Pauline Clark, who sometimes goes by the nickname “Gussy,” was born 92 years ago in Central City, Pennsylvania, one of six children who lived on a farm where they grew vegetables and raised cows, chickens and pigs. Pauline loved life on the farm and especially enjoyed riding the horses. It was hard work and she did not have one particular role – “My job was to do whatever was needed. I did everything.” That included harvesting the vegetables and then canning and preserving them for later. She married James Clark and they raised their family of two – one boy, Larry James, and one girl, Linda Kay. Pauline enjoyed cooking for her family, and one of her specialties was fried chicken, made in a cast-iron skillet.
Pauline is a widow, and she had a stroke last year, but with good care and the support of Community Life she was able to return to living independently in her own home. She is happy that her granddaughter, Stephanie, and two of her great-grandchildren have moved in with her. She takes great pride in her family, and recently celebrated her 92nd birthday with the family – a happy occasion for all. Pauline claims that she has no secret to her longevity. “I don’t have any advice about living a long life, unless being bullheaded is the reason I’ve lived this long!” she says.
Pauline joined Community Life Bedford in 2018 and has the distinction of being one of the very first participants at Bedford. Her granddaughter heard about Community Life, and suggested to Pauline that she might want to check into it. She attends three days a week now and is grateful for that decision. “I’ve come a long way. I was enrolled in September, and then in December I had my stroke. I wasn’t talking very well but I have improved a lot and I am always thankful that I have had the wonderful CL staff to help me.” She has made incredible progress since that time, and although she needs to use a ca walker, she can walk, thanks to the therapy she receives.
Pauline appreciates everything about Community Life. The care is good, she says, and she has made some very special friendships with staff and other participants. Although she has to follow a low-salt diet, this excellent cook says that even the food at CL is good. “Lunch today was potato soup, a hamburger and ice cream. Pretty good.”
Life is still very good, she says, and she enjoys watching movies, especially the older, “classic” ones, and going shopping. An occasional excursion to WalMart with her granddaughter or with Community Life is a favorite activity. “I always try to look nice, and I love to get a new pair of shoes or some new clothes,” she says. Pauline also enjoys playing BINGO (“When I play, I win”), listening to musical entertainment, and relaxing at the Community Life picnic tables enjoying the sunshine.
And on those days when the sun isn’t shining, Pauline provides some sunshine of her own. Her friend John Porta says that her great sense of humor keeps everybody smiling and is probably the secret that has kept Pauline alive and well for so long.