Elzibah Swan is a very proper widow who has lived in the same Boston house all her life, with a cook and a chauffeur. She has a well-established routine: library, book club, garden club, symphony. Then, shortly after a visit from her Chicago grandchildren, she discovers a spirit of independence on her 75th birthday.
Plucky Elzibah not only learns to swim, but eventually takes up water ballet and swims in the autumn ocean in a wet suit. Then she draws up plans for a little house by the sea, has it built, moves in and learns to cook, all the while writing to her grandchildren and planning for their next visit. Soft illustrations in colored pencil and watercolor portray elegant, white-haired Elzibah kneeling in her garden, playing Chinese checkers with the children, swimming at sunset and flipping pancakes in the air.
This gentle story shows that people are never too old to learn new skills or to cherish new adventures.