Florence has been Louie Norwegian's school janitor for the past 20 years. She is the daughter- in- law of Sara Hardisty, the eldest elder. She comes in at 4:00 each day wearing a big knit t shirt with no bra and a sweet yet confused crumpled little smile. When I first met her I was shocked that she was so determinedly working at such old age- she has long gray hair and limps around listlessly- but then i found out that she was only 56 years old. Her alcoholic, abusive husband has aged her considerably. She often walks in, pauses, sits down, waits and waits until someone gives in and takes the time to visit with her. A working day ends up being about 45 minutes for Florence, the rest of the 2 hours she is scheduled to work are occupied by conversation and blank stares. This bothered me at first but now I love Florence. She has a funny, quiet sense of humour and I have learned that if you start doing one of her clean up tasks she will finish it out, 60/40. She constantly forgets how many children she has but still insists on counting them on her fingers every time she brings up her family. Of course one died in the fire and the other killed himself with a hunting rifle, she tells me everyday. She has 14 brothers and sisters and only knows one of them. Her daughter was in a car accident and was nearly completely paralyzed so she is in a wheel chair. Florence lives with her and spends most of her time caring for her, cooking, chopping wood and trying to convince her to stop drinking. She gets pretty fed up some days. She says once the ice bridge is built she is going to push her across and hope she rolls all the way to civilization. 

1 comment:

katrina said...

I love this. Please take a photo of her.