Thom and Geneva have been volunteering at Wellspring for five years.
On Thursdays, Geneva serves guests food from the line and Thom washes dishes and prepares food in the kitchen.
They have been married for 19 years.
Thom and Geneva met at Vic’s IGA, a family grocery store which used to be located on South Land Park Drive. Geneva worked as a clerk in the frozen food department and Thom as a meat cutter.
“There were eight of us kids and my folks had a grocery store in Minneapolis,” Thom said. “We lived in the back of the store and the streetcar used to come right up to our store and then back to downtown St. Paul or Minneapolis. Anyway, I was born and raised in the grocery store and out of eight of us kids, I was the only one who stayed in the business.”
Geneva originally worked at banks, but shifted to working in grocery stores when she discovered that the benefits were more lucrative. She has worked at Abuelos in Texas and at Alpha Beta in Los Angeles and Sacramento.
Though, they’ve both spent long hours in fluorescent lit aisles studded with flashy food products, Thom and Geneva never pass up the opportunity to go grocery shopping.
“We like to go to grocery stores for fun even if we don’t have anything to buy,” Thom said.
This is their second marriage. Before they wedded on Thanksgiving Day in 1999, they each had had been married for 35 years. Thom was a widow and Geneva, a widower.
“We get up together, we make the bed together” Thom said. “We go to bed together.”
Twenty minutes before their bedtime, they meditate together.
“We don’t talk,” Thom said. “We don’t hold hands. We just sit there for ten minutes.”
“It just clears your mind,” Geneva said.
After they retired, they wanted to work part-time at Costco serving samples, but the retailer refused to hire them for the same shift. That was the end of that.
Now, they travel – across the United States and the world.
They’ve visited New York three times.
“We just like to walk and go,” Thom said. “A few years back, we just got on the subway and went to wherever it went and got off if we liked the stop. Thank goodness that we can still get up and do things.”
“So we are going to enjoy it while we can and try not to get into one of those homes,” Geneva said.
What was your impression of Wellspring when you came here?
“I thought it was a nice, clean place for the ladies to enjoy,” Geneva said. “I enjoy their stories – sometimes they have time to talk to you.”
Why is it important for both of your to give back to you community?
“We are very fortunate,” said Thom. “The good lord has been good to us. We enjoy seeing other people enjoy things that they should have.”