Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Joyce M. Seeman. I turned 85 on February 3, 2016. I was born at home on Amsterdam Road in Manhattan, MT, the youngest of six kids. I have lived in Manhattan most of my life. I went through school here and graduated in May 1948 and went to work at the Manhattan Bank the next Monday. Other than two years at Security Bank in Bozeman, I worked for the Manhattan Bank for over 40 years, the last 18 as Assistant Cashier. My dad and mom came to Manhattan in 1912; he was a dentist. I live next door to the house my parents bought here in 1939 when I was 8. My husband, Gordon, and I preferred to raise our two children here. We married in December 1951 and had a daughter, Debbie, and a son, Mark. We were married for 58 years before my husband, Gordon, passed away. I am happy to be a Manhattan native.
Tell us about a woman who you admire.
Mother Theresa – she truly was a saint.
What is one of your favorite quotes?
“Love is an act of endless forgiveness.” – Father Kavanagh of the Mitford book series
Do you have a favorite book that you keep coming back to?
I enjoy reading the Mitford Series by Jan Karon. It’s down to earth and you can almost see the people and by the way they talk, they seem so real. I grew up in the Episcopal Church and so many of the prayers in the books are familiar to me.
Tell us about some of the places you have traveled.
I have always loved to travel and my husband did too. Sometimes couples don’t agree on how much to travel, but we did.
We traveled to Australia and New Zealand and while there we were able to visit a family that my older brother, Phil, had visited for R&R during WWII. We also went to Florence, Italy, and the surrounding area. On this trip, we visited the spot where my brother, Dave, fought and received a Silver Star during a battle in WWII. He was with us on that trip. We’ve been to Alaska many times; my husband always came home with a cooler full of fish. We’ve been on a Mississippi River boat cruise and a tour of New England in the fall. We visited Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and Disney World. We were in Washington, DC, for the ceremonial laying of the final stone on the Washington Cathedral. We’ve been to many states in the USA and Hawaii is always a favorite. We’ve been on many family trips and last year, I took a Hawaiian cruise with some of my girlfriends from my water aerobics class.
Who from your past has most influenced who you are today and how?
My Dad and Mom. They taught us honesty and to always keep our promises. Mom was a stay-at-home mom and always there for us.
Describe one of your happiest memories.
V-J Day, the end of the Pacific conflict in World War II. I knew my brother would be coming home! Also, when I heard I would be a grandmother (affectionately called Nana) three times and again a great-grandmother three times. I said, “Hallelujah!!”
What’s a piece of advice you’d give to a woman who is entering adulthood?
The old saying is, “To your own self be true” and “Let your inner self shine”. Live in the moment – it doesn’t help to worry about tomorrow. Also, “Age is just a number” – I’ve never gotten upset about turning a certain age because there’s no use trying to pretend!
How would your friends and family describe you?
I would hope loving and loyal – also very stubborn!
What do you value most in a friendship?
Thoughtfulness and kindness and a great sense of humor. Empathy.
When do you feel the most yourself?
When I am with my family and friends – they know me warts and all and I don’t have to pretend to be someone I am not.
Coffee or tea?
Chocolate or vanilla?
Introvert or extrovert?
Neither. It depends on the situation.
Rural or urban?
Dress up or dress down?
Dress down, but I like to dress up for special occasions.
Cats or dogs?
Sunrise or sunset?
Detailed or abstract?
Classic or modern?
Call or text?
Fiction or non-fiction?
Salty or Sweet?
What do you love most about Montana?
Big blue skies, especially in October. The mountains. Montana is truly “High, Wide and Handsome.”
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever experienced?
Saying goodbye to our daughter when she died of cancer at age 38. The hardest thing for a parent is the death of a beloved child.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My loving Savior and Lord. My Bible. My family and wonderful friends. I am also glad I lived at the time I did, even when we were poor as kids. We didn’t know we were poor; we were just a close, loving family.