Yesterday I shared about the move toward Super-Aging out of a lose-lose marriage into the supportive exciting Chusid home. The family lived vibrantly and well and I wanted to join them in that vitality and love of life. Living with the Chusid family awakened me to many areas of life that I had only dabbled with earlier—these were cultural pursuits that were constants in their lives.
AND THEN, Ruth, the head of the home, announced there would be a weekend family therapy workshop in Wisconsin with Virginia Satir who was considered The Mother of Family Therapy. Ruth asked me to come along as part of the family. The ministers organizing the workshop refused my application because I wasn’t a member of the family. Ruth who knew Virginia assured me that Virginia would want me there because I was living in the family.
Ruth was assigned the task of picking Virginia Satir up from O’Hare field and hosting her the Thursday night before the workshop. Ruth was busy and asked me to do the pick-up. She assured me that Virginia would be easy to spot as a tall Nordic Goddess in street clothes. I met her at the luggage carousel where she was actually busy doing “family therapy” with her favorite Sky Cap who was putting her 17 bags on his cart. She knew the names of all of his 9 children and gave him a bit of guidance for one of the teenagers as he stuffed her bags into my yellow VW bug convertible. It was spring of 1968. Virginia didn’t have a home and was constantly “on the road” going from Sweden one week and Aruba the next or from Hawaii to Juneau, Alaska therefore the need for an all year wardrobe, her office materials and correspondence, her portable typewriter, her library and the ever present train case with makeup that every woman carried at that time. Sam asked her when she would need him next so he could be on that shift. As we drove away, with the typewriter at her feet, the train case and her purse on her lap, she explained he had been “her” Chicago Sky Cap for over 8 years.
And Ruth was right, Virginia considered me as part of the Chusid family and called the organizing ministers informing them that I would be coming and needed a room! I had heard she was an amazing woman and now I was convinced.
Little did I know the night before the workshop that I had found my mentor!