Brave fighter

Death stole her father when she was 12
And the oldest of 5 kids
The telephone operator after school
Valedictorian of her high school class
One of two who found a job after state teachers college in 1931
Her college debts not quite paid off 5 years later
Married a strong and gentle man at 26
A mother at 27 and 28
Seamstress, gardener, canner, Sunday School superintendent
Back teaching at 37 when her husband's back pain kept him from work
A diabetic at 51
Loved to walk 2 or 3 miles daily
A silver anniversary at 52
They returned to Tuolumne Meadows many summers
A grandmother at 53
Lost a daughter at 55
Nearly was lost herself in her grief
Another grandson at 60 and both of them retired
Took the 1st 6 week vacation ever
Began to knit sweaters, bake bread, and be president of the church women
Delivered Meals on Wheels
Was always glad to babysit that grandson
Kept him overnight or 5 weeks
And whenever he was sick
Got mugged in her own driveway after Church one Sunday night
It took Daddy's nursing and the doctor's care several years to recover
Celebrated her Golden Anniversary at 76
Life threatening surgeries on her husband when she was 81
A long period of his being the more fragile one
Disregard for her own health
A perforated ulcer at 82
Not expected to survive the surgery
Not expected to recover
But the doctors were wrong
She fought back stubbornly
Determined to go back home
Widowed during that year at Pilgrim Place Health Center
Surrounded by good and loving care
A willing bank account and an outstanding care giver
She returned to her home
The home her husband had built in 1952
And had maintained forty-some years
It pleased her greatly to be there, surrounded by memories

There she is today
Working on getting over a cold and two falls in the night
Wanting to go up in a hot air balloon for her 85th birthday.

Karen Chapman Lenz 2-3-96