Tuesday, October 16, 2012

An Elevator in the School House

An Elevator in the School House

a short story by PNA volunteer Charles Forsher inspired by the construction of the Blue Building elevator
Ten year old Susan Bower of Phinney Ridge had been one of those struck down, and had lain on top of her bed sweating profusely as well as being in a delirium. Mrs. Bower had been sitting in her grandmother’s rocking chair in the same room keeping a vigil, and unable to sleep reciting prayers for her daughters recovery all through the night before, the illness beyond the help of aspirin. 
Mrs. Bower was quite exhausted now, her Gibson Girl appearance frazzled, but having a confidence her daughter would live. Patience now was what the grown woman needed.  About the tenth hour of the morning little Susan Bower suddenly took two deep breaths and then opened her eyes. Her mom half shrieked and then loudly summoned ‘papa’.
The husband entered his daughter’s bedroom. He was a burly man, hair parted down the middle and sporting a handle bar mustache. He walked over to his daughter and looked down at her sternly, then to his wife, who was standing next to him.
“The fever’s broken, Ellie.” Mrs. Bower nodded, breathing a sigh of relief. A two car train of the Seattle Everett Interurban rumbled by outside on Greenwood Avenue.
 “Oh papa! It was so strange!”
 “What was strange my child.” Mr. Bower asked as he looked back down at his daughter, her voice softening his heart.
“I had gone back to the school house, where I knew I would be safe, and entered by the north side. Everything looked different in a way, much older somehow, and there was an elevator in the schoolhouse.
“You were in a delirium my child!” Mr. Bower insisted lovingly.
“Honestly, papa. It was so real, all of it, and it made no sense. The door to the elevator was not made of glass like the one in the department store downtown; mama’s favorite.”
 Mrs. Bower nodded her head, agreeing with Susan. “That’s your favorite part of our shopping.”
“Besides the street car ride!” Susan added, color returning to her cheeks.
“Oh mama! The door to the elevator in the schoolhouse was made of polished steel! It slid open and some strangely dressed children walked out. I became so frightened that I fainted dead away!”
 Mrs. Bower started to swoon, but her husband came to her rescue.
“Now Susan, you know the schoolhouse doesn’t have an elevator.”
Mr. Bower reached down now and picking up the pitcher of water on the small table next to Susan’s bed, then picked up the tin cup that had been placed next to the pitcher, and poured some water into it. The small chain of Mr. Bower’s pocket watch lurched as the man bent down and offered his daughter the cup. Susan didn’t realize how thirsty she was, and quickly drained the cup of its contents. Then Susan settled back, pushing her head against the many pillows her parents had provided, a few days before at the onset of the symptoms.
“Papa, do you think there will ever be an elevator in the schoolhouse?”
 The burly man put down the pitcher and the tin cup handed back to him by his daughter, reflected on her question, and then smiled.
“Surely my daughter, in the Age rockets really carries men to the Moon and back!”
At that the Bower family had a good laugh.

Friday, October 5, 2012

They Keep The Food Coming--Meal Program Volunteers

Planning menus, procuring food, preparing dishes and serving meals: this is the ongoing work of hundreds of volunteers who support the PNA's meal programs. They work on different teams at different sites, but they all warmly welcome and nourish the community. The PNA is grateful for the reliable, time-honored support of many dedicated volunteers at these meals.

Greenwood Senior Center Lunch Program: The daily lunch program at the GSC is possible only with the dedication of our fabulous weekly volunteers: they plan and shop, prep and serve, and best of all, clean up after each meal! Together, they offer a three-course, balanced meal from a variety of cuisines รข€“ and all on a budget. Special thanks to Neil Banta-Blacker, Esther Dean, Inga Ilich, Fannie Jin, Cindi Kozai, Keiko LaPoint, Maria Marabella, Candace Mathes, Chet Nachtegal, Suzie Paulson, Dixie Rae and the many more volunteers who aren't afraid to cook up a storm.

Hot Meal Program: Committed volunteers such as Anne and Dick Harrison, Ida Hamilton, Jack Herndon, Jim Osness, Janet Recher, Sharon Swift, Tom Vincent, Hilde Wilson and dozens of other committed volunteers have formed a dependable, compassionate community that is the foundation of this program.

Together they serve more than 350 meals weekly at three meal times. These competent and caring people move comfortably through their kitchen space, fluidly sharing responsibilities and welcoming and training newer volunteers.

"While it's rewarding to be helping out, it's most inspiring to work with long-term volunteers who have so much dedication to service," reflects one volunteer. Another says, "It is a joy to work with such a fun, dedicated, skilled, caring group!"

Thank you to all of the reliable volunteers who support the meal programs!