KEENE SENIOR CENTER
70 Court Street
Keene, NH 03431
Meet Mona Stefflre,
a Senior Center Member
Mona, tell me about your childhood and your experiences in school:
I was born in a women’s hospital in New York City in 1932, and I am the eldest of four children. When I was a baby, I was taken across the ocean to Scotland, where my mother and aunt came from. We stayed there for a few years, but eventually came back home and settled in Long Island. My father was in the military; therefore, we moved around often. My brother and I were at a matinee one afternoon when the movie stopped and the screen read, “All military personnel report to their base promptly.” My dad, who had been at West Point and had a military background, was already packing when we got home from the movie. He was headed for Washington DC, and this is where our family moved to when I was nine. After our arrival in Maryland, I went to a very small school from fourth to sixth grade, then junior high. When the war was over, in the summer of 1946, my family moved to the West Coast. I graduated from high school in Los Angeles. I was fortunate to attend a school that was very diverse. I started college at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), but did not stay long because I wanted to take a year off.
Please tell me about your family:
I met my husband outside of Westchester, California when we were on a double date. We hit it off because we were both theatre arts majors; therefore, we had a lot in common. He was in the army from the 1951 to 1954 and we were wed in January of 1956. Together we had three children, one girl and two boys. Our first child was born in Oregon, the next one in Boston, and the last one in California. In 1963, we relocated to Gilford, Connecticut. Realizing that we wanted our kids to be around their grandparents, we moved back to Southern California in 1965. We spent a few summers in Mexico while my husband was doing anthropology field work.
Mona, tell me about the career you pursued:
I pursued several different careers. I started off doing odd jobs, and when I was fifteen I wrapped presents for a local store around the holidays. When I left UCLA, I worked for The May Company, a store similar to Macys and JC Penney. I started as a model and then was promoted to Junior Executive in training, and stayed with them for about three years. Then I worked for White Stag Wholesale in Portland, Oregon. Following this I worked for Filenes, another department store. I did that until my husband suggested I stop working and take care of the family. My husband did market research and owned his own firm. I worked for him and the firm for a number of years and was able to do so from home. I did that until we got divorced in 1974. After the divorce, I worked in the x-ray department in California, and then worked for the Department of Social Services.
How did you end up in Keene, and what do you like about the Center?
I moved here in November of 2012 because my daughter lives here. I joined the Senior Center in March of 2013. The Center is very welcoming and offers a variety of activities that are suitable for almost everyone. It has an air of vitality about it that comes with new experiences and new programs all the time. The Center is inviting and has been recently aesthetically improved. It is nice because I feel right at home, and enjoy warm conversations with the other members. I really enjoy volunteering, but because of my macular degeneration I am limited to what I can do. I do attend the Book Club and Qigong programs that the Center provides.