A fresh start

Everyone is familiar with the typical New Year’s resolution.

Some of us want to get rid of a bad habit and toss out those nasty cigarettes: forever this time.

Others seek personal improvement and vow to do more reading or take a college class.

Still others eye the closet that’s home to God-knows-what and determine that this is the year it gets their undivided attention.

Naperville resident Tammy Purgatorio’s hope for 2014 is a little more urgent.

“We just hope she’s got another two or three years,” she said of Jenny Stafford, Purgatorio’s mother and long-time resident of Peoria.

A recent gall bladder operation left Stafford still in pain and upon seeking medical attention, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and told she only had a few months to live.

Browsing with her daughter Sunday among the books for sale at the Nichols Library, Stafford, 75, talked quietly about her plans to undergo chemotherapy and prove the doctors wrong.

She has already booked a trip to Florida and is in the process of getting her bicycle ready for the new year.

“I’ve had a good life,” she said. “And I don’t intend for it to be over ... I’m not giving up.”

The only resolution that either mother or daughter wanted to honor this New Year was to be in good health, but Purgatorio suggested a New Year’s resolution that would serve everyone well.

“Don’t take life for granted,” she said. “Live each day.”

Thankfully, the rest of Naperville residents surveyed by The Sun weren’t facing the same life-threatening challenges as Stafford.

Ed Kaminski can boast that one of his previous resolutions, to quit smoking, had actually been a success, lessening the chances that he might soon face illness himself.

“I haven’t made one yet,” he said of 2014.

And he admitted that kicking the nicotine habit was one of the few New Year’s resolutions that he managed to honor, saying most of them worked out “not too well. But I’ll still probably make one this year ... probably something to do with my health.”

A popular theme of several Naperville residents was a focus on attempting to bring some order into their lives.

“I’m going to be more organized with the family pictures,” Jennifer Reckamp vowed.

She noted that with digital cameras making photography so much easier than before, there was really no excuse not to be more organized, and that she needed to clean out her computer’s hard drive anyway.

“At least take out the good pictures,” she said.

Jenny Selk also had order on her mind.

“I’m getting everything in order,” she said. “I’m going to organize my house.”

Her daughter Natalie, getting ready to start college, had her own ideas on priorities for the new year. “I want to get good grades,” she said.

Don Cheval hasn’t made a resolution yet, but he has a pretty good idea what form it will take.

“Yesterday I had a discussion about getting the family closer together,” he said, indicating that his resolution would likely involve his family.

“I’m pretty good at sticking with them,” he said.

Some, like author Doug Robson, are unimpressed with the concept of assigning special meaning to the beginning of the calendar year.

“There doesn’t seem to be much point,” he said. “Life begins right now.”

And then there are newcomers to America, like Eva Marinova, who came to Naperville from Bulgaria two years ago and doesn’t give a thought to New Year’s resolutions.

“We just go and celebrate,” she said. “Whatever comes up.”

Some Naperville public servants made resolutions and shared them with The Sun.

Planning and Zoning Commission Chairwoman Patty Gustin values simple pleasures and it is reflected in her resolution for the new year.

“Cherish the small things, the moments in time,” she said. “And love all.”

District 203 School Board Trustee Kristin Fitzgerald is ambitious.

“I have a number of goals for 2014, she said. “Most involve serving and advocating for others. However, I also hope to run the Naperville Half Marathon.”

Fitzgerald’s colleague Sue Crotty doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions.

“I just try to be a good person all the time,” she said.

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