Loli Stams

Tell us about your work.
After being widowed at 26 with two young children, I decided to go back to school for health care administration. I started out in community work and learned a lot about human nature. From there I became assistant to the director of community relations, and after that gradually worked my way up the career ladder.
Eventually, I became the administrator of a department in a hospital in the South Bronx. I am a true believer that I have a responsibility to people who are ethnically diverse or impoverished. They need health care as good as what I receive in my life as a middle class American. I taught my staff that if they were black, Latina, or Latino, not to treat their ethnically diverse patients any less than they would want to be treated themselves. And that was a challenge, because the statistics say that very often the hardest people on any minority are other members of that minority group. It was a big challenge, but I overcame it, partly by hiring supervisors that shared that philosophy. As difficult as that was, and it was like fighting uphill, it was the most rewarding work experience I’ve ever had, because I was doing the right thing and giving back to my community.
Tell us about your family.
I have four children: two who I birthed and two who I inherited from my second husband, Paul. His kids are the same ages as mine. We have three sons and a daughter, all of whom are grown. Our oldest son, Eric, lives in Wales teaching professional drummers. Our daughter, Lisa, is an administrator in an architectural firm in NYC. Our next son, Stephen, was in the Coast Guard for 20 years and is about to be the superintendent of an MTA bus terminal. And our youngest son, Jamie, works for a utility company in NYC. We also love their spouses and our wonderful grandchildren.
My husband, Paul, is my best friend, and one of the nicest people I know. We’ve known each other for a very long time. My first husband and I lived in the same building as Paul and his first wife. After I was widowed and moved away, I ran into him again. He was about to be divorced and we started going out.
He asked me to marry him a few times, but I said no. I didn’t want to get married again. So we lived together for a few years. The last time he asked me to marry him, he said, “Loli, what if I don’t ask you again?” Son of a gun! I had to think about that! So I thought about it: Was I willing to have him walk away from me? I mean, he asked me to marry him, he said he loved me, but would he really walk away? I didn’t know. So I said yes.
Tell us about a hobby you have.
I don’t consider this a hobby, but I love to paint and draw. I have a studio, I take classes, I exhibit – all I can say is I love it. It expresses who I am. I’m not quite sure how I do it. When I start creating art, it takes on a life of its own. Then I step back and say, oh wow, I like that. I paint to classical music and have the TV on. I just love it.
Describe a highlight of your life.
Graduating college. I was 40 years old, had a powerful daytime job, four kids, a home, and a husband. So I went to school at night with a motto: Three credits a term until I’m done. And it took me 20 years. I graduated with honors. If you graduate cum laude you are afforded extra acknowledgement, and to stand with the two dozen people who were in that category was a real honor. Paul gave me a graduation party. It was really sweet. I was so proud. It’s never too late.
Describe a tragedy/struggle of your life.
My biggest struggle has been becoming ill 10 years ago to the point that it disabled me, and learning to cope with that. Self-image changes, relationships change. Acceptance is a very difficult thing when you’re told you are disabled. Applying for social security disability was traumatic for me. Acknowledging that it depressed me and speaking to my doctor was also difficult. And then add to that all the physical pain.
I went to a wonderful pain management psychologist who taught me that my life is a circle, and what I put in that circle is all up to me. Is that circle called Loli all about pain? Or is there a spiritual side, a family side, a joyful side, and then a section that’s pain? How much does it overtake the other parts? But still it has taken me 10 years to get here.
How you handle the health concerns is what really matters. Right now I’m handling them better than I ever have. That’s been our toughest challenge, though, for both Paul and me. He’s my caretaker. He’s gentle when he has to be, but as a gym teacher, he’s tough. “Don’t say you can’t do it when you can, Loli,” he says. “Don’t wimp out on me.”
Describe a big surprise of your life.
The children gave us a 25th wedding anniversary celebration at the Beekman Hotel in Manhattan. But what they did was they sent us on a wild goose chase. Paul and I both do crosswords, so they developed a crossword and we had to guess the answers. And the answers took us to four locations in Manhattan.
The first was a bar in the Village. We thought they were going to meet us there, so we were sitting there having a drink and appetizers, and our son’s friend came in and handed us an envelope. We opened it, and there was the clue we had to solve which took us to the next spot: a garage.
Our kids weren’t there, though, so we asked the garage attendant if he knew what this was about. And he handed us an envelope! We kept following the clues until we wound up in a bar in Grand Central. And here come our four kids – not their spouses, just our children – and we all sat around the table, had a drink, and reminisced. It was absolutely fabulous.
We all piled into one car and they took us to dinner, and who was waiting for us but the in-laws and grandchildren. We had dinner and thought that was it. It was the best ever.
But as we were getting ready to leave, our daughter suggested we have drinks on the terrace. Eighty of our friends were there! There was a piano player and one of our friends, a jazz singer, was singing. When all was said and done our daughter handed us a key. They had gotten us a suite in the hotel. Very cool!
Describe a dream you have for your future.
To have the time on earth to do the things on my bucket list. I’d like to go to the Galapagos Islands, visit the Great Wall, hang glide, and take off the excess weight I’ve put on in the last couple of years due to my inability to exercise. I want us to continue to travel. But I think the best dream I have is that I would want the Creator to give me the gift of dying quickly. I do not want to vegetate in illness. I don’t want to be a burden to my family.
Describe a fear you have for your future.
Becoming incapacitated. I couldn’t imagine existing without being able to use my mind.
Here’s your chance to sound off.
If you could give one public service announcement or word of advice to the public at large, what would it be?
Live your dream. Everyone has dreams. Fulfillment is an individual act. Externally you can fulfill me just so far, but joy comes from within. If I complete a painting, I get joy from that completion. If I make a meal for friends I get joy from breaking bread with them. There are certain things you can’t change, but there are things you can change, too.
When everything is quiet around you, what do you wish for?
For my mother, it was to get her GED. She was 63 when she finished it and we were so proud of her. For someone else it might be to explore their artistic side. Or to have a child. Who knows what people desire? So if you can, try to make that dream come true.

Related Posts

dewi88 cuanslot dragon77 cuan138 enterslots rajacuan megahoki88 ajaib88 warung168 fit188 pusatwin pusatwin slot tambang88 mahkota88 slot99 emas138