KEENE SENIOR CENTER
70 Court Street
Keene, NH 03431
Meet Senior Center Member, Alice Nelson!
Alice, where were you born and tell me about your life growing up.
I was born in LaSalle, Illinois in 1933. My family, mother, father and 3 siblings moved to Keene when I was just two years old. In 1951 I graduated from Keene High School. I had never been on a date in my life, until I met my husband, who I met through my sister-in-law. We were married a week after my high school graduation.
What was life like after you graduated high school?
Immediately after graduation, I was planning my wedding. We wanted a simple wedding, which was why my husband and I wed at the Methodist Church in Keene. Being raised around the depression time I knew how to live simply and had a lovely wedding. We had three biological daughters, but decided to adopt two sons. Adoption had a big impact on my life, my mother was adopted as was husband’s mother. I thought it was remarkable to be able to improve someone else’s life through adoption. Our first son was adopted at five and half years old from Korea. Soon after that we adopted our youngest son when he was just one from Pittsburgh, PA. My husband’s job effected where we lived and required moving a few times. We lived in Nashua, NH, Pittsburgh, PA, Connecticut, and Keene, NH.
Alice, tell me a little about your career and your professional life.
My priority was raising my family and instilling good values. When we had to uproot to a new location, the first thing we did upon arrival was to find a church. Faith and belief was important to our family. I was also a nurse and received my nursing degree when I was 51 years old. Ironically, my son graduated from high school that same year. I worked in a nursing home in Connecticut where I cared for my favorite patient, my mother. I retired from nursing when I was 62, but still used my skills from nursing to care for my husband who was ill. Eventually, I moved back to Keene.
Describe your experiences with assisted living facilities Alice.
My first facility, that I lived in, was at Langdon Place, I went there to recover from leg surgery. I found it challenging because I wanted to plan and make my own meals, and eat on my own schedule. Getting on the right exercise regimen was also something I struggled with. Later I relocated to Woodward Home, another assisted living facility. I liked this location because it was within walking distance to the Senior Center. I stayed there a little over a year, but recently moved to Meadow Road in Keene to live independently. My transition from assisted living to independent living, although a little backwards, was the best decision for me. I am able to eat meals at my own pace, and eat the meals of my choice. It is ironic because I once had a home with my husband, 3 daughters and 2 sons on this same street. I enjoy living more independently, if needed I do have help from my children. With access to the Friendly Bus I have transportation to the Senior Center and in the summer I walk.
So I hear you volunteer at the Senior Center, please tell me a little about your experience.
I became involved with the Center because my friends suggest I check it out. I initially came for the exercise program Age in Motion 1. Pegg Monahan, the Executive Director, asked me if I was interested in volunteering. At first, I thought it would be too much responsibility for me, but after giving it a try I realized volunteering was the right thing for me to do. The beauty of volunteering is that it is set to your schedule, it is a stress-free in an easygoing atmosphere. I started by volunteering in the front office, but then found an interest in the Thrift Shop. I really enjoy the Thrift Shop because I get to meet people from all different walks of life.
What do you like about volunteering Alice?
I have been a volunteer as long as I have been a parent. When my kids were growing up, I was an active volunteer with their schools, through the Parent Teacher Association and other organizations. I like volunteering at the Center because everyone here is so supportive. It’s a positive and friendly environment. Often times, you can come across people who are judgmental, but at the Center everyone is more than welcoming. I am usually at the Thrift Shop on Tuesdays.
Tell me what you are most proud of.
I am most proud of my family. My husband and I raised 5 beautiful children, resulting in 6 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. My biggest and best accomplishment is my family.
Keene Senior Center 2013