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.
Helen’s Story (Resident of Laurelwood at The Pinehills)
What is your name:
What are the names of your parents and brothers and sisters?
My parents were Louise and Frederick and I’m an only child.
How did your parents choose your name? Does it have a special meaning? Did you have any nicknames?
I was named after my maternal aunt Anita and my maternal cousin Helen and my middle name is my mothers maiden name.
When and where were you born?
I was born in Fresno, California in March.
What kinds of things did your family do together when you were young?
We celebrated birthdays and holidays, Christmas in particular.
What did you love to do with your friends?
My activities varied depending on what time of life I was in. In collage I was president of my sorority. When I was married we played bridge games with other couples. In the middle years I assisted with Leagues and Hollywood Bowl- Symphony meetings and social events. Once I retired I enjoyed dinner clubs, bridge, swimming and tennis. In my older age I enjoy bridge and social gatherings.
What schools did you attend? What were your favorite subjects?
I was Fresno High School valedictorian and attended the University of California Berkeley and graduated with honors.
If married, what is/was your husband’s name? How did he propose?
My husbands name is Justin and we dated long distance for a while while he was in the Army at Fort Ord.
What are your children’s names?
I have a son and daughter, Thornton and Deborah.
What are some special memories you have about your children?
My daughter was very popular in high school. One year on Christmas afternoon we had her ex-boyfriend and her present boy friend in the family room. A new male friend arrived at the door with a gift and she would not even invite him in because of the circumstances. It was very awkward.
Where have you lived?
I have lived in the Phillippine Islands, Japan, California, Connecticut and now Massachusetts.
Have you had jobs? Who did you work for and what did you do?
After college I worked in a large department store (in Oakland, California) in the Personnel Department as Training Director with a staff of four ex teachers and secretaries. I later taught high school English for fourteen years in California, Missouri and Connecticut.
What are your hidden talents?
An astute sense of degrees of color. I always had to have special paint colors selected for the rooms in my homes
What did you do to get through the difficult times in your life?
Changed the environment or background.
Do you have holiday traditions? What do you do for the holidays?
We decorate elaborately inside and out for Christmas. I had special decorations for all holidays such as Valentines, Easter and Thanksgiving. Now there are different wreaths on my door all year round.
What are some of your favorite things? Favorite colors? Favorite flowers? Favorite books? Favorite songs? Favorite foods? Favorite pets?
My favorite colors are light and dark blue, white and all pastels. I like interior decorating, arranging artificial flowers for the house, dressing meticulously, and entertaining in my house. My favorite books are autobiographies.
What are some personal experiences that have especially touched your heart?
My daughter and husband did a surprise party for our thirtieth anniversary and brought all the food and accompaniments from our home town. There were ten guests and it was a total surprise . My other memorable moment was my daughters pleasure in wearing her new dress for the first day of kindergarten. I wish I could give every little girl a new dress for the first day.
What are your favorite things to do now?
I like to play bridge often and attend all planned lectures and functions.
What are you favorite experiences to partake in at Laurelwood at The Pinehills?
Joint bridge groups and lectures on law, significant current events, etc.
What do you hope for your children and grandchildren?
Good health and an active, interesting life here in the United States and the world, which is so available by travel in their generation.
What is your biggest piece of advice?
Keep active in your community and socially.
Sum your personality up in 1 word?