Mildred Pierce, a widow, is 78-years-old. She has lived all her life in the rural South that she loves. She says, “Rural Southerners are the kindest and friendliest people on God’ earth.”
She loves her five children, 12 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She loves her home, neighbors and her Baptist Church that is the center of her life. Using the King James of the Bible, she teaches Sunday School and holds Bible Classes in her home on Wednesday evenings for an hour.
Pierce is legally blind, but she says, “I can see clearer today than I could when I had full vision.”
Feisty, she is determined to maintain the quality of life that she has enjoyed all of her life.
Her daughter Anna says, “Mom has been a reader all of her life and a gadget lover. The assortment of technologies that she has startles all of us.”
When she started losing her vision, memory, hand strength and hearing four-to-five years ago, she started reading about Assistive Technology products by a “writer name John Williams.” She asked her family to buy her a low vision product. She has used it since for reading, writing and coloring. She draws nature pictures for her grandchildren and then colors them.
Her desire to remain independent did not stop with acquiring the low vision product. Her joints in her hands began tightening, and she gradually started losing the ability to open and close them. She was unable to use a manual can opener, and so she purchased an electric one that she uses every day five or six times.
She was not done with buying products. She purchased an electric knife sharpener and a microwave oven to cook soup, vegetables, ground beef, hot dogs and tea and coffee. As her memory started fading she was afraid of causing a major fire with her stove.
"I was forgetting to turn off the stove after I emptied my cooking pans and flying pans,” she said. Twice her forgetfulness caused minor fires.
Pierce has a telephone in her house that will dial a telephone number when she says a name. She has the names of more than a dozen people on a pad next to the phone. She loves this technology. She says, “Knowing I can call anyone instantly is a relief.”
Pierce has not stopped there. Seven months ago her son Paul purchased a laptop computer, and he taught her to send e-mails. A former book editor, she sends half a dozen a day to family members. She enlarges the point size to 24 and adjusts the background color to help her see. She uses a baton to perform word processing functions. The computer has been programmed to turn on at 8:00 a.m. and off at 9:00 p.m.
Pierce is in bed at 9:30 every evening and up at 6:00 a.m. the following day.
“I live a contented life, and all these technologies add to my contentment,” Pierce says.