Personal Transitions Juanita S. Kuhn
By Christopher Klose
At 91, Juanita Kuhn still holds one of the oldest and unlikeliest records in sports: the slowest elapsed time between San Francisco's Golden Gate and Hawaii's Diamond Head — 23 days, 23 hours, 55 minutes, 4 seconds — set during the 1939 TransPacific Yacht Race. After 32 years in her own Washington, D.C., apartment, she is moving to an independent living facility in upstate New York to be near her family.
On Old Age: I've always been an adventurer. But being brave at my age isn't easy. I never thought I'd reach 91. I wonder about my friend, Miklos, who's 95. He got out of the shower, looked at his body in the mirror and was horrified. That's one of the shockers, when you realize you're older than you think you are…
On Transitions: I've made many transitions over my life but I was stronger physically and emotionally. I dread leaving my apartment and going into a place where I don't know people; of having to make polite conversation. Making friends is hard. I hope they have someone to introduce me, show me the ropes.
On Family: My children are my greatest satisfaction—and my grandchildren, at least the grown up ones. I'm not sure what to do with the little ones. I hope I'll be part of their lives. Hearing, "Granny, how are you?" gives me a boost.
On Friends: Keep in touch, as much as possible. I think of those with nobody; it's very unfortunate if they have no relatives.
On Getting Along: Don't complain. Be pleasant to be included. And don't turn on the TV!