Ever and Always
Chapter 22: Marsha's well spent youth – July 2022

Copyright© 2015 by Banadin

While Rick was remembering his youth, Marsha was thinking of hers. She had to chuckle to herself. Today youth started at eighteen and went until the early sixties. Age gave a different perspective on things.

While certainly not as exciting as Rick's, it was rewarding. Starting as a teacher in 1957 was a lot different than today. While the school provided textbooks, each teacher got to flesh out their class. There was no standardized testing and no political or religious groups trying to take over the curriculum, other than the eternal argument between creation and evolution.

She continued her studies while teaching, so ended up with a PhD in Education. Part of this drive was to give meaning to her life after she lost her first child, and couldn't have more. This many years later, she still remembered her grief, but it was a distant memory to be brought out and thought about, rather than a dark grinding pain.

She and Max, her late husband were best friends. His earnings as a broker did not make them rich, but did allow them to travel the world. They both were active in their professions. Neither had close family, so they kept their friends. Unfortunately as time passed friends either moved or died. After Max died in 2011, Marsha was left alone. She did well living by herself. She had a social circle of friends who all exercised at the YMCA doing water aerobics.

She and her friends went to lunch several times a week. For a while, they formed their own Red Hat club. It was fun going to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore on a weekday and getting tipsy; then shop the clearance racks at all the stores. The treasures found were saved for birthday and Christmas gifts for each other.

This went well until Alzheimer's raised its ugly head. This led to the entire fiasco with the Alzheimer's study and the HIV infection. Thank God she was not aware during these episodes.

Now like a miracle, she was aware, getting healthier and stronger all the time. It was not an all at once turn around. If she thought about how she felt three to six months previously there was a positive difference.

Now she had a husband she loved dearly and enough money that they should never want. What more could she ask for? One thing occurred to her. In her many conversations with Rick, they had discussed how far their bodies would retrogress.

Also, along with getting younger it seemed to be a healthier younger than their first time around. If that proved true could she have children? Only God knew, and she wasn't talking.

In the meantime, Marsha had found a project she could get into. At the diner Mary and she were talking one evening, and she learned that there was a local group of home schooler's that were having problems with the state because their curriculum didn't meet standards. This was right up her alley.

Within a month she had met with the group, after explaining her background, they asked for her help. There were four families involved. Marsha not only met the young mothers but their mothers, mothers in law and even several grandmothers.

This in turn led to her joining a card club and a group that home gardened, not that it was the time of the year to start a garden, but she would like to get a good start for the next year.

It only took her a couple of weeks work and a redesign of their home, so she would have an office of her own as her life calling was renewed. The state officials not only were pleased with her work, they asked if she would be interested in working with several other problem groups around the state.

Within six months, she became the go to person for home-schooling curriculum and student activity issues. She also made it very clear she wouldn't be involved with any religious or political problems. She didn't have the time, the expertise or the energy for these.

Marsha was also very involved in the design and construction of their new home. She was scouring the internet for furniture and decorating ideas. If she didn't do this, she would have to turn in her Woman Card! At the same time, she was investigating the economy and what was going to happen. The doomsday's crowd had been calling for the economic collapse of the world for many years. The can always got kicked down the road.

Marsha did not see how this could continue with the Black Swan event that had occurred. The drug "Live" had changed too many equations. No government or central bank would be able to steer through these waters without big problems. They had been living in a house of cards, and now it would tumble down.

At her urging, she and Rick invested five million dollars in gold and silver. It was a mixture of coins, one-ounce gold eagles, one-ounce silver dollars and junk silver (US coins prior to 1965 were 90% silver, now called junk silver.) They arranged to take delivery at Jack Nelson's store.

The containers were labeled excavator attachments. Jack was a little put out they didn't order the attachments through him but took delivery, and called Rick when they were in.

Rick asked Jack when he could pick the boxes up, Jack told him he could pick them up any day, but that he would not be there on Wednesday. So of course Rick picked the cartons up on Wednesday.

Jack's yard helper loaded them into Rick's big IH pickup with a forklift. When Rick got back to the farm, he then had the question of what to do with their treasure. The age-old solution of pirates came to mind.

Rick dug a ten-foot deep hole with his excavator, lifted the cartons with the bucket; and then filled in the hole. He had dug out the sod first so was able to put the grass back. He thought about watering the grass to hide all evidence but then decided to park the excavator on top of the filled-in hole.

This should keep any human critters away from their treasury. While the house was being built, they were having a true vault installed. It would be built into the area where rock had to be blasted out so should be very secure.

As Marsha reviewed all these thoughts, she also tried to sort out what was happening in the world in general. While the construction was proceeding, a national debate had started. People were now going to live a lot longer in excellent health. They would be essentially kept at their present age in good health until they reached around two hundred years then it was predicted that they would go down rapidly. The changes that society was about to undergo would be far reaching.

The life insurance industry's actuarial tables had just gone out the window. However, the industry was not rushing to change. When your policy was based on someone living to be eighty and they would now reach two hundred your profits would be sky high.

The regulatory agencies were trying to sort these out, but with all the state and federal hearings by a multitude of groups up to and including the U. S. Congress, there wouldn't be a quick regulatory resolution.

While the regulators dithered, the public was making decisions. They were dropping their life insurance policies. Forward looking insurance companies were rolling out products that involved accidents and the recovery from them.

The issue of Social Security was threatening to tear the country apart. There was no way that the system would support a person retiring at sixty five for this length of time.

There was also the reality that a person who was now eighty years old while in good health wouldn't be able to perform a labor type of job. How would the transition period be handled?

In the long run, retirement age would be set at one hundred and ninety years if the current predictions held true. This would support people in their final decline. Since they would be paying into the system for almost one hundred and seventy years, costs would go way down.

It was the transition period that was causing the debate. If someone had retired at sixty five recently would they be required to go back to work? It appeared there would be no easy answer to this question.

Then in one of those few times in American history when all branches of the government were held by nominal conservatives the proposal came forward to dissolve the program completely.

The program that would replace it would care for those that were not able to work. Age played into this. Those applying for this program would be required to take a full physical and if needed a mental evaluation.

The older one was the lower percent disability needed to be eligible. If one was one hundred years old, then twenty percent disabled would meet the requirements. At eighty, it required fifty percent disabled.

These requirements were harder than first glance. The population in general was much healthier. The Medicaid crisis was over. The program was simply dissolved. The largest hue and cry was from the dislocated bureaucrats and their unions.

It set off a game of musical chairs in the state and federal governments. The average state budgets went into the black for the first time this millennium. States like Texas were reducing taxes.

The lobbies that would have supported Social Security and Medicaid had their own problems. Those that pretended to lobby for Senior Citizens, but had turned into insurance companies were running out of funds.

The pharmaceutical industry had its own funding issues. Big Pharma was trying to change its business model from having patients take a medication for long periods of their life to creating medicines to correct genetic related problems.

Even this was tough sledding as 'Live' seemed to address these. Another field was antibiotics for the SAR's family.

SAR's which was related to the common cold kept mutating. It had a nasty turn in Saudi Arabia in 2014, which had spread throughout the mid-east. Strict travel control kept it contained, but at any time it could turn into a pandemic.

The only reason travel control worked for the mid-east was that the US had finally become self-sufficient on petroleum. Fracking had proven to be the solution. A sharply curbed EPA was forced by the new conservative government to get out of the way.

The dire predictions of earthquakes, tap water burning and surges in cancer didn't occur at this point in time. What had occurred was an enormous strengthening of the US economy and its worldwide influence.

At the same time, the Middle Eastern oil rich sheiks were no longer rich. Their life styles were based on an ever increasing flow of money. When this flow stopped their power over their populations stopped. The diseased ridden, now poor countries quickly turned to radical Islam.

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