In Her Words
Candid profiles of strength told by the women of Northbridge
Throughout the month of March we have collaborated to celebrate Women’s History Month and the rich history of the amazing women living in our communities. Their candid stories are brimming over with love, happiness, passion, family values and the markings of individuals who have truly lived well and loved life.
Claire’s Story (Resident of Ledgewood Bay)
What is your name?
What are the names of your parents and brothers and sisters?
My father’s name is Paul and my mother’s is Eva. I have three brothers, Paul, Richard and Roger.
How did your parents choose your name? Does it have a special meaning? Did you have any nicknames?
In Canada, during the time I was born, parents would often name their babies after different Catholic Saints. I was named after Saint Clare.
What I found when I looked up Saint Clare: Saint Clare of Assisi is an Italian saint and one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. She founded the Order of Poor Ladies, a monastic religious order for women in the Franciscan tradition, and wrote their Rule of Life, the first set of monastic guidelines known to have been written by a woman.
When and where were you born?
I was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Nashua, NH in July 1948
What kinds of things did your family do together when you were young?
My parents worked 2nd and 3rd shift and we didn’t have a lot of time to do things together. I mostly played independently, with my brothers, or with the neighborhood kids. We would swim, play hide and seek, build go karts, or just use our imaginations to have fun.
However, my father did enjoy taking me and my brothers ice fishing when he could. Even offering to bring any of the neighborhood kids who wanted to come. One time my brothers and I caught so many fish while my father was sleeping, we surrounded him in a circle of fish! I also remember my father being generous after fishing and going around the neighborhood to see if anyone would like any fish for dinner.
What did you love to do with your friends?
As I got older, I belonged to a running club called the, “Gate City Striders.” I met some wonderful people through this club. One of my favorite marathons was in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was a great deal of fun with local people playing music and hula dancers waiting for us at the finishing line. I also ran up Mt. Washington and Mt. Monadnock.
What schools did you attend? What were your favorite subjects?
I attended an all girls Catholic High School. At Louis High School in Nashua, I took business courses and was part of the Glee Club. My favorite subject was science.
Where have you lived?
I’ve lived in Alabama (1969), California (1970), Alaska (1971), and then moved to Nashua in 1976.
Have you had jobs? Who did you work for and what did you do?
I worked as a civil service employee in government contracting for 35 years. Then, I worked at BAE Systems for 13 years.
What are your hidden talents?
One of my hidden talents is teaching. I’ve taught folk art, ceramics, jewelry design classes from beginner to advanced. It brings me joy to teach people a new craft.
What did you do to get through the difficult times in your life?
Forged ahead. When times go tough, I had to be tougher. Crafting also helped immensely.
Do you have holiday traditions? What do you do for the holidays?
Easter was always a special holiday for me. I remember getting all dressed up with a new coat, shoes, hat, and gloves. Christmas was another fun holiday. Decorating the Christmas tree together with my family was special. We would visit my grandparents and eat roast turkey and Canadian pork pies.
What are some of your favorite things?
My favorite artists are Mozart and Andrea Bocelli. I could listen to the piano and violin all day. I enjoy collecting antiques. I like to garden and my favorite flowers are the ones that are unusual looking.
What are some personal experiences that have especially touched your heart?
Alaska. It is magical- breathtaking. I’d see moose in my backyard. Whales would be off in the distance. There are so many different cultures gathered together. I’ve been on a glacier. Ice fog would make the snow sparkle like a Christmas card. There may have only been daylight from 10 to 2, but it was never dark. The snow would reflect light. On a full moon night, you could see owls in the trees. It was serene.
What are your favorite things to do now?
Reading, movies, and physical therapy to get stronger and do the best that I can.
What are your favorite experiences to partake in at Ledgewood Bay?
I enjoy daily chronicles, book club, games, bowling and physical therapy.
What do you hope for future generations?
To take better care of the Earth than we did. Also, to know that they can trust people.
What is your biggest piece of advice?
Read. Be curious. Do something new every year. Learn. Live in the present and don’t live in the past.
Sum up your personality in one word...