It turns out that the ‘volunteer’ is in town from New Jersey to visit her son (Roman) daughter-in-law (Alexandra) and her grandkids. Miss Helen as we came to call her is totally game to take class even though her original intention had been to come sit in the whirlpool.
Small Class (Mary Lu, me, Miss Helen)
Since it’s just the three of us, I tell Mary Lu that it’s okay with me if we cut class a little bit short. To tell you the truth, I’m secretly pulling for this outcome because I’m pretty tired. The thing is, Mary Lu is so passionate about teaching water aerobics that once we start, I feel certain we’re going all the way till the end.
Mary Lu has brought some special ankle and hand gizmos for me to wear to increase resistance in the water. Sure enough, with those devices on, everything is about twice as hard to do. I’m trying my best to keep up but it’s a struggle. We do some exercises where our feet are to stay off the bottom but with my doodads on I can barely keep my head above water and occasionally I slip just beneath the surface.
Mary Lu on shore
Miss Helen hasn’t done water aerobics before or at least not in a while and so she’s not familiar with the exercises. On some things it’s clear that she’s completely lost but she just keeps bouncing in the water and smiling or giggling the whole time. She tells us that she has a 5 a.m. flight in the morning and I keep thinking at any minute she’s going to say ‘that’s enough’ but it never happens.
Before you know it, eight p.m. arrives and I’m all but worn out thanks to Mary Lu’s new resistance toys. Miss Helen though is all smiles and fresh as a daisy.
After class, Miss Helen and I sit in the hot tub to warm up and she tells me that she’s Ukrainian but spent most of her early life in Poland. I learn that she speaks four languages and has lived in the U.S. for almost fifty years. We’ve only just met but somehow she seems familiar (and adorable) to me. I tell her how glad I am to have met her and wish her luck on her future journeys.
I go in to change clothes and when I come out I find an e-mail address written down. My first thought is, how sweet, Miss Helen has left her address for me but it turns out, she’s given me her daughter-in-law’s e-mail. She’s done the class, at least in part, so Alexandra Ratycz will win the $25 gift certificate. I find all this out from Alexandra who’s been taking Beth’s Sculpt class. I recognize Alexandra because she’s been in five or six classes with me but never won the drawing – until now.