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.
Florence’s Story (Resident of Autumn Glen)
What is your name?
What are the names of your parents and brothers and sisters?
My mothers name was Altina and my father’s name was Francisco. I have one sister, name Constance (Connie).
How did your parents choose your name? Does it have a special meaning? Did you have any nicknames?
I’m not sure how my parents chose to name my or my sister. I think it was just what they preferred with common names at the time. I did have a few nicknames. Most people, even today, call me “Flo.” My friends and family also called me “Florenza.”
When and where were you born?
I was born in New Bedford. I’m not sure if I was born at home or in a hospital, but it was November 1925.
What kinds of things did your family do together when you were young?
When I was growing up, my family would spend time together around the house. We had a three-family house, and my family (aunts and cousins) lived in the house as well. We used to gather and listen to my father, or my aunt would tell stories that they had been told, or of things that had done throughout their lives. I also used to love sewing and crafting with my mother.
What did you love to do with your friends?
I used to go to the movies with my friends. And also to sit on the front porch and watch the boys go by! We would laugh and whisper to each other, “oh look at that one!”
What schools did you attend? What were your favorite subjects?
I went to Abraham Primary School, then Roosevelt Junior High School, and New Bedford High School. My favorite subjects were Math, English, and Physical Education - boy did I love gym class.
If married, what is/was your spouses name? How did they propose?
My husband’s name was Manuel. His proposal was nothing fancy. I had been seeing him kind of on the side, you know, under the radar. The way he proposed was he asked my mother and father if he could continue to see me. They said that he could continue to see me, and that was my engagement, we had my parents' blessing.
What are your children’s names?
I have one child, a boy. His name is Steven.
What are some special memories you have about your children?
Some special memories about Steven include many of his achievements. Like when he won his tennis championship in high school, and when he graduated from college. Also, seeing him get married.
Where have you lived?
I lived in New Bedford all my life, until I came to Autumn Glen.
Have you had jobs? Who did you work for and what did you do?
I had a few jobs. My first job was at the 5 & 10 in downtown New Bedford. I worked at Creskies, the shirt factory, and the cafeteria at New Bedford High School (I worked my way up to assistant cook).
What are your hidden talents?
Some of my hidden talents are making flower arrangements, cooking and sewing. I am quite crafty. When we have events here, I always put together a little sign (Patriots/Red Sox signs!)
What did you do to get through the difficult times in your life?
To get through hard times during my life I would pray and pray and pray some more. And believe me, I prayed a lot!
Do you have holiday traditions? What do you do for the holidays?
We have always had holiday traditions. When I was a child my mother, sister and I would decorate, and I would play rollers on the piano. My mom would cook and set up, and the family would gather around and spend time together.
What are some of your favorite things?
My favorite thing is just to have fun. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing as long as I’m having fun! I really enjoy cooking, sewing, a small gathering to talk and laugh with others, and watching the Red Sox and Patriots.
Flower- rose, the peace rose
Book- books of all kinds
Song- I love songs, anything with a good beat.
Pet- my son’s dog, Gizmo.
What are some personal experiences that have especially touched your heart?
Some personal experiences that touched my heart was the day I had my son. Also, when we heard that the war had ended, because that meant that everyone would be coming home!
What are your favorite things to do now?
My favorite things to do now are to make my posters and crafts, to have fun, and to cause a commotion with my friend Stella!
What are your favorite experiences to partake in at Autumn Glen?
One of my favorite things that I did at Autumn Glen at Dartmouth was the mock-wedding that we hosted with our residents, and the dress-up days.
What do you hope for your children and grandchildren?
I hope my children and grandchildren have fun, are successful, happy and healthy in their lives.
What is your biggest piece of advice?
My biggest piece of advice is to live in the moment happily, smile always and love immensely.
Sum up your personality in one word...
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