By Mary Harmon
For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Carroll Gardens great-grandma Carolyn Meiselbach checked off an item from her wish list when she leapt from a plane 13,500 feet above upstate New York.
“I’ve had six strokes, I’ve beat cancer twice, and I’ve got osteoporosis, arthritis and diabetes,” says the feisty Ms. Meiselbach. “I served six years in the U.S. Navy [during the Korean War era] and I raised my two sons as a single mother. I figured if I could survive all that, letting someone push me from an airplane would be a piece of cake.”
Ms. Meiselbach, who grew up in Staten Island but has lived in Carroll Gardens for 24 years, added that many years ago, she took a course in parachuting, but because of problems with the class, she never jumped. For that reason, she says, it was always “unfinished business” for her.
She jumped at Skydive Ranch in Gardiner, N.Y., on April 24, 2013 at high noon, harnessed to a 60-year-old instructor. She has scheduled a repeat performance on her 80th birthday next October. So far, she has convinced 10 friends to sign up to jump on that date too.
Three of Meiselbach’s medical doctors, two sons, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild advised against the jump, but she was determined to experience a new adrenaline rush. Prior to the jump, Meiselbach’s greatest thrill was celebrating Mother’s Day each year zooming through Brooklyn on the back of her son’s motorcycle.
Meiselbach, who worked for the U.S. Army for many years after serving in the Navy, landed with barely a scratch. The only bruise was on her chest where the parachute harness rubbed against her pacemaker.
Mary Harmon, recently taught a writing class for seniors, “Writers of the Purple Sage,” in which Carolyn Meiselbach was a student.