Friday, February 20, 2015

Client Profile: Rose Braun

Farm Work to City Life

Rose holds up a photograph featuring [almost] all of 
the 17 members of her immediate family!
Rose Braun is an 88-year-old regular Volunteer Transportation client.  It is easy to see that her current life in Shoreline is a far cry from her youth in North Dakota.

Rose grew up on a farm during the Great Depression in a family of fifteen children (not including one who died of Scarlett Fever) without running water, irrigation, or electricity.  Their home included many features of this traditional lifestyle, yet it was equipped for North Dakota’s extreme seasons.  They had an outhouse; an old-fashioned, non-electric washing machine; windmills; rain barrels for collecting water; a root cellar; a smokehouse that converted to an ice house with the use of ice cut out of frozen rivers and insulation provided by straw; and a sleigh that converted to a wagon. They had a “summer house” for butchering, canning, and hot cooking in warmer months and a rope that guided them to the well for water during winter blizzards.  There was never a dull moment in such a household!

Pictures from Rose's childhood: the family's
 threshing machine, farmhouse, and summer house
Rose and her fourteen siblings developed a strong work ethic at an early age.  The girls of her family were born first (Rose was the sixth child), and they worked long days in the fields with tasks like binding and threshing before milking the cows and completing household chores.  She remembers times when the family had company, which meant that they started cooking at 2:00AM and stayed up late into the night washing dishes.  When they were older, Rose and her sisters all found work outside of the home to pay their way through high school, making $1 per month.  They didn't take anything for granted.

Rose reports that she never felt deprived during her formative years.  “There were really bad days and really good days,” she explains.  It was just a different way of life.
Rose's parents

Rose seized an opportunity to move to the Pacific Northwest in 1952 but brought her hardworking farm girl outlook with her.  She got a job at Boeing, raised a family, and ran her own house cleaning operation for 21 years.  The fieldwork of her youth caused her to need both knees replaced in 1994, and she survived breast cancer several years ago.  When her husband, Al, became ill and lost his vision, Rose learned to drive in her late 70’s.  She provided his transportation to local appointments until he passed away in 2009.

As a new driver, Rose never felt comfortable driving freeways.  She and Al both initially registered for the Volunteer Transportation program in 2002, and she continues to rely on the program’s volunteer drivers to get to regular appointments with the eye doctor.  She really appreciates the service.  She says, “I’m so glad to have you guys!”

Volunteer drivers love meeting Rose and talking with her during rides.  She has strong memories of her early days and exudes an inspiring spirit of vivacity.  Although a lot has changed in her life over the years, Rose clearly still has her North Dakota-born strength and determination.


About Me

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“Behind the Wheel” offers stories, reflections, news and updates about Sound Generations’ (formerly Senior Services') Transportation Program. Throughout King County, our inspiring volunteers provide needed mobility to local seniors, supporting them in their efforts to remain independent, healthy, and happy. Please drop by to read more about the unique experiences of our volunteers, clients and staff!
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