People share their stories with me all the time, hoping I can write about them. Most are just silly or sweet and usually unusable.

But this one comes from a serious, credible woman with a real and funny plan cooked up by six women friends. Hey, this is the Year of the Woman, isn’t it? I’m game.

I’m sharing this with you because after a week of Chuck Grassley and Lindsay Graham, I’m open to anything female.

This friend, a lovely, bubbly widow in her 70s with a good sense of humor, came and shared a latte with me on the patio at Starbucks a couple of days ago, and told me her idea.

As long as it wasn’t scary, #Metoo, or about SCOTUS, I agreed to listen and promised not to use real names.

It went like this.


I said, “Is this serious or are you making it up?”

And she said, “It’s very serious.”

And I said, “I don’t need a fantasy. I have enough fantasies of my own to write about.”

And she said, “It’s a plan, and it’s absolutely true.”

And then I said, “You’re not running for office, are you? Because my lawn space for signs is all booked up.”

And she said, “No politics, just a great idea.”


And I said, “OK, so tell me your great idea.”

So I swore to keep all names secret, and this is what she told me:

One evening a year ago a group of six of her friends, all in their 70s, three widows, three divorcees, sat down for drinks. After a few martinis and crackers, the conversation turned to how they viewed their elder years.

It was clear that none of them wanted to live with their children, or go into a nursing home or assisted living. Ain’t that the truth?

A caretaker living in the home, they agreed, would be too intrusive. So far, so good.

After about four or five of these weekly martini evenings, pieces began to fall into place, and they finally came up with an idea that was acceptable to all of them.


They’ve not put it into play yet, but as she sees it, the years are quickly creeping up on them, so a decision will have to be made soon.

This is their plan; it’s the God’s honest truth, and it’s an idea we can all use.

Six of them will pool their available funds and together, purchase a six-bedroom, six-bath home on the Western Promenade in Portland with a great view and easy access to Maine Medical. Smart.

The home will also have a large wrap-around porch, with six brightly painted Adirondack rockers in different colors, so when things start “going south,” they’ll recognize their own chairs.

The plan includes hiring a full-time nurse, cleaning woman and cook, who will give them their meds, serve up their evening cocktail (at 4 p.m.) and prepare dinner. I’m liking this story already.

They will, she claims, spend the late summer days on the porch and winter nights around the fire, reminiscing about the old days, their health and the weather.


“Of course,” she said, “we’ll all be talking at once with no one listening.”

I had to ask. “What about men?”

“We’ll employ the old boarding house rules — parlor visits only, no one upstairs after 10 p.m. And when we notice that one of the six is beginning to fail, we will inquire of that person just exactly how she is feeling and keep an eye on her. If there is a sad result, we will then, as a group, review our ‘waiting list’ and vote in our next roommate.”

There is a slightly dramatic and a bit illegal hitch embedded in her scenario that caught my interest, should a script emerge. But they can’t reveal that until all are deceased.

We agreed that it would make a great movie: “The Ladies of Last Days Lane,” with, in my mind, Meryl Streep, of course, Melissa McCarthy, Anjelica Huston, Susan Sarandon, Helen Mirren and Jane Fonda.

I better get this in writing. Call your agents. Two more lattes please.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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