I See First Times

Written by Cassie Mordini
    Wednesday, 10 December 2014
I See First Times

"I guess I'll just have to suck it up," she chuckled, trying to be a good sport. "Well, I know George would love it, and so would my daughter and son-in-law who are visiting from out of town," she explained to me.




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Reluctantly, Pat agreed to join us for a canoe ride down the Milwaukee River this summer. Not knowing how to swim and experiencing some traumatic scares involving water at an early, impressionable age, it was no wonder she was hesitant. But as our group, including four 90-somethings and six canoes shoved off from the dock, Pat was sitting back in her special duffer seat, relaxed and smiling.


 Pat (middle) enjoying the canoe ride

Our boats played leap-frog as we leisurely drifted down river. Pat waved to her husband George in one boat, her daughter and son-in-law in another, and even posed for a picture or two. As we took in a different kind of city landscape from the waterway, she shared with me memories of Milwaukee's past. The buildings glistened in the sunlight, and you could hear the soft lapping of the calm water along the banks. It was a nearly perfect summer day, and we were all thrilled to be spending it on the river, together. Even Pat felt the same.

I wondered, for someone so fearful of the water, what finally, after 91 years made her decide to give it a try? And how could she have so much fun? The difference this time was that Pat was surrounded by family, friends, peers, encouragement and support, and she felt safe. Sometimes, our first times don't come until later in life, but they are not one bit less exciting.

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Cassie Mordini

Cassie Mordini

Perhaps naively, Cassie thought that every child grew up playing in the woods and building forts like she did. After a move to the city had her longing for outdoor adventure, she realized that urban kids have a very different perception of nature. And something like serendipity, Cassie found the Urban Ecology Center and is delighted by her role as the Donor Relations Manager to share her passion for the outdoors with others and help the Center provide opportunities for people to discover nature in the city.


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