Lend-A-Hand Senior Writing Project
Introductions: from Sherri
Came to Tucson in 1952, had rheumatic fever was at St. Mary’s. May have had Betty Morphew’s husband as a teacher at Tucson High! Was born in 1938.
Ruth and her husband were in real estate, then after retirement, Ruth became bored. Decided to get a job with the government “just for fun, just for a short time, not to be a career.” She worked in an integrated office. Hadn’t worked with blacks prior to that time. Fun job.
Her spinning wheel story: there was a custom in the old days to give a daughter a spinning wheel upon her marriage. If you were rich you gave daughter spinning wheel with big wheel, if poor, a small wheel. According to the historical society back east, the spinning wheel Ruth has is not Amish. She’s bringing the report from them to review with Sherri Burke.
Said “Hey you!” will do. From Minnesota went to Colorado to teach, then to AZ, then Alaska, then back to AZ taught in TUSD for 35 years. She met many people who had nothing, but were happy. After retirement, she took care of her mother, who had Alzheimer’s, for 8 years. After her mother passed, her neighbors had trouble, so Betty and her husband cared for them as well. The wife was bed ridden and the husband had Alzheimers. Betty lost her own husband, and is still working through the loss. She has two dogs who are the most important things in her life right now. She has a daughter who travels the world and has lived with many very poor people. Lend a Hand has been helpful to Betty because someone drops in once a week at her home in Winterhaven. Betty has kept a journal since HS, but she didn’t keep her journals. She said even on days when she had nothing to write about or didn’t feel like writing, she would always start the journal entry out with something good, even if it was just “the sun came up today.”
From Puerto Rico, Juanita used to live in NW Tucson, then moved to Rita Ranch for two years. Now Juanita lives on Limberlost to be close to the restaurant she just bought, La Rancherita. Her business has only been open for one year. She’s had lots of people asking for food, and feels like they give away more than they sell. She finds there are a lot of people in need. Wants to know what Lend a Hand does to see if there’s some way she can help.
Regrets not writing down the little sayings of her mother and father. Lost her 94 year old mother last year. Had surgery 5 days after her mother, so hasn’t had a lot positive in the last year. Is still going through her mother’s estate. Has been journaling since 1970, but recently got rid of all her journals. Is letting go of the past.
Facilitating the Senior Writing Group. Lesley is a semi-retired English teacher and fellow of the Southern Arizona Writing Project. Lesley has two adult children and one beautiful, eight-year-old grandchild.
Assisting with the writing group. Sherri joined the group because she was looking forward to hearing people’s stories. She volunteers with Lend a Hand to give something back to her community. She used to have an antique store in Casa Grande many years ago. Today she does living history (aka: historical presentations in costume) one weekend per month at La Posta Quemada Ranch, the museum at Colossal Cave Park. She also does a lot of costuming.