holding us back, so deciding to move couldn’t have been that tough. However, moving is always stressful. It means leaving your comfort zone behind, and the work involved in a long-distance move is always difficult. Deciding to relocate at a time when real estate prices are low and homes are taking longer to sell was also a factor. However, we decided to do it anyway.
Though we haven’t made many friends in our new town yet, we know it was a good move. I go to bed at night and wake in the morning feeling that this is where I was meant to be. Although we don’t see our daughter and her family every day, they know we’re here to lean on, and we know they’re there if we need them. That knowledge alone is heartening.
Making the move as we approach our 70s meant acknowledging that we mustn’t wait until it was too late, and our children would have to decide what was best for us. Age is no longer in our favor, so we can’t hold our dreams captive to "someday," because our future is now.
While we may not be able to travel as much as we want, we’re not giving it up entirely. In fact, we have plans for several trips in the near future. We are acting now to make our dreams come true.
Kathy - Schertz, Texas
Some people may think my hopes and dreams for the future sound funny, but, to me, they don’t.
I hope to live long enough and stay in good enough health to be able to take care of my four dogs. I would hate to think of them getting dumped off somewhere and not being given good care and love if I were to pass away before them. Until my sister died, I hadn’t thought about it, but after she passed away, I had to find good homes for her animals.
I also dream of being able to see my grandchildren, who are in high school now, graduate from college, and I hope to have enough money to help them pay for their educations.
My dogs and my grandchildren are my greatest interests at this point in my life, and, therefore, my hopes and dreams for the future center around them.
Mae - Red Oak, Iowa
For me, turning 50 was a wake-up call. It made me realize I’m not immortal.
Last year, as my 50th birthday neared, I asked myself, "What can I do to celebrate?" In past years, I’d treated myself to a trip, which often involved a memorable drive. Then it hit me. I would drive across the country on U.S. Route 50 during the summer I turned 50.
Then I stumbled upon an ulterior motive for my trip. While watching the news, I kept hearing how Americans don’t love their country anymore and aren’t good people anymore. Well, I didn’t believe any of that, so I decided I would use my trip to prove that theory wrong.
I departed Hilton Head, South Carolina, on the morning of June 9, 2009. Late on the morning of June 11, I was in Ocean City, Maryland, the official starting point of U.S. Route 50 on the East Coast. Seeing an overhead sign that read "West Sacramento, CA 3073 miles," I carefully stood in the middle of four lanes of traffic, faced west and snapped a photo of the sign. Then I hopped in the car, put it in drive and said, "Let the games begin."
Nearly a month later, on July 7, I was in West Sacramento, California. I stood on the narrow shoulder of Interstate 80’s six lanes of traffic, faced east and snapped another photo of a sign. This one said "Ocean City, MD 3073 miles."
My mission had been accomplished.
Upon returning home, friends asked what I enjoyed most about my trip. I immediately replied, "The random acts of kindness from total strangers." Then I explained what I meant.
While in West Virginia’s North Bend State Park, I met Tim and his family. Tim noticed I was alone at my camp site, so he walked over and asked me to join them. We spent hours talking around the fire.
Driving in Jefferson City, Missouri, looking for a place to spend the night, I made an illegal U-turn. Seconds later, I heard sirens and saw flashing lights in my rearview mirror. I pulled over, and the officer walked up to the car and asked, "Where you going?" I told him about my birthday and my drive across the country, then told him I was looking for a motel. He gave me directions to a few local motels – and no ticket – and I thanked him.
In Sedalia, Missouri, at a convenience store, I asked for directions to the Katy Train Depot. A young man said to follow him, and he would lead me there.
While near Lost Springs, Kansas, I was leaning over a monument’s railing to better read the inscription, and my shoe slipped. I fell into the ditch, landing on my back. A young man driving by saw it happen, so he turned around and came back to make sure I was OK.
Those acts of kindness, as well as many more, prove that America is still great – and my dream is that it always will be.
John - Hilton Head, South Carolina
I spent a good number of years being a stay-at-home mom. When I had a free moment, I enjoyed writing fiction. Now that my children are grown, I have more time to write. My new goal is to get more of my material published.
Another dream I have is to visit Finland, home of my ancestors.
I also have hopes for my daughters. My oldest daughter quit her job to travel with her husband, who has a computer-based job and can work from anywhere. They bought a motor home and planned a one-year adventure. They will experience a lifetime of memories, and I’m happy for them. I hope when their journey ends, she finds a good job that suits her. My younger daughter has a wonderful job that suits her perfectly, but she gets awful migraine headaches. So, for her, I hope the world of medical science discovers a medicine capable of controlling painful migraines.
God has been good to me, giving me two wonderful daughters and a loving husband. At this point in my life, the previously mentioned hopes and dreams would be the icing on my cake.
Mary - Abilene, Texas
I learned at an early age the importance of keeping hopes and dreams alive in order to be successful in whatever you desire.
As a child, I loved English, spelling and creative writing, and I dreamed of being a writer like my aunt Gertrude. To achieve my goal, it took dedication and perseverance. Luckily, my grandmother and my aunt were helpful and encouraging. At age 16, I entered a contest for young writers. I was one of the winners and received a check and a lot of recognition, which sparked my hunger to become a writer.
Now an 82-year-old retired journalist and freelance writer, I have a new dream. I want to contribute to a fund to ensure my great-granddaughter, Hailey, a college education. My hopes and dreams are to pass on to her what has been passed on to me by her ancestors.
Hailey is currently in fourth grade. She is energetic, loves sports and is a good student. She, too, has hopes and dreams for a successful future, and she knows that now is the time to begin planning.
She has a lovely singing voice and has often been asked to sing solo parts in church and at school. Hailey also enjoys drawing pictures to hang on my refrigerator.
I will continue to encourage Hailey to keep doing her best and seeking to achieve success in her talents. Young people need to be acknowledged when doing well. It takes cooperation and encouragement from friends and family to help a young person reach his or her goals and to realize the success of a dream.
Phyllis - Three Rivers, Michigan
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