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The Power of Food and Fond Memories

A photo of Virginia Simko's hands holding a white and blue flecked dish towel she knit recently.

Theresa will be 92 years young on March 4th. Her tenacity to impart sage phrases and share snippets of her history with Stutzman's was a part of why we wanted to spend some time with her. We carved out a little time on delivery day to go beyond simply knowing her as a long-time FSHS customer.

Theresa is familiar with the value of fresh vegetables in large part to “growing up on a little farm with a great big garden.” As a kid she was raised with a cow, chickens and a pig. With vigor she tells us how "I love fresh vegetables!".

As Theresa shared with us these slices of life, her genuine zest for life and raising fresh food shines through. “I always say that's why I'm living now—eating all those vegetables. I have to have them with my meals”.

With glimmers of the past surfacing around memories connected to fresh produce, it becomes clear how dear her husband was to her. “He was so good to me”. When her husband was alive Theresa can recall driving with him in their van to go to Stutzman's. Her husband had a stroke thirty five years ago. Theresa shares a memory of bringing home buttercup squash from Stutzman's. From the sounds of her story, going in the van, being with her husband and joyfully processing the buttercup squash meant an immense amount. In her blue kitchen, her husband would cut the squash up and she would peel it. Then they would steam them. Now, when Theresa's daughter visits the tradition continues. Buttercup squash is a favorite for both of them. "They're good to steam and put in a ziploc bag and freeze."

Theresa's first car was a Plymouth. Being in motion and traveling was something she loved to do and that she misses doing now. Theresa lives in an apartment complex in Greenville and has a good support system with neighbors. But life is a little different at 92 then it was when she could travel, wintering in Florida and saving money to make trips a possibility. "We worked, and saved and saved." For thirty days she and her husband went to Germany. And then for thirty days Theresa and her husband visited their son who was stationed in Alaska. They loved to go and fish. And, with a slight giggle Theresa also shared, "I love driving in traffic!".

Now Theresa spends her days reading a book a day and knitting once in a while. Mainly she makes dish cloths, baby sets and booties to cover her chairs so they don't scrape the floor. Theresa is visited by her son and daughter although she shares that "some days I'm very lonesome. Sundays feel so long. [But] I have to keep breathing so I can keep myself going. You have to keep going."

A photo of Theresa's hand-knit blue chair leg booties with light blue bows in her kitchen.

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