+
More

The heartbreaking reason this 98-year-old spends weekends shredding mail.

You should know Mary's story.

Sometimes you come across someone's story and it touches you in a way you'll never forget.

Mary's story, captured in a short film called "Junk Mail," is one of those stories.


Photo courtesy of Charles Frank. Used with permission.

Mary is 98 years old. She has no children. And her husband died a few years ago.

She and her husband lived in the same house together — the one she still lives in today — for about four decades.

"Where could I go?" she responds rhetorically when asked if she enjoys living there. “I can't see. I can't hear. I can't live with my nieces. They all have their own family."

Photo via "Junk Mail"/Vimeo.

Many of us can't wait for the weekend. But for Mary, Saturday and Sunday mean 48 hours of loneliness.

On weekends, she ends up resorting to a tedious, inconsequential task, just to help pass the time.

"You know what I do? Don't laugh," she explains."I get junk mail. I strip it. And after I strip it, I cut it up in small [pieces], put it in a bag, put it out for garbage. I have to do something. Otherwise, I'll go nuts."

Photo via "Junk Mail"/Vimeo.

That heartbreaking quote inspired the name for "Junk Mail."

Created by production company Voyager, "Junk Mail" follows Mary on her day-to-day routine in Easton, Pennsylvania, capturing the difficulty of growing old and lonely.

It's a difficulty plenty of people know all too well.

A study by the University of California, San Francisco conducted between 2002 and 2008 found that 43% of people over 60 years old reported feeling lonely. What's more, those who experienced loneliness also experienced more significant declines in health over the years, as The New York Times noted.

So while Mary's story might be tough to hear, her struggle to stay connected to the world is not as rare as we might think.

While Mary's weekends are spent shredding junk mail, her weekdays are filled with a bright spot: a local senior center.

During the week, Mary visits Easton Lifestyle Campus for seniors, where she dines, plays games, and chats among friends. She "can't wait 'til morning comes, so [she] can go."

Debbie Mertz, director of the center, said folks at the center may feel increasingly excluded because of their age.

"Their children are now having grandchildren," she explained in the film. "So they kind of get pushed off to the side. They're not as needed, they can't do as much, so they come here."

Photo via "Junk Mail"/Vimeo.

But we shouldn't feel sorry for Mary. While her story tugs at the heartstrings, she's certainly loved by many.

"She encapsulated the spirit and energy and the ideology behind what [the senior center] represented," Charles Frank, the film's 21-year-old director, told Upworthy.

"She absolutely is one of the most beloved people there. She's the center of everyone's attention."

Frank — who said he was inspired by the senior center while visiting during filming for a different project — now considers Mary a "surrogate grandmother." And it's no wonder, either — her resilience and positive attitude are evident throughout his work.

"God is good to me," she said. "Who is 98 years old and still walking on their feet? I am. ... I am."

Photo via "Junk Mail"/Vimeo.

You can view "Junk Mail" below. It's certainly worth the watch.

But be warned: You should have tissues on hand.

And to anyone who may beinspired to reach out to Mary,Frank asked that viewers send Voyager a direct message through their Facebook page. He will follow up with directions on how you can send Mary a hello.

Voyager is planning on giving Mary the messages of support during a screening of the film sometime during November.

Check out "Junk Mail" below:

Internet

Relationship expert tells people to never get married unless you're willing to do 3 things

"If you and your partner (both) are unable or unwilling to do these 3 things consistently forever, you won’t make it."

Relationship expert gives people advice on getting married.

Being in a relationship can be difficult at times. Learning someone else's quirks, boundaries, and deep views on the world can be eye-opening and hard. But usually, the happy chemicals released in our brain when we love someone can cause us to overlook things in order to keep the peace.

Jayson Gaddis, a relationship expert, took to Twitter to rip off people's rose-colored glasses and tell them to forego marriage. Honestly, with the divorce rate in this country being as high as it is, he probably could've stopped his tweet right there. Don't get married, the end. Many people would've probably related and not questioned the bold statement, but thankfully he followed up with three things you must be willing to do before going to the chapel.

Before going into his reasons for why he tells people not to get married, Gaddis explained that he is a person that "LOVEs being married." I mean, it would probably make him a pretty weird relationship expert if he hated relationships, so it's probably a good thing he enjoys being married. Surely his spouse appreciates his stance as well.

Keep ReadingShow less

Tater Tots, fresh out of the oven.

It’s hard to imagine growing up in America without Tater Tots. They are one of the most popular kiddie foods, right up there with chicken nuggets, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and macaroni and cheese. The funny thing is the only reason Tater Tots exist is that their creators needed something to do with leftover food waste.

The Tater Tot is the brainchild of two Mormon brothers, F. Nephi and Golden Grigg, who started a factory on the Oregon-Idaho border that they appropriately named Ore-Ida. The brothers started the factory in 1951 after being convinced that frozen foods were the next big thing.

According to Eater, between 1945 and 1946, Americans bought 800 million pounds of frozen food.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

10 years ago, a 'Stairway to Heaven' performance brought Led Zeppelin's surviving members to tears

Heart, John Bonham's son and a full choir came together for the epic tribute.

Led Zeppelin got to see their iconic hit performed for them.

When Billboard and Rolling Stone pull together their "Best Songs of All Time" lists, there are some tunes you know for sure will be included. Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" is most definitely one of them.

It has everything—the beauty of a ballad, the grunginess of a rock song, the simple solo voice, and the band in full force. "Stairway to Heaven" takes us on a musical journey, and even people who aren't necessarily giant Led Zeppelin or classic rock fans can't help but nod or sing along to it.

Of course, it's also been so ubiquitous (or overplayed, as some would claim) to become a meme among musicians. Signs saying "No Stairway to Heaven" in guitar stores point to how sick of the song many guitarists get, and when Oregon radio station KBOO told listeners they would never play the song again if someone pledged $10,000, Led Zepelin singer Robert Plant himself called in and gave the donation.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Developmental scientist shared her 'anti-parenting advice' and parents are relieved

In a viral Twitter thread, Dorsa Amir addresses the "extreme pressure put on parents in the West."

Photo by kabita Darlami on Unsplash, @DorsaAmir/Twitter

Parents, maybe give yourselves a break

For every grain of sand on all the world’s beaches, for every star in the known universe…there is a piece well intentioned, but possibly stress-inducing parenting advice.

Whether it’s the astounding amount of hidden dangers that parents might be unwittingly exposing their child to, or the myriad ways they might be missing on maximizing every moment of interaction, the internet is teeming with so much information that it can be impossible for parents to feel like they’re doing enough to protect and nurture their kids.

However, developmental scientist and mom Dorsa Amir has a bit of “anti-parenting advice” that help parents worry a little less about how they’re measuring up.

First and foremost—not everything has to be a learning opportunity. Honestly, this wisdom also applies to adults who feel the need to be consistently productive…raises hand while doing taxes and listening to a podcast on personal development
Keep ReadingShow less

A guy with road rage screaming out of his car.

A psychologist who’s an expert in narcissism has released a telling video that reveals one of the red flags of the disorder, being an erratic driver.

"Most people, when they tell the story backwards of a narcissistic relationship, are able to see the red flags very clearly,” Dr. Ramani said in her video. “However, seeing them forwards isn't hard. But if you see them too late, it means you've already been through the narcissistic relationship, you're devastated and have likely wasted a lot of time."

Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a licensed clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, Professor Emerita of Psychology at California State University and author of several books, including “Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving A Relationship with a Narcissist.”

Keep ReadingShow less
www.youtube.com

Man hailed 'Highway Hero' for running across four lanes of traffic

Holy cow, Bat Man! You're always supposed to be aware of other vehicles when you're driving but what do you do when you notice someone has lost consciousness while speeding down the highway?

It's a scenario that no one wants to see play out, but for Adolfo Molina, the scenario became reality and he didn't hesitate to spring into action. Molina was driving down the highway when he spotted a woman in a blue car who lost consciousness as her car careened down the shoulder of the highway. The concerned driver quickly pulled over in order to attempt to rescue the woman.

But there was a problem, he had to cross four lanes of traffic on the highway just to make it to the woman's still moving car. That obstacle didn't stop him. Molina sprinted across the highway, crossing right in front of a black pick up truck before running at full speed to attempt to open the woman's door and stop her car.

Keep ReadingShow less