Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mini Profile - Lois Coy

Lois Coy, hunches over a cane looking at the concrete floor as she prepares to cross 5th Ave., in Jackson Heights. At some point she turns around and smiles at me. I ask her for directions to a nearby church. "Mass started," she says. "But do you want to join me for dinner instead?" The white LCD display flashes the “walk” sign and I follow her to her favorite diner. Employees greet her by name and sit us in her usual spot. At 91, Coy, a retired businesswoman talks about her life lucidly. Her family came from England to Plymouth, Massachusetts with the original settlers in 1620 and later settled in New York in the 1800’s. Her brother fought in WWII; she never married or had kids but always volunteered for the neighborhood’s Methodist Church. In the mornings she buys coffee at the neighborhood's Dunkin' Donuts just to listen to conversations in languages that she'll never learn but that sound nice to her ears. “I love to learn about their traditions and vice-versa,” she says. We order rice pudding and she asks me if have heard of Che Guevara. "Have you seen the bike diaries?" she asks. "I saw that. I even bought the book. The only thing I didn't like was the language. I never heard that growing up..." The bill arrives and she snaps it away from the table. "You're my guest today and I wont hear about it,” she says taking out dollar bills from her purse.

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