Wanda and the Doughnut Machine


Wanda lives in a park model. Those are those little RVs without wheels that have replaced the fifth wheel and motor homes for people that have traveled all they want. She has a beautiful face and wears lots of sparkling jewelry. Her friends say she is a “ball of fire”. (Picture on the right: Wanda, Virginia and Mary) She has a little trouble moving around now and is beginning to show signs of the Parkinson Disease that might be invading her body. But Wanda doesn’t feel her age.

When Wanda is at home in Arizona she gets around a lot. She plays cribbage or any card game that is available. She will go to casinos on a tour bus and when you are in a tour bus with her, she knows all the streets and the shortest way to any shopping place. We were in the back of the bus when we traveled with her so the bus driver was saved her directions. But she speaks in a quiet lovely voice so I don’t think he would have been bothered.

And in the summer Wanda travels with the carnival!!! The doughnut machine belongs to her son and the county fairs in the mid-west provide a summer job for her. They live in a trailer and work from early, early morning until the carnival turns the lights out late at night. She scoffs at the idea that the hours alone would simply kill a lesser person.

She speaks with wistful memory of the carnival concession friends that go from fair to fair in Illinois (Springfield), Indiana and in September to Springfield, Mass. The “tiny doughnut” machine makes tiny doughnuts and they are much better, she says, than those made by other people. Her son’s machine only keep the doughnuts in the “grease” for 45 seconds and must be eaten hot.

When you listen to Wanda talk about her independent life here in Arizona and the one she shares with her children the rest of the year, you can see that she truly has found the perfect balance for a senior citizen living alone. When I grow up I want to be like Wanda.

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