In 2008, shortly after I started at Otterbein, I was very fortunate to meet Mrs. Haidet. This was before she was a centurion! Since then, each time I visited the Cincinnati area, I tried to get together with this lovely lady. We usually met in her living room, overlooking her bountiful plants, including a poinsettia that I had previously given her.
Anna has a smile that is contagious and she is always cheerful when we meet. We have talked about her love for baseball and of how proud she is of her two sons and grandchildren. In fact, no subject is off limits. We often manage to cover politics and of course her fond memories of Otterbein. Anna always asks about my daughter, Hannah, and she is genuinely interested in my response. I should not be surprised by this - that is just who she is.
Anna inspires me to take on life's obstacles with a smile. During her long life she has seen many family members and friends pass on. Despite her personal losses, she continues to shine. Each visit she would ask me about surviving classmates - and she always did this with a snicker. I was always happy to report the count and names. Unfortunately, the list now reveals only two.
Anna lived through the Great Depression. She shared a memory of how the banks had frozen accounts and she was unable to access the funds needed to begin her freshman year at Otterbein. Luckily, Anna was able to enroll the following fall, and the rest is history.
Through it all, and despite the fact that Anna is legally blind, she continues to follow and support her alma mater. Using her desktop magnifying machine (CCTV) she reads her mail and writes her annual check to the The Otterbein FUND. In addition, she has included an Otterbein scholarship in her estate plans. We are blessed by her friendship and generosity.
Anna currently lives in Crown Point, IN. I recently called her to share the news that she is our oldest living Joanne Van Sant member and we wanted to feature her in our Newsletter and her photo in Towers. I could hear the delight in her voice, and could picture her smile. I took joy in knowing that Otterbein was able to honor someone who has given so much.