Meet Carlton Senior Living‘s spotlight resident, Elaine Anderson – Elaine was born February 6, 1946, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to parents Carl and Marion. She has one older sister, Diane, who also lives in Davis. Her father was secretary and a founding member of Memorex, maker of computer tapes, disk drives, and other computer components. Her mother was a housewife. She also painted watercolors, oil, and acrylics, displaying her art in many fairs and often winning blue ribbons.
Her family moved to Burlington, Wisconsin, and at the age of four, Elaine contracted poliovirus, four years before the first successful vaccine was developed. Elaine attended Stephen Bull Elementary School, which had programs for handicapped children. She remembers classmates living with heart disease and cerebral palsy and that she re-learned to walk with the school’s guidance. At the age of nine, her parents moved the family to Palo Alto, California, where her father had taken the position with Memorex in the fledgling Silicon Valley. For the first time, Elaine attended a public school not designed for handicapped students. She recalls, “My mother was more concerned than me about it!”
One of Elaine’s favorite life experiences was traveling through the southern states from Florida (where she lived briefly) to California. She also enjoyed riding in the dome observation passenger cars on the railroad with her family as they vacationed throughout the United States. She remembers seeing the beautiful scenery from the trains’ windows.
Elaine worked with her husband in Atascadero, north of San Luis Obispo, in a plant nursery for several years, before moving to Davis to be close to her sister. She was hired by the City of Davis as an office assistant and later financial assistant, and retired after nearly 22 years. She was a member of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) committee for the City of Davis, which introduced new infrastructure and laws to allow those with handicaps more and better accessibility to buildings, parks, transportation, and more.
She has two children, Jeff and Christine. She says Jeff believes he was strongly influenced by Elaine’s job at the nursery, as he is now a salesman for a wholesale nursery company. Elaine says to be grateful for what you have and is personally grateful for her family.
With a great sense of humor, patience and kindness, she would like to be remembered for the friendships she makes. At Carlton Senior Living Davis she enjoys crocheting, ceramics, and other crafts, ‘70s and ‘80s music, and her sister’s violin playing. She also loves listening to Adele. Her favorite meal is a traditional Thanksgiving with all the fixings (“why is this only once a year?!” she asks) and cheesecake for dessert. The person whom she most admires is violinist and music teacher Itzhak Perlman, who also lives with polio, but has overcome its challenges and leads a wonderful and fulfilling life.
About Carlton Senior Living, Elaine states that she loves how incredibly patient and friendly the staff are. She is always impressed that they can memorize so many names.
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Written by Eric Demuth