From living through World War II in Amsterdam, to losing everything in a fire when she moved to America, to becoming a single mom, one Bakersfield woman has lived quite a life.
“So many things have happened in my life. Good things, and bad things,” Connie Wilson said.
She was 17 years old when World War II broke out.
She lived with her family in Amsterdam and at one point even came face-to-face with several Nazi soldiers.
They were looking for her brother, who was part of the resistance.
Her family told them he was out of town, when really he was in the home with them.
That’s just one of the instances that shaped her into the strong woman she is today.
“It wasn’t something pretty. But it made me strong. I wasn’t afraid,” Connie said.
That mindset came in handy quite often throughout her life.
After moving to America, Connie had to stay strong through the death of her husband in the mid 1970s, thus becoming a single mom to her teenage daughter.
Only ten years ago, she lost everything when her apartment caught fire.
That’s when she moved into Brookdale Senior Living Homes, now known as Magnolia Place Assisted Living.
Connie’s daughter, Martha, recommended finding ways to keep busy.
“I was always very busy, drawing, or you know, in the fashion business,” Connie said.
She began to crochet. She started making blankets and spending hours on them each day.
When Connie lost her daughter in a car crash six years ago, the blankets began to have a bigger purpose.
“First I did it for myself. Now I want to keep her memory alive,” she said.
Each blanket has a small note in it.
“It says ‘lovingly knit in the memory of Marty Garrett.’ That’s how I... That’s my purpose in life.”
Every blanket gets donated to the Jamison Children’s Center, a 24-hour emergency shelter and protective custody facility for local kids.
She prides herself in the fact that no two blankets are the same.
“It makes me happy although I’m almost in tears. It makes me happy to feel that I make someone happy. It does me good, because when you get older, life isn’t always that easy,” Connie said through tears.
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