"A Chat with Cat: Lifelong Learning Evermore"
film & essay by Isabella Diaz
"Cat & I"
About the Documentarian
"Cat and I"
AS A GIRL WHO HAS lived in a three-generation household since middle school, I was not nervous to meet an elderly person, but I was nervous to develop a relationship with one. I went back and forth with my mother, on the phone, whether this was an assignment I should get involved in as I just lost my grandmother less than eight months before. I was also hesitant as I had thought of the elderly as more conservative people.
However, meeting Catherine Dycus was a wonderful experience that taught me that nineteen- and ninety-six year olds can become great friends. She never commented on my obvious tattoos, but she did comment on my ethnicity. She noticed my last name upon first meeting my father and me.
This conversation about my Mexican background was not anything I thought it would be. Catherine ended up saying “I wish Donald Trump met more Mexicans like you and your father,” which made me feel fully accepted by her. It was very easy to become comfortable with her after this experience. Her impeccable memory has given me stories that I can hold on to forever and her genuine cheerful spirit brightened my mood every Tuesday we spent together. ◊
Catherine Dycus, or “Cat” to those she’s close with, grew up in the 1920’s, yet she preferred the parts of it that were not so roaring. As she vacationed every year on a farm in Kentucky she gained a sense of appreciation for the little things in life. While she is a retired music and history teacher now, she still has that sense of appreciation at ninety-six years old. What’s her secret to a long life? “There’s no secret, I was blessed… or cursed, depends who you’re talking to.”