Clara Cruse, 1984

Mrs. Cruse was born in 1906 in Branch, Arkansas, which she describes as 'just a country town." She lived in Champaign for "40 years or more," she remembered in 1984. As she raised her two daughters she also worked at an Illinois glove factory for eighteen and a half years. Then she worked in university housing for thirteen years. She has also worked briefly in the Eisner bakery department. "I had a lot of interests," she says. "I did crocheting, quilting, and lots of baking." She also liked to travel and has been to Spain and Germany. However, she has always been most pleased with 'just the raising of my family, which is always such a joy."
She says, "I think older people are afraid of being forgotten. Families are so busy today. It's easy for younger people to say, 'I'll visit Grandma next week.' But next week sometimes seems years away to the lonely. Older people need to know they're cared about. Even if you're in a nursing home with lots of people around, you miss your family and can be very lonely." She described herself in 1984 as "Just an old grandma and that's what I enjoy most. I have seen my own children grow up, now they're raising their own. "I now like to see my great grandchildren. I have twelve of them. I'd like to see them grow up and go to school."

Source: Raymond Bial, There is a Season, Champaign County Nursing Home, 1984.