Playing bocce ball, attending community festivities, and fitness walking are among her regular activities. Alma realized long ago that her lifestyle choices were instrumental to her independence. When she witnessed others around her being admitted into hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living communities she made it a point to lead an active lifestyle.
Alma’s survival instincts were learned much earlier in her life. This survivor of two world wars was born and raised in Italy. During the Second World War while Alma’s husband was flying missions in North Africa and Sicily for the Italian Air Force, one of her father’s cargo ships was sunk in the Strait of Otranto. Following Montgomery’s and Patton’s campaign of Sicily, Italy surrendered and many Italians joined forces with the Allies.
The Germans were not going to let Italy be taken without a fight and were diverted from the Russian front to the Italian mainland. When the German SS arrived in the town Alma was residing in, they warned that if there was any resistance, they would kill everyone.
A Waffen SS officer and his German shepherd took up residence with Alma and her children. The Germans fought fiercely and it took armies from many Allied nations to bring their final defeat in Italy.
Alma’s family was affluent and well to do. In 1947, they came to New York City on a troop carrier called the USS Grant with only $400 in their pockets. Just about all of their worldly possessions had been taken from them and they arrived as displaced persons. They pulled together, worked hard, and built successful lives for themselves.
Josh Quackenbush is the Life Enrichment Director at the Cambridge Village of Apex. With nearly a Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy, Josh designs stimulating activity and wellness programs to maximize the quality of life for seniors. When Josh is not busy promoting graceful aging, independence, and dignity for seniors you will find him spending his free time writing a book on the European Theater of World War II.