My daughter, Lydie, has been working all day on completing her Taft application.  She wrote the following piece in December.


Describe your family and the role you play in it. 

I live on a farm in Orange County, Virginia. It is located about half an hour outside of Charlottesville. Charlottesville is where I go to school, and where my immediate family lives, as well as my grandparents, my aunt, and my two brothers. We are constantly together—having small but eventful dinner parties or just stopping by to say hello. My grandparents recently moved to a one-floor house, which is more suitable to their present needs. In order to attend Charlottesville High School, I am currently living with my grandparents. This works out well, because my grandparents have a growing need for companionship. We all work together to keep everything in order and to make sure that they are entertained and happy. Living in town this year has meant that I have more time to complete my homework, study, practice my violin, and relax. This also means that I get to spend much more time with my family.

My grandfather is 91 years old, and my grandmother is 87. They are the happiest, most optimistic people in the world, despite the trials that they face due to their old age. My grandfather is very bent over and uses a walker. He is also on supplementary oxygen. However, this does not affect his mood in the slightest. In fact, he’s the most lively and entertaining man that I have ever met. One can never get tired of the endless array of stories that he has. Most of them are about his time spent at The Taft School, or at the University of Virginia or in World War II. I just hope by the time I am his age, I will have half the amount of stories he has. My grandmother suffers from mild Alzheimer’s, so she is often confused, but she’s the kindest, most patient person I know. Her serene disposition has been something I have always looked up to and admired. Since I’ve moved in, I’ve spent a great deal of time with my grandmother, and I think I’ve been able to keep her spirits lifted somewhat. The more I’m with her, the less confused she seems. We’ve made plans together to visit her older sister in Iowa and to hop a transcontinental train to San Francisco, both of which I fully intend to carry out.

I think the role I play in my family is that of caregiver. I try to ensure that everyone is happy—especially my grandparents. With my grandfather, my primary role is to keep him company, sit with him and listen to his stories.  With my grandmother, I hug her, compliment her, and make her feel good about herself. I help interpret what she wants, because she’s often too polite to ask. By doing this, I hope that I am keeping them happy and fulfilled.



My granddaddy (James Cunningham Sargent, Taft School Class of 1935) died this past Friday, January 11, at home in his bed in Charlottesville after a brief illness.