Anne Blane Grubbs grew up in Virginia as an only child of an only child, so she has a house full of stuff. She met and married her husband, Mike, while both were in their 30s and dabbling in community theater. Grubbs, a fine arts major with an emphasis in education, taught school for 20 years and worked at Bowling Green-Warren County Community Education for 17 years before retiring in October 2012.
So tell me about the traveling you have been doing since retirement?
We went to see family and then went to New York to see the Rams (Virginia Commonwealth University) play ball. We went early and stayed after the tournament so we could do some touring. In the summer, we went to North Carolina to see friends. We were supposed to go the Grand Canyon, but then the government shut down. We like to go to Siesta Key, which is outside Sarasota (Fla.), and went there last fall. Depends on if I’m able to travel, I’d still like to see the Grand Canyon.
What else have you been doing in retirement?
I’ve been doing a lot of crafting. I taught myself to knit on the loom a little bit. I’m not anywhere as good as Sheila Allen (an instructor). Once upon a time a hundred years ago, I had a craft business with a friend and we painted. He would cut stuff, and I would paint it. If it didn’t move, I would paint it. But I’m not really a business person. I still love to do it. I even taught some of the craft classes for community ed’s enrichment program.
What is most important to you?
Friends and family. It’s the support that they bring. They really are an extension of yourself. … We don’t have much family. There really is no family left on my side. Without our friends and Mike’s family, it would just be very lonely.
Tell me a funny story about yourself.
You want to hear about the opossum in the bathroom? We moved into a really old house on Park Street when we moved my mother here. … One morning, there was a baby opossum sitting on the curtains. Apparently, we had brought it down from the attic when we brought down a box of fall decorations. The funniest thing is that Mike spent a half hour in the bathroom with it and didn’t even see it.
What makes you laugh?
Just about anything. I love to laugh. My husband and my animals make me laugh. Right now, we have one dog and one cat that follow us around. They are real interactive with each other. I tend to humanize her (dog) and read something into what she is thinking.
You mentioned about travel if you are able to, tell me about your illness and how you are dealing with it?
Well, I have breast cancer. I had it 10 years ago, almost 11. It went into remission for five years and it came back five years ago. We just dealt with it. Last summer, I started feeling bad. When we got back from Florida, I really noticed it. It’s in the lung now. It’s kind of confining. I still feel pretty good a lot of the time.
Chemotherapy is given in a communal room. I look around and sometimes I feel a lot luckier because I feel so much better and I have a lot more support than many others do. People wonder if I ask, ‘Why me?’ but I don’t really say that. We deal with it one day at a time and have great church support. I was pretty sick … and we couldn’t have gotten through it without our church. They fed us and we had a good friend from Virginia who spent Christmas with us, and that meant a lot.
What is your coping mechanism?
I don’t know that I would have just one. I try to stay busy. I read a lot, do things around the house and make a point when it’s nice to get out of the house. It’s so good to see people, even if I just take a book … and sit in a corner and eat. Seeing people … that makes you smile.
What advice do you have for people facing similar health issues?
People will call sometimes and ask. I tell them everybody is different. They need to talk to a lot of people and be careful of what you read on the Internet because a lot of time they post horror stories. … Take it one day at a time because that is all anyone can do and keep putting one foot in front of another. I got that on a card the first time I went through it. It was from Shirley Holland and that has been the best advice. Try to keep a positive outlook on life because it makes such a difference.
Author Unknown (2014, March). Q&A: Anne Blane Grubbs. BGDailyNews.com. Retrieved from http://www.bgdailynews.com/obituaries/anne-grubbs/article_30140e0f-0dee-5080-a2c6-807099ee79f9.html