Helen Baker, 1984

A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Mrs. Baker lived in Champaign since her husband took a position with Christie Clinic. "I went to three different high schools. My father studied in a seminary my first couple years. When he was ordained we moved. I was high school queen in my senior year - just there one year, but lots of friends and fun," she remembered in a 1984 interview. Prior to her marriage she taught history, French, and music in high school. "When I was young and teaching I couldn't keep my job and get married, too. That's quite different now!" After her marriage in 1935 she worked in her husband's medical office doing bookwork and helping with patients until 1952. While raising four children she also managed to find time to play the organ for the church choir and to participate in book clubs. "I started a women's city choir in Hayfield, Minnesota, and enjoyed playing bridge." Despite her varied interests, she claims, "I think raising kids was my real vocation. "I like being old. I don't have to worry about raising kids in today's world. I think this community is doing a lot for older people. Maybe older people need to think about what they should be doing to take care of themselves. You know old does not mean helpless! "My only concern is my bum hip. I want a hip replacement and want to be able to walk again. I'll have it done as soon as my blood count improves and the doctor says okay. "I feel good about my present life. I still enjoy many things - my neighbors, my family, reading, keeping current on the news, cards. A few things that I cannot do I miss -like having big parties - but I'm happy now and wouldn't change much, even if I could."

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