21, No. 8, Oct. 18, 2001
Traveling, golf and household
activities fill WahlfeldtÕs retirement
Forrest, Assistant Editor
by Bill Wiegand
| How did she find
time to work? Irene
Wahlfeldt retired from the English department after working
at the UI for 30 years.
Retiree Irene Wahlfeldt
has been keeping so busy during her retirement, she doesnt understand
how she ever found time to work.
A 30-year employee of the university, Wahlfeldt retired in January from
the English department. She had been the manager in the department business
office since 1984.
Although she came back for a month this spring to help the Graduate
College with a Big Ten conference, Wahlfeldt was glad the position was
short-term. After a month, Wahlfeldt was ready to return to her retired
life and all the activities she had had little time for while working.
With no job taking up her weekday hours, Wahlfeldts had more time
for household chores such as landscaping the yard, tending her perennial
flowers, painting inside the house and helping out her elderly parents,
who live nearby.
"I dont know how I ever had time to work," Wahlfeldt
said. "But you put yourself in a different gear after you retire.
Before everything was just on a pretty strict schedule. So, all of a
sudden you find that you can go at your own pace."
Now, she no longer keeps a pad of paper next to the bed to jot notes
about things to be done the following day as she did when she was working.
Since her retirement, Wahlfeldt has enjoyed reading books that have
been in her collection yet remained unread for several years, such as
Irving Wallaces "The Seventh Secret," a novel about
Adolf Hitler and mistress Eva Braun.
Retirement for Wahlfeldt means more time to have fun. She plays the
piano and an electronic keyboard, mainly singing for her own enjoyment
but also performing in a choir at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Urbana.
An avid golfer, Wahlfeldt spent the summer playing in a womens
league once or twice a week on the orange course at the UI golf course,
Savoy. Although she has belonged to the league for four years, it was
difficult for her to squeeze in time to play while working. Next season,
she has agreed to co-chair the league.
Wahlfeldt and her husband, Fred, who retired from Printing Services
at the university four years ago, also like to take their 8- and 11-year-old
granddaughters tubing on Clinton Lake with the 19-foot ski boat they
bought two summers ago. For the first time in five or six years, Wahlfeldt
also went water skiing this summer.
Their dual retirement has also given the Wahlfeldts more time for traveling.
As is their custom, they spent the month of February at a rented condo
in Fort Myers, Fla., in addition to traveling to Philadelphia, Seattle
The Wahlfeldts were in the Seattle area, visiting the nearby city of
Bellingham and the San Juan Islands when the Sept. 11 terrorist hijackings
occurred. The subsequent air traffic shutdown delayed the Wahlfeldts
return by four days, stranding them in Seattle for two days, then in
Denver another day. Flight cancellations also forced them to detour
to Minneapolis instead of Milwaukee. Once back home in Urbana, the Wahlfeldts
then had to travel to Indianapolis to retrieve their car from the airport
"That was kind of a frightening time for me," Wahlfeldt said,
"because Im not a seasoned flier anyway, although weve
flown a lot of places. Id just as soon get in the car and go somewhere.
We were the first flight out of Seattle on Friday morning for United
Airlines, and that was a pretty somber flight. The stewardesses seemed
kind of fearful, and the passengers definitely [were]."
Despite that experience, the Wahlfeldts are considering another trip
soon, although they have not settled on a destination yet. Wahlfeldt
said shed like to go east and see the fall foliage.
Wahlfeldt said she knows her neighbors better now because she has more
time to chat when she sees them. Routine activities such as shopping
for groceries and working out at Golds Gym, Urbana, are more enjoyable
now too because she can do them during daytime hours when places arent
as crowded. The only drawback Wahlfeldt seems to have found to her retirement
thus far is that shes winding up on more church committees.
"People ask me, Arent you going to back to work?
" Wahlfeldt said. "Theres got to be more to life than
working all the time. Maybe Ill be one of those who, hopefully,
will have a whole nother retired life."