At 82 years old, Pat has been a faithful Wellspring volunteer since the center was founded.
She is a San Franciscan – born and raised. Before she married, she worked as an assistant at the San Francisco Chronicle.
“I’ve always loved newspapers and newspaper people,” she said.
A few years later, married and a mother of four, Pat lived three blocks away from Haight and Ashbury where she witnessed the hippie revolution.
“I found it intriguing and depressing,” she said. “Some of the kids were getting so much into drugs that they’d be asleep on the streets and sick. It was sad.”
What do you love most about San Francisco?
“I love the neighborhoods and they are disappearing,” she said. “Middle class and poor people are being driven away from their homes and it’s going to be a city where only the rich can survive and that’s very sad for me.”
Pat moved to Sacramento with her husband and children in the early seventies.
What have you learned as you’ve moved through life?
“I’ve learned the importance of friends,” she said.
“I came to Wellspring because of Catherine and Claire,” she said. “They spoke at my church while I was still working for my husband. I said, ‘Someday, I will be retired from this and I will get in touch with Wellspring.’ It was sooner than I thought because my husband died and we got a lot of flowers and I brought them down to Wellspring a couple of days later. I’ve been coming ever since.”
What is your earliest Wellspring memory?
“Walking in the first time when I brought the flowers and feeling immediately at home with Claire and Catherine,” she said.
What about being here made you feel at home?
‘That’s one of those questions that you don’t have a direct answer for,” she said. “It’s something that you know right away.”
How did the community first respond to Wellspring when it opened?
“Not easily,” she said. “They really had to go and beat the bushes and drag people in. It [Oak Park] was a very different community back then. They [the residents of Oak Park] were very skeptical of Catherine and Claire. They were like: they are nuns, they are Catholic, what are they going to do to us? There weren’t as many Hispanics. There were more of the Mien and Hmong people and the grannies would come in their ritual costumes – these long, beautiful embroidered dresses and that community has practically disappeared now. They must have moved somewhere else, because I know that they are still in Sacramento, they just don’t come here anymore.”