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70 & Sunny: Maddy and Theresa

Two San Diegans, decades apart, talk about helping others and who inspires them

By Erica Nichols | Photos by Sydney Valiente

70 & Sunny - Theresa and Maddy

70 & Sunny – Theresa and Maddy

Theresa Miles

79, Retired teacher of children with special needs, Ocean Beach

Tell me about something you’re proud of.

I was a teacher for 37 years. I taught high schoolers with behavioral challenges and preschoolers with special needs. Most of my career was spent doing something that hadn’t been done before—it was both challenging and exciting.

What was the greatest reward?

Seeing the children open up to me. The right for children with special needs to go to school didn’t come into being until the mid-’70s. I worked in a pilot program for California. I also helped with the development of legislation for these programs in the state.

Were you ready for retirement?

At the time, no. But once I did retire, I think I slept for three months straight!

How else do you spend your time now?

I’m looking forward to getting back into water aerobics at the Y. I’m also in the process of moving back into my home after a two-year remodel.

What are you most looking forward to once you’re moved in?

Taking care of my roses. I’ve made my home an oasis. I just keep telling myself, ‘You should be able to retire now.’

Is there a woman in your life who inspired you?

My mother. She raised 13 of us on a shoestring, though we were never aware. We all have graduate degrees. But her greatest accomplishment is that my siblings and I are all friends.

Madeleine “Maddy” Lane

9, Fourth Grader, Encinitas

Is there a woman in your life who inspires you?

My mom. She’s just so cool. She has her own dance company and when I watch her dance it’s amazing. I feel so happy—it’s just so moving.

Do you dance, too?

I like putting on some music and dancing around the studio on my own, sometimes. But I also like helping my mom run the swag booth at the

shows—sometimes I even get a tip!

You sound like you’re really helpful.

My brother and I also help the neighbor walk her dogs—we both have a soft heart for dogs. We have two of our own, Billy and Scooby. Billy and my brother, Miles, have such a strong bond.

Do you get along with your brother?

When he’s nice! We like to draw together and we get along super well on road trips.

Where have you guys been recently?

We went to the Grand Canyon this summer. It was so pretty, but it goes so far down. Whenever someone in our group got too close to the edge, I made sure they stepped back. It was making me nervous.

They’re lucky to have you looking out for them.

I just like everyone to stick together, so no one gets lost.

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