Keith Davidson, a 94-year-old retired district court judge lost Evy, his dear wife of 66 years in April 2016. The feeling of grief and loss was overwhelming.
"You just can't imagine what it's like," he said. "You cry a lot. That's just the way it is because she's not here," he told "Boyd Huppert's Land of 10,000 Stories," in a story that first appeared in 2017.
After living in a house that felt far too quiet for over a year, he decided to open his home to the kids of the neighborhood by building a pool. Davidson lives in the small town of Morris, Minnesota where there is no place for the community to swim.
"This spring when I saw him marking the yard, I told my husband, he's really going to put a pool in his backyard," his neighbor Jessica Huebner said. Davidson has led an active life, he's a bass and tuba player with area musical organizations and was a radio operator for the Army in World War II.
Davidson went all out with his pool, it's 32 feet long, 16-feet wide, and nine feet deep under the diving board, a pretty big undertaking for a man in his 90s.
94-year-old retired judge puts in pool for neighborhood kids www.youtube.com
After the pool was completed in July 2017, neighborhood families flocked to Davidson's backyard. "I knew they'd come," Davison said, laughing.
"Now we're going to be here every day," said Jaime Mundal, a neighborhood mom.
The judge has three children, but no grandchildren. So the young company is more than welcome. His pool rules require a parent or grandparent to be present when children are swimming.
"You kind of adopted our whole neighborhood of kids, these are your grandkids," Huebner told Davidson. "It's him spreading joy throughout our neighborhood for these kids," Huebner told "10,000 Stories."
Now, instead of being stuck in the house on sunny afternoons, Davidson watches the kids splash around his yard, knocking around volleyballs, and sucking down fruit punch.
He takes it all in from his lawn chair.
"I'm not sitting by myself looking at the walls," he smiled. Besides, Davison asks, "What else would you think of doing where you could have a whole bunch of kids over every afternoon?"
However, the kids aren't the only ones having fun at Davidson's house. He likes to jump in for a dip himself from time to time.
Davidson's decision to open his home to the community at the age of 94 was a wonderful way for him to help his neighbors as well as himself. Grief experts say that one of the best ways for widows and widowers to overcome the tremendous feeling of loss is to get back into enjoying life by socializing and spending time with people who share the same hobbies.
Hanging around with children all day is also a great way for a nonagenarian to stay young.
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